Project Created: “Bird Stories”
Quote: “I could not have asked for a better group of musicians to have had on this journey.” – Jawanza Kobie
Bio: Jawanza Kobie has composed music for theater, films, and television for productions in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago, with his music being showcased on PBS, ABC, and other networks over his career. Jawanza has also been an accompanist’s session player and writer for artist on Warner Brothers, Philadelphia International, Alpha International Records (writer/producer), and other independent labels and projects. He released his first critically-acclaimed CD as a solo artist "Feels Better Than It Sounds" a few years ago (three out of four stars from The Philadelphia Inquirer). After working 33 years as an electrician with SEPTA (Southeastern PA Transportation Authority), he now performs with several bands from trios to larger ensembles at festivals and other venues local and elsewhere. A graduate of Berklee College of Music majoring in composition, Jawanza would like to consider himself as a composer in the truest sense of the word, not confined by any boundaries or genres of music.
Project Description: "Bird Stories" is a narrated children’s story punctuated with original new jazz compositions. It is a gentle but spirited interactive, engaging experience for the young and those in attendance that emphasizes tolerance and acceptance of the differences that can be found in all. It aims to introduce children to the various instruments and rhythms used in jazz through a narrated story akin to "Peter and the Wolf". Kobie partnered with 2013 Kimmel Center Theater Resident and Yale Professor of Theater, Deb Margolin.
Jawanza Kobie – Composer, Piano
Deb Margolin – Writer, Storyteller
Mike Boone – Bass
Matt Keppler – Bass
Harry Butch Reed - Drums
Anthony DeCarlo – Guitar
David Joel – Guitar
Josh Lee – Woodwinds
Leon Jordan Jr. – Trumpet
Chris Lewis - Tenor/Soprano Sax
Sam Greenfield - Tenor Sax
Performance Dates: Jawanza & Deb were in residency at the Kimmel Center from November 2016 – May 2017. Their student workshop was held on January 26, their public workshop on March 4, their work-in-progress on April 15, and their world premiere was held on May 13, 2017.