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Posted on December 17, 2019

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@KimmelCenter Jazz Residents announced for 7th consecutive season, exploring Philly's and their own relationship to issues like homelessness, cultural identity, and neighborhood diversity. FREE events all season w/ $15 world premieres in June! More info at


Press Contact:

Lauren Woodard














FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA, December 17, 2019) –– The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus is thrilled to announce three new Jazz Residency teams for the 2019-20 season: Ruth Naomi Floyd (Composer/Vocals) and Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard (Lyricist/Poet); Immanuel Wilkins (Composer/Saxophone) with Rog Walker (Photographer) and David Dempewolf (Video Installation); and Richard Hill Jr. (Composer/Voice/Bass). Each team will create a new, relevant, and engaging “Philly Made” work for the community. In the Kimmel Center Jazz Residency’s seventh consecutive year, all three of these original pieces will focus on the relationship of Philadelphia against a social issue, including the homelessness issue, the introspective examination of one’s cultural identity as a citizen, and a futuristic look at neighborhoods.


The Kimmel Center Jazz Residency includes individual Kick-off concerts, Public & Student Workshops, Work-in-Progress events featuring audience Q&As, and World Premieres. All, excluding Student Workshops, are BYOB.


“I am so proud of the Kimmel Center’s ongoing Jazz Residency program; in its seventh consecutive year, we continue building a legacy of new jazz in Philadelphia by fostering local musicians, writers, thinkers, and more,” said Anne Ewers, President & CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “16 world premieres have resulted from this Residency Program, the culmination of a lengthy creative process involving public workshops, student teaching opportunities, and audience feedback. We relish witnessing past Residency participants continue to flourish, growing as artists and influencing the jazz form both here and around the world.”


Jazz has a long history as a catalyst for social change. Ruth Naomi Floyd (Composer/Vocals) and Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard (Lyricist/Poet) will use jazz to hold a mirror to Philadelphia’s engagement with its unhoused population, while working with Aaron Graves (Piano), Nasir Dickerson (Soprano & Tenor Saxophones), Lee Smith (Double Bass & Electric Bass Guitar), Aaron Mingo (Rapper), Khary Abdul-Shaheed (Drums), and Dania Hallak (Additional Vocals). Through music, lyric, and spoken word, the pair, along with their collaborators, are asking questions, opening a dialogue, and creating a body of work that allows these individuals to truly be seen.


“The timing of this musical work is significant because it will allow us the opportunity to share our combined artistic languages with new audiences and communities. Homelessness is an intractable urgent issue,” said Ruth Naomi Floyd. “We’ve entitled our project Dissent Descent: Jazz from The Bottom and seek to communicate a powerful message about homelessness in Philadelphia…we are illustrating both the content as well as the purpose of this performance. This is not meant to be music produced exclusively for those who can afford tickets of admission, neither is this music some kind of affirmation of the upward climb for success, popularity, wealth, and influence. Rather [it] is aimed downward and is meant to be produced and performed from the perspective of being at ‘the bottom’ of society.”


Immanuel Wilkins (Composer/Saxophone) with Rog Walker (Photography) and David Dempewolf (Video Installation) will explore through music and visual art how Philadelphia has shaped the cultural foundation of his identity, while working with band members Micah Thomas (Piano), Daryl Johns (Bass), and Kweku Sumbry (Drums). Through combining Wilkins’ musical influences in jazz, gospel, and R&B with field recordings and visual arts, audiences can expect an immersive experience and a fresh take on what the next generation of jazz in Philadelphia looks and sounds like.


Identity is about Philadelphia being a cultural foundation for me, as well as the many subcultures of Philadelphia serving as the DNA for the city itself,” said Immanuel Wilkins. “The personal transformations over my lifetime have been shaped by the communities I was involved in – the church, the music community – I was playing in church, R&B bands as well as the Avant Garde scene while also playing straight ahead jazz – there were many things made available to me. Not only just musically, but also socially. I lived in the suburbs most of my life but I ‘grew up’ in the inner city. So, a lot of this work is about making sense of those two worlds as well – going back and forth between friend groups in the city and suburbs – this became a serious pillar for my identity.”


Richard Hill Jr. (Composer/Voice/Bass) – alongside band members Jim Holton (Cello, Keyboard), Gusten Rudolph (Drums), Elliot Bild (Trumpet) Nasir Dickerson (Saxophone, EWI), Kwame Geez (Saxophone), Mollie Ducoste (Violin), Owen Valentine (Violin), Zoe Lynch (Violin), Lovett Hines (Educator), Sumi Tonooka (Piano ), and Cheryl Hill-Herder (Spoken word artist) – is creating a futuristic look of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Bookended by music that the audience helps compose, Hill and his band are transporting audiences to 2050 to experience what Philadelphia’s North, South, West, Northeast, and Center City neighborhoods will sound like through musical dance rhythms. .


“As Charlie Parker said, ‘Now is the Time’. [My project is] the dance of diversity. This suite will use rhythms of various micro communities in Philadelphia,” said Richard Hill Jr. “I want this piece to encourage children and adults to take a moment and embrace the diversity that Philadelphia offers.” Talking about risk: “I like to use meters that are not common. As an artist and composer, it is my duty to push the envelope.”


The 2019-20 Jazz Residency musicians were selected by a six-person panel made up of some of this country’s most prominent jazz minds – including Dr. Aaron Flagg, Chair & Associate Director of Juilliard Jazz in New York City; Lonnie Davis, President & CEO of Jazz Arts Initiative in Charlotte, North Carolina; Georgina Javor, Assistant Director for Programming, Concerts, and Touring, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City; Ellen Rowe, Arthur F. Thurnau and Undergraduate Jazz Coordinator at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; Eric Gould, Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; and Jay Wahl, Producing Artistic Director for the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.


Some highlighted successes of former Kimmel Center Jazz Residents include: a debut album entitled The Fisherman from 2016-17 resident Max Swan; brought to life in WXPN studios as part of WXPN’s Key Studio Sessions, Swan worked with his live band/Residency team including guitarists Simon Martinez and Josh Nussbaum, bassist Nick Perri, drummer Lenny Mobley, keyboardist Matt Keppler, and the trombone line of Sam Gellerstein, Nick Lombardelli, and Chris Mele. The Kimmel Center presented Max Swan Presents: MONO//POLY, featuring Suzanne Sheer in the SEI Innovation Studio on December 14, 2018. Following a world tour last year with John Legend, 2015-16 Jazz Resident Korey Riker released his third album in February 2018, a collection of live material titled PTSD Volume 1, which he recorded with his Kimmel Center Residency team. 2016-17 Resident Jawanza Kobie’s Bird Stories went on to be presented by the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in May 2017 and The Mann Center in August 2017. 2017-18 Resident Luke Carlos O’Reilly worked on and performed in the Hill-Freedman World Academy benefit concert with a live band in November 2018. The Music Department at Hill-Freedman World Academy had a benefit concert featuring live performances of the songs from What’s Going On, the second offering from the school’s Hill-Freedman Records label. The money raised from the benefit helped with promoting the current album, as well as fund the next album recorded by students. Since then, O’Reilly has participated in additional Kimmel Center Cultural Campus FREE events, including the monthly Sittin’ In: Live Sessions and PNC Grow Up Great, and the recent Traveling Outside the Wire, an afternoon of poetry and performance in partnership with Warrior Writers, in honor of Veterans Day 2019. 2016-17 Resident Joanna Pascale performed the world premiere of her new choral work based on her critically-acclaimed show The Language of Flowers, with unique collaborations between Pascale and the youth of the Sister Cities Girlchoir, at World Café Live in December 2018. This empowering, woman-centered jazz/choral extravaganza draws on material developed during her Jazz Residency with the Kimmel Center. Pascale will return to the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus with The Language of Flowers (April 25, 2020, SEI Innovation Studio), as part of the Jazz @ the Kimmel series.


“This year’s Jazz Residency projects truly speak to the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus’ mission to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education,” said Jay Wahl, Producing Artistic Director of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “The topics chosen hold significant weight, and the issues being tackled are relevant to Philadelphians of any background. We hope these experiences are catalysts for conversation, spurring audiences to examine these subjects through the perspective of our artists, and appreciate the future potential of jazz both in our city and beyond.”


In addition to the Jazz Residency, the Kimmel Center has proudly produced various full-length works born out of its Theater Residency, a 2-week annual intensive in partnership with Joe’s Pub at the Public, inviting artists to gather and create new works on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus. Entering its seventh season in June 2020, these works include: Mary Tuonomen’s Hello Sadness!; Jamie Leonhart’s Estuary; Ethan Lipton’s The Outer Space, which then played at The Public Theater in New York City; Deb Margolin’s 8 Stops; Dito Van Reigersberg’s Martha Graham Cracker production of Lashed But Not Leashed; Courtnee Roze’s The Culture; Martha Stuckey’s Due to the Sensitive Nature; Daniel Alexander Jones’ BLACK LIGHT; David Sweeny’s Johnny Showcase alter-ego in The Johnny Shortcake Show; Molly Pope’s Polly Mope; andJames’ and Jerome’s The Conversationalists. Upcoming Theater Residency performances on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus this season include Martha Graham Cracker’s Lashed But Not Leashed album release show, with the Kimmel Center proudly serving as album Executive Producer (December 12, 2019, Perelman Theater); M’Balia Singley’s Turn (February 26 – 29, 2020, SEI Innovation Studio); and TWO BLUES: Two Plays (April 2 – 5, 2020, SEI Innovation Studio), a performance featuring two plays, Turquoise and Just Give Me One Half Hour With My Mother, both by Obie Award-winning playwright Deb Margolin. Former Theater Resident Ethan Lipton will return as part of the Jazz @ the Kimmel series with Ethan Lipton & his Orchestra (March 14, 2020, SEI Innovation Studio).


The Kimmel Center has also commissioned visual art, most recently an aerial “papel picado” piece entitled Look Up! Look In. by Mexican-American, Philadelphia-based artist Karina Puente and Karina Puente Arts International. Puente designed 53 hand-cut panels suspended above the Commonwealth Plaza, 5 feet wide and ranging between 6-12 feet long. Look Up! Look In. was a companion to Los Trompos, ten 3D spinning tops from Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena.


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All 2019-20 Kimmel Center Jazz Residency events are held in SEI Innovation Studio, and all (excepting Student workshops) are BYOB. The schedule of performances is as follows:


Residency Kick-Off – FREE with reservation

SEI Innovation Studio

Features music of the Resident & collaborator’s catalog to date, giving the audience a chance to hear the artist’s sound.

Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, 8:00 PM – Richard Hill Jr. & collaborators

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, 8:00 PM – Immanuel Wilkins with Rog Walker & David Dempewolf

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, 8:00 PM – Ruth Naomi Floyd & Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard


Student Workshops – Not open to the public

SEI Innovation Studio

The Residency artist teaches a special, private class for students. These are coordinated directly with the Kimmel Center’s Education Department.

Monday, Jan. 21, 2020, TBD Time – Immanuel Wilkins with Rog Walker & David Dempewolf

Friday, January 31, 2020, TBD Time – Ruth Naomi Floyd & Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, TBD Time – Richard Hill Jr. & collaborators


Public Workshop – FREE with reservation

SEI Innovation Studio

A special kind of concert where the Resident & collaborators engage in a direct dialogue with the audience about their music and how they connect it to the sounds of Philadelphia. Throughout this performance, the audience discusses what “jazz” is today, and the Resident shares background info, research, and musical inspirations for the new work they are writing for the residency.

Thursday, March 5, 2020, 6:00 PM – Ruth Naomi Floyd & Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard

Friday, March 6, 2020, 6:00 PM – Immanuel Wilkins with Rog Walker & David Dempewolf

Friday, March 13, 2020, 6:00 PM – Richard Hill Jr. & collaborators


Work-in-progress – FREE with reservation

SEI Innovation Studio

The Resident & collaborators present a draft of their new compositions. They play all the new material they’ve written for the residency so they can hear it live for the first time in public, then take questions and direct feedback from the audience.

Thursday, April 9, 2020, 8:00 PM – Ruth Naomi Floyd & Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard

Saturday, April 11, 2020, 8:00 PM – Immanuel Wilkins with Rog Walker & David Dempewolf

Friday, April 17, 2020, 8:00 PM – Richard Hill Jr. & collaborators


World Premiere – $15.00 general admission ticket

SEI Innovation Studio

The completed new project is presented to the audience. 

June 4, 2020, 8:00 PM – Richard Hill Jr. & collaborators

June 5, 2020, 8:00 PM – Ruth Naomi Floyd & Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard

June 6, 2020, 8:00 PM – Immanuel Wilkins with Rog Walker & David Dempewolf



The 2019-20 Jazz Resident & collaborator bios are listed alphabetically by last name below. Band member bios are available upon request.


David Dempewolf (Video Installation)

David Dempewolf earned a Certificate in sculpture from PAFA, a BFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MFA from Columbia University. He has been a resident of the Whitney Independent Studio Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He is the co-founder and co-director of the Marginal Utility gallery and the Machete art-zine in Philadelphia. Dempewolf has shown singular projects in various group shows in spaces and venues such as Greene Naftali, New York; the CAC, Cincinnati, Ohio; Whitechapel, London; the Oberhausen and London film festivals.


Dempewolf alters found video footage to investigate and enhance themes of memory, history, repetition, and experience. Frame by frame, Dempewolf transforms canonical films and videos, creating a new recombinant text/video that explores how our recollections of the past frame and define our shared present moment. The manipulation not only affects how the viewer experiences the visual components of the archival material, but it also changes the auditory encounter with an emphasis on rhythm that threads together a time-based consideration of the instability of collective and personal memories.


Ruth Naomi Floyd (Composer/Vocals)

Ruth Naomi Floyd has been at the forefront of creating sacred jazz vocal settings for over 25 years. As a vocalist and composer, Floyd has dedicated a discography explicitly dedicated to a jazz expression. She leads her own multi-faceted ensemble and her recordings consist primarily of original compositions. Blessed with a soaring mezzo-soprano voice, critics praise Ruth’s music for its distinctive sound of progressive ensemble jazz that is seamlessly blended with messages of hope, faith, redemption, and love. 


A committed music educator, Floyd is Director of Jazz Studies at Cairn University, Langhorne, Pennsylvania and Adjunct Professor & Artist in Residence at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Floyd is passionate about the intersection of music and art with culture and community through the lens of justice. She shares her knowledge of the arts, culture, justice, and theology in universities, seminaries, and performance centers around the world. In addition, she participates in cultural art exchanges and has presented lectures on art, social justice, and theology in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Floyd’s artistic work has been published in periodicals and articles; in addition, she contributed a chapter in two books for Square Halo Books and R&R Publishing. 


Floyd’s recent compositions include, “Freedom” which premiered in April 2018 in Wales, United Kingdom, commissioned in honor of human rights activist Mende Nazer’s profound story of survival as a slave in Sudan and London. The Frederick Douglass Jazz Works is Floyd’s new body of compositions, based on the speeches and writings of the great leading orator, abolitionist, writer, publisher, and statesman. In the centennial year of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, the Mann Music Center, in partnership with NEWorks Productions, commissioned Floyd as one of four composers to create a community mass inspired by Bernstein’s MASS; Floyd has recorded and performed with such notable instrumentalists as James Newton, James Weidman, Gary Thomas, John Patitucci, Terri Lyne Carrington, David Kim, Uri Caine, Craig Handy, Bobby Watson, George Cables, Ralph Peterson, Reggie Washington, Xavier Davis, John Blake, Aaron Graves, Matthew Parrish, Diane Monroe, Mark Prince, Charles Fambrough, Bobby Zankel, and many others.  


Floyd continues to make the city of Philadelphia her home where for over 25 years she has been devoted and active in providing compassionate care and spiritual support to people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in Philadelphia and Africa and also serves the transgendered community. 


Richard Hill Jr. (Composer/Voice/Bass)

Double Bassist, electric bassist, and composer Richard Hill has been immersed in the  Philadelphia music scene since high school. Winner of the 2014 Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Art awards for bass, he has performed with Bobby Zankel, Sumi Tonooka, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Frank Foster, Jackie McClean, Robert Glasper, Bilal, Mickey Roker, United States Army Band, and various artists on the international scene.  He has also recorded with Javon Jackson, Jill Scott, Touch of Jazz Studios, and the Korean Broadcasting Network.


Charles “Chaz” Lattimore Howard (Lyricist/Poet)

The Rev. Charles L. Howard, PhD is an Episcopal Priest and the University Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater.  Prior to his return to Penn, he served in both hospital and hospice chaplaincies and as a street outreach worker to individuals experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.  His writing has been featured in such publications as Black Theology: An International Journal, Daily Good, Sojourners Magazine, Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, The Christian Century, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Forward, and Slate


He is the editor of The Souls of Poor Folk, a text which explores new ways of considering homelessness and poverty, and the author of The Awe and The Awful, a poetry collection and Lenten Devotional; Black Theology as Mass Movement, a call to theologians to expand the reach of their theological work; Pond River Ocean Rain, a collection of brief essays about going deeper with God; and the forthcoming The Bottom: A Theopoetic of the Streets. He shares life with his beloved wife, Dr. Lia C. Howard, and their three daughters.


Rog Walker (Photography)

Rog Walker is a New York-based photographer who prides himself on working to develop strong visual essays that document life from various perspectives and telling stories that provoke informed thinking. He and his wife, Bee Walker, continually chronicle their daily photographic adventures as they navigate NYC and explore culture in cities and areas around the world.


Immanuel Wilkins (Composer/Saxophone)

Immanuel Wilkins is an American Saxophonist, Composer, Arranger, and Band Leader. While growing up in the Philadelphia area, he played in his church and programs dedicated to teaching jazz music, such as the Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. Immanuel has had the opportunity to play in Japan, Europe, South America, The United Arab Emirates, and the United States, working and/or recording with Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, the Count Basie Orchestra, Terrace Martin, Aaron Parks, Gerald Clayton, and Gretchen Parlato, as well as Lalah Hathaway, Solange Knowles, Tye Tribbett, Shawn Mendes, and Bob Dylan.


In addition to being a sideman, he has been developing his own quartet, featuring pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Daryl Johns, and drummer Kweku Sumbry. This has been the primary source to hear his artistic voice through his compositions. Wilkins’ work as a composer has expanded to larger jazz works, chamber pieces, collaborative pieces with dancers, performance art pieces, electronic/experimental works, film scores, and solo pieces.


Wilkins has received commissions from the Metropolis Ensemble, Ambrose Akinmusire, Viola Chan, Lauren Seiss, The Jazz Gallery, The New York City Parks Foundation, among many others. He is a Class of 2019 Graduate of The Juilliard School where he studied with saxophonists Steve Wilson, Bruce Williams, the late Joe Temperley, drummer Kenny Washington, bassist Ron Carter, and pianist Frank Kimbrough. By being immersed in the scene at a young age around various masters of the music, he continues to pursue his goal of being a force in music and society today. His mission is to create a sound that has a profound spiritual and emotional impact and to become a great leader in the lineage of jazz musicians throughout history. Through studying the human pathos of the music and the culture of jazz, he aspires to bring people together through the commonality of love and belief in this music.


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The Residency Kick-Offs, Public Workshops, and Work-in-Progress performances are FREE, ticketed events, and tickets for the World Premiere performances are on sale now for $15.00. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, visiting, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office. More information at


These events (excluding the student workshops) are designated BYO performances. Acceptable forms of BYO are 6-pack of beer and/or 750ml bottles of wine only; no liquor or open containers are permitted. Limit of one (1) 750ml bottle of wine OR one (1) six-pack of beer per two guests. Corkscrews and rolling coolers are not permitted. Ice, cups and corking service available at venue at no cost. All BYO Night guests are subject to lawful ID checks and bag checks at the manager’s discretion.


The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, our mission is to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education. Our Cultural Campus serves more than 1 million guests per year and includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music, and the Merriam Theater- representing more than 160 years of rich history for the performing arts along Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. We are home to eight esteemed Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, we are the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. Our Cultural Campus serves as a preeminent and inclusive place to enjoy exceptional experiences that reflect the spirit of our region by cultivating a creative and socially-responsible environment where our community shares experiences that are delivered with pride, integrity, and respect. As a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, we collaborate on, present, and produce a broad range of relevant and meaningful events, we serve as an active gathering space for social and community events, we educate the region’s young people through access to quality arts experiences, and we provide support to artists in the creation of new work. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is our proud sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2019-2020 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit


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For a PDF version of this press release, click here.

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