The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia Harlem Nutcracker | The Philly Pops
 

The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia Harlem Nutcracker

Terell Stafford, Conductor

Zellerbach Theatre, Penn Live Arts

3680 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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18 December 2021
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Sat, Dec 18, 2021
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
Featuring

Terell Stafford, Artistic Director for Jazz
Charles McPherson, guest artist
Jaleel Shaw, guest artist
The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia

The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia returns to the stage with its annual holiday tradition—The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia Harlem Nutcracker, December 18 at 8 p.m. at Penn Live Arts!

For the first set, the JOP, under the direction of POPS Artistic Director for Jazz Terell Stafford, will present Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Harlem Nutcracker. 

Released in 1960, Ellington and Strayhorn’s Harlem Nutcracker infused the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite with vivacious jazzy energy, featuring song names like “Peanut Brittle Brigade” (based on the “March”) and “Sugar Rum Cherry” (based on the “Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy”). The suite shows off Ellington and Strayhorn’s versatility as composers and arrangers—with the pieces covering a wide range of musical sounds, emotions and locales. This is the JOP’s seventh presentation of the Harlem Nutcracker, a tradition started to honor the great saxophonist, Jimmy Heath.

“The Harlem Nutcracker is an important tradition for The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, and for me as well,” said Artistic Director for Jazz Terell Stafford. “It takes all of those holiday Nutcracker favorites and makes them swing—each in their own interesting ways. I’m glad to welcome one of my Master’s students from Temple—and seven-year POPS Pathways Co-Op student—John Meko, on trumpet for his first full performance with the Jazz Orchestra.” 

In the second half of the show, the JOP will celebrate the 100th birthday of jazz saxophone legend Charlie Parker. For this set, Terell has selected guest artists Charles McPherson and Jaleel Shaw, along with JOP saxophonist Dick Oatts, to represent Charlie Parker’s style. 

“Charles McPherson, Jaleel Shaw and Dick Oatts are three of the best saxophonists in the world,” said Stafford. “Each of them is able to embody the spirit and playing of Charlie Parker like few others can. And as someone who has influenced almost every modern jazz musician, it’s an honor to celebrate Bird on his 100th birthday.”  

Have a swinging Christmas with The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia!

Performance repertoire: 

Set 1 
Harlem Nutcracker Suite arr. Ellington, Strayhorn
     • Overture
     • Toot Toot Tootie Toot (Dance of the Reed-Pipes)
     • Peanut Brittle Brigade (March)
     • Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)
     • Entr'acte
     • Volga Vouty (Russian Dance)
     • Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)
     • Danse of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)
     • Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)

Set 2 
Yardbird Suite 
Quasimodo 
Chasin’ the Bird 
Suede Shoes 
Shaw ‘Nuff 
Donna Lee 
Diverse 

Guest Artists
Terell Stafford

Terell Stafford , Artistic Director for Jazz, trumpet

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Terell Stafford, acclaimed trumpet player based in New York, has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.

Since the mid-1990s, Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band. Stafford with the HamiltonClayton Jazz Orchestra, performed on Diana Krall’s Grammy-nominated From this Moment On (2006). John Clayton invited Stafford to perform with the Clayton Brothers Quintet and Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Stafford is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and they were awarded a Grammy in 2009 for Best Large Ensemble, Live at the Village Vanguard.

Stafford can be heard on over 130 albums. His latest recording This Side of Strayhorn has been hailed as “the first must have album of 2011” and “genius.” Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, and Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP). Stafford is renowned in the jazz world as an educator, performer and leader and has received countless award nominations and accolades.

Stafford was born in Miami and raised in Chicago, Illinois and Silver Spring, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Maryland in 1988 and a Masters of Music from Rutgers University in 1993.

Charles McPherson, Guest Artist

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Charles McPherson was born in Joplin, Missouri and moved to Detroit at age nine. After growing up in Detroit, he studied with the renowned pianist Barry Harris and started playing jazz professionally at age 19. He moved from Detroit to New York in 1959 and performed with Charles Mingus from 1960 to 1972. While performing with Mingus, he collaborated frequently with Harris, Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet), and George Coleman (tenor sax). 

Mr. McPherson has performed at concerts and festivals with his own variety of groups, consisting of quartets, quintets to full orchestras. Charles was featured at Lincoln Center showcasing his original compositions 15 years ago, and once again joined Wynton Marsalis and J@LC Orchestra in April, 2019 honoring his 80th Birthday where they arranged and performed 7 of Charles’ iconic original compositions.  Charles has toured the U.S., Europe, Japan, Africa and South America with his own group, as well as with jazz greats Barry Harris, Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, Nat Adderly, Jay McShann, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. 

McPherson has recorded as guest artist with Charlie Mingus, Barry Harris, Art Farmer, Kenny Drew, Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. He has recorded as a leader on Prestige, Fantasy, Mainstream, Discovery, Xanadu, Arabesque, Capri and several smaller labels in Europe and Japan. 

Charles was the featured alto saxophonist in the Clint Eastwood film “Bird,” a biopic about Charlie Parker. Charles has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Don Redman Lifetime Achievement Award and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from California State University San Marcos. Charles performed this past April at the NEA Jazz Master’s 2019 performance during Stanley Crouch’s tribute.  Widely recognized as a prolific composer, Charles is now Resident Composer for the San Diego Ballet, where he has written three original suites for chamber music and jazz combos.  In the summer of 2019, Dr. Donnie Norton will compile the entire book of Charles’ compositions for publication. 

McPherson remains a strong, viable force on the jazz scene today. Throughout his six decades of being an integral performer of the music, Charles has not merely remained true to his Be Bop origins but has expanded on them. Stanley Crouch says in his New York Times article on Charles, “he is a singular voice who has never sacrificed the fluidity of his melody making and is held in high esteem by musicians both long seasoned and young.” Charles is a frequent guest at universities all over the world and also teaches privately.  Many of his former students have gone on to have careers of their own in jazz, and have earned National Jazz Student Awards. Charles had the honor of being the subject of the Ph.D. candidate Dr. Donnie Norton’s Doctoral Dissertation: “The Jazz Saxophone Style of Charles McPherson: An Analysis through Biographical Examination and Solo Transcription.” 

Jaleel Shaw, Guest Artist

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Alto & Soprano saxophonist and bandleader, Jaleel Shaw, won the 2014 Downbeat Critics Poll's for Rising Star Alto Saxophonist. He is a longtime member of the Roy Haynes Quartet, Tom Harrell’s “Colors Of A Dream” and has performed with Christian McBride, Jason Moran, the Mingus Big Band, Pat Metheny, Stefon Harris, Roy Hargrove, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jimmy Cobb and several others. 
 
Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Shaw picked up the alto saxophone and surrounded himself with music at an early age. Immersing himself in the local jazz scene, he studied and performed with many of the city's great musicians and educators and, following high school, received a full-tuition scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he received a dual degree in Music Education and Performance. While at Berklee, Shaw was awarded the Billboard Endowed Scholarship for Outstanding Academic and Musical achievement (1998), Woodwind Department Chair Awards (1998 & 2000), The Boston Jazz Society Award (1999) and The Outstanding Student Teacher Award (2000). He later received a scholarship to Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he obtained a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance. 

Shaw's debut album, Perspective (2005), received rave reviews from The New York Times and Jazzwise Magazine and All About Jazz named the album one of the top five debut albums of 2005; his composition “The Heavyweight Champion” received an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. 
 
In 2006, Jaleel joined the Roy Haynes Quartet and was featured on the legendary drummer’s Grammy-nominated album Whereas. Two years later (2008), Shaw founded his record label, Changu Records, on which he released his second album entitled Optimism. The album received reviews from The New York Times, Downbeat and All About Jazz among others. That same year, he received his second ASCAP Young Composer Award for his composition “The Flipside” and was nominated for the Jazz Journalist Association’s “Up-And-Coming Jazz Artist” award. 
 
Shaw was among the musicians listed in the 2011 JazzTimes Magazine’s Readers Poll for Alto Saxophonist of the Year, sharing the honor with Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Bunky Green and Kenny Garrett. In 2013, he released his third album of original compositions entitled The Soundtrack of Things to Come (Changu Records). The album features his current working quartet, and has been favorably received by various publications including the New York Times, New York City Jazz Record, and All About Jazz.