A Day In The Sun- The Community Unity Music Festival

Carol Mitchel-Faulkner, Event Organizer.

The 2nd annual  Community Unity Music Festival which is headed by Carol Mitchell-Faulkner was a grand occasion. You could have went to several different music events throughout the Philadelphia area on this day. Well, I chose this one. There was a of blood and sweat that went into pulling this one off. The tears probably came later after it’s success. The day started out with  singer Rhenda Fearrington, Karen Smith, and The Universal African dancers and drum ensemble, all of which I missed because of a late start to my day. I wasn’t worried though. Upon my arrival,  pianist Alfie Pollitt had the crowd up and dancing. He was teaching everyone how to Bop. This dance goes back a few decades, but it’s always nice to teach these young kids that there WAS dancing before The Dougie appeared on the scene. Soon after, a smokin’ group featuring Nasir Dickerson on tenor, Charles Washington on trumpet, Aaron Goode on trombone, Adam Faulk on keyboard, Nimrod Speaks in bass, and Khary Abdul- Shaheed on the drum kit,  SMOKIN’ the set up. I barely wanted to photograph as my attention was focused on Charles’ slick trumpet runs. Up next was the always swinging Robert Henderson trio with James Collins on the keys, Nick Krolak on bass, and Robert Henderson on the kit. They came through with that trio stuff that makes you love trio stuff! That’s how I care to explain it.

I know you’re wondering who was up next. Well, Lisa Chavous & Friends brought down the house with their heavy Blues set. The crowd got up and did more of the Bopping I mentioned earlier. Tenor saxophonist Donald Willams  and his sultry tenor horn were featured on several songs. The Fisher Twins put their bid in next, one on vibes, the other taking double duty on electric and acoustic bass with Nazir Ebo holding things together on the drums. These young fellas may be twins, but each bring their own story to the game. Nazir was incredible as always, more on him later. While waiting on the next group, I saw a gentleman arriving in all white. I thought, “This is something special here!” He even had all white bass speakers to match his suit. SHARP! Jamaaladeen Tacuma was in the house! He had a killer band in which Nazir Ebo held down again. This young cat must have had a few ©Monster drinks before each performance. They brought the house down with their slick compositions and the crowd truly enjoyed their company. Last, but in no way the least, The Branford Marsalis Quartet. Individual members showed up at different intervals but you can bet your best socks,when they got on stage it was like jelly in a jar. Everything was so together as if they’d been playing together for 10 years or more. I say this because only in the last few years has Philadelphia native Justin Faulkner been added to the group. He has stepped in grown man shoes with grown feet. The twenty something leaves you wondering if you can check his ID at the door as his playing surpasses his youth. Branford is a beast on both tenor and soprano horns. Not much needs to be said, only that he was, and to me will always be a down to earth guy that loves to play music, PERIOD! Eric Revis was on bass holding all those notes together like some glue that someone needs to put a patent on. Man, this group is a super group. When you throw Joey Calderazzo on the piano, (I will add that it was specially delivered from The Cuningham Piano Company at precisely the right moment to be tuned and ready), you now have a powder keg of music ready to explode. The crowd rose to their their feet when the band was introduced by Philadelphia radio personality J. Michael Harrison. We were all treated to composition after composition of music that went through our veins. From thundering drums of an up-tempo chart, to the soft soprano of a ballad, the quartet pleased everyone. What a day!

Next year when you hear about The Community Unity Music Festival, take a trip back to this blog just to remind yourself what you either were a part of this year, or what you missed this year. But next year, whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, and whomever you’re with GET YOURSELF ON DOWN TO CLARK PARK!!!!!!

Have a great time viewing some of these highlights from the day. To see all of the photos or to make a purchase, click on the following link  which will take you to my store. Thank you.

Community Unity Images


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A celebration for Kwame


This evening, which took place at Reuben’s Marc, was all about Philadelphia saxophonist, Kwame Hall. Friends, loved ones, and maybe even some enemies gathered to wish Kwame a great ride. What ride you may ask? About a week after this benefit, Kwame will be undergoing a surgery that will change his life. Will Kwame still be able to get down on his horn again after this? That’s not important. What IS important is that each and everyone who showed love by attending and even those who couldn’t make it have another opportunity to talk with, share stories, and just be a friend to Kwame as they are now. This event turned into a jam session of some of Philly’s finest musicians, even Emily Braden and Cynthia Soriano took the ride down from NYC to show love.  Musicians like singers T.C. III and Meg Clifton,  drummers Donald Edwards and Robert Henderson, saxophonists Victor North and Glenn Williams, on trumpet were Josh Lawrence and Messiah Harley. Orrin Evans handled the keyboards and Mike Boone held his own for the evening on bass with Joseph Harrison on percussion.  Altogether, the evening was full of love and music. I say love first because after the music stopped, there was still the love.

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The Mary Lou Newnam Quartet


Jazz Bridge, a non-profit Philadelphia based organization has been bringing Jazz and Blues concerts to the Delaware Valley for years now. They have multiple locations which rotate weekly with their individual shows. This particular week, I decided to attend The Cheltenham Arts Center to see The Mary Lou Newnam Quartet which consisted of Mary Lou Newnam on tenor sax, flute, and clarinet, Sonny Troy on guitar, Alec Newnam (Mary Lou’s son) on bass, and Rich Santucci on drums. This group had a pleasing, laid back sound. They moved through the Standards book like a child through a bucket of ice cream. I actually felt child-like smiling and listening to the band and hearing them during the question and answer intermission. They concluded the evening with a few more gems for the crowd and as they were finishing up, putting instruments away, the much appreciative fans showed their joy in hearing this group by having their very own meet and greet.                                                                                    For more information about Jazz Bridge, go to www.jazzbridge.org

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The Great Tastes of Jazz & Beer


Last night I had the chance to attend the weekly jam session held at The Penn Tap Room in Doylestown, PA. This session is run by guitar virtuoso Larry Tamanini.  It’s a small intimate establishment with a nice crowd who appreciates the music that comes their way. It was a very cold night, but the music was warming to the soul and the beer selection there is incredible. If you aren’t doing anything on Sunday nights, even if you are doing something, plan an evening here for some great music.  You can visit the web site of this establishment by clicking on the following link….  Penn Tap Room


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Jazz from the Underground

I am lucky enough to have been asked to participate in a Jazz Photo Showcase at this event. I can’t wait to see everyone’s work framed and hanging up. Seeing images online is one thing, but up close prints that are matted and framed is what this is all about. I have been shooting Jazz musicians seriously for nearly 8 years and you can’t beat getting up close at one of these performances. This will be my second major showing of my Jazz imagery. Back in 2012 I was part of a 4 man show that ran at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Philly Jazz- A View Through the Lens.  It was great working with other photographers who share the same passion as myself. If you would like to know what drives us, click here –  A Jazz Photographer’s Story.  


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