On Stage: A woman born to be — and perform — ‘Jazz’ comes to Longwood

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Jazzmela Horn

There are times that a child’s birth name can influence the child’s destiny.

If a child is named Jazzmeia Horn, it would make sense if that child became a jazz musician or a horn player.

And, that’s what happened for Jazzmeia Horn, who is performing twice this weekend at the Wine & Jazz Festival at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org).

On June 1, Horn will be part of Longwood’s Wine & Jazz All Stars Summer Series along with Delfeayo Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Terell Stafford and Ralph Peterson. On June 2, Horn will be one of the featured attractions at Longwood’s Wine & Jazz Festival which also features

Christian McBride’s New Jawn, Delfeayo Marsalis presents the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, Joey Alexander, Joanna Pascale, Musette Project, Gift of Ghosts Brass Band and Ensemble Novo.

“I do feel like I was destined to be a jazz singer,” said Horn, during a phone interview last week from her home in New York City.

“Now that I’ve become my 26-year-old self, I feel like I’m destined to be this music called jazz music.”

Horn is a gifted jazz singer from Dallas who won the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition. Her repertoire includes jazz standards as well as songs and music from other genres such as classic R&B.

“I started singing when I was three in the Baptist church where my father was pastor,” said Horn. “My father can really sing – and play drums. My mom, grandfather and grandmother always sang too.

“Even when I was in my mother’s womb, I was hearing music. When I was a child, I would think that if someone wasn’t musically inclined, something was wrong with them.

“When I was young, I was listening to hip-hop, R&B, soul music, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, the Temptations and Earth, Wind and Fire – people who put their lives into their singing.

“In high school, I started branching out into different genres. I went to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas and took this jazz composition class with Roger Boykin.

“He introduced me to the music of Nat King Cole, Etta Jones, Etta James and Sarah Vaughan. I had never heard anything like it in my life.

“Sarah Vaughan was the biggest influence at first. She was the gatekeeper. She opened the door for me – and I never want to go back.”

In 2009, Horn moved to New York City to study in The New School’s jazz and contemporary music program.

“I was nervous about going to New York, a place I had never even visited,” said Horn. “But, I was eager to come here and see what Harlem was like and what the jazz was like.

“Everything was such a huge culture shock for me. This is a place where the culture is so rich – so much diversity. It’s a boiling pot – a Mecca of culture.

“When I got a scholarship to The New School, that was God’s message – opening a door for me.”

Horn’s debut album “A Social Call,” was released on May 12, 2017 via Prestige, a division of Concord Music Group.

According to Horn, “Gigi Gryce’s ‘Social Call’ inspired the title. It relates to society and things that are going on right now that are not about love or connection. These are not good times.

“This album is a call to social responsibility and knowing your role in your community. It’s about being inspired by things that happen in your life and being able to touch others.”

Video link for Jazzmeia Horn — https://youtu.be/EmI-anDxMUc.

The show on Friday night, which will take place in Longwood Gardens’ Open Air Theatre, will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s event, which will be held at a variety of locations around Longwood Gardens, will run from 2-10 p.m.

The James Pace Band

The James Pace Band has been performing around the area for the last few years and has been steadily building a fanbase and establishing its reputation as a solid blues/funk band.

On May 31, the talented quartet will open for Chris Duarte at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com).

The band features James Pace (guitar, vocals), Charlie Heuser (bass), James Farrell (drums) and Jay Davidson (keyboards). It released its debut album “Kings of Groove” several years ago.

“This is the same lineup that was on the album except for the drummer,” said Pace, during a phone interview Thursday night from his home in Newtown Square. “Ted Greenburg, our original drummer, moved to L.A. and won a Grammy for his work on the soundtrack for the movie ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown.’

“The bass player and I have been playing together since 1995. Charlie and I grew up together and went to the same high school – Mater Dei, a Catholic prep school in Monmouth, New Jersey. We were in the Asbury Park music scene in our late teens and early twenties. We were in bands that played at the Stone Pony, Fast Lane and The Saint.

“In 1994, we were playing in a Sunday house band at the Stone Pony. We drew people, so they started using us as the opener for shows with national acts. We came to Philly in 1995 and had to build the brand again. We played shows at the old Dobbs. The Grape Street Pub was our home.

“We had gone to different colleges but never finished. We needed to finish college, so we went to West Chester University for two-and-a-half years. We were doing shows at 15 North and Rex’s. It was a good time to develop our blues sound.”

On its Facebook page, the band’s list of influences includes Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, The Band of Gypsies, Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, and The Meters.

“The songs we’re playing in the show at Sellersville are the songs from our original CD, which was made in 1999,” said Pace. “It’s funk and blues, so hopefully that hasn’t gone out of style.”

The James Pace Band is moving ahead at a steady pace – but not a pace fast enough for the members to go at it full-time.

“We still have day jobs,” said Pace. “Charlie has a startup software company that we got funding for. He does software development and I do corporate strategy.

“With regard to our music, we’re writing constantly. We focus on making good blues and funk songs and it’s been progressing really well.”

The James Pace Band will also be performing on June 22 at the Grape Street Pub in Manayunk.

Video link for James Pace Band – https://youtu.be/6cQlTO-J4qo.

The show at the Sellersville Theater, which has Chris Duarte as the headliner, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50.

Jeff Buckley

It’s not a usual thing when the manager of a music act heads out on a tour of his own. But then, the career and the life story of the late singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley is not a usual thing.

Buckley was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist who established his career while playing gigs in New York’s East Village in the early 1990s. Eventually, he signed with Columbia Records, put a band together and recorded what would be his only studio album, “Grace,” in 1994.

Over the following three years, the band toured extensively to promote the album, including concerts in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Australia. In 1996, they stopped touring and made sporadic attempts to record Buckley’s second album in New York City with Tom Verlaine as producer.

Dave Lory

In 1997, Buckley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to resume work on the album — recording many four-track demos while also playing weekly solo shows at a local venue. On May 29, 1997, while awaiting the arrival of his band from New York, he drowned during a spontaneous evening swim, fully clothed, in the Mississippi River when he was caught in the wake of a passing boat. His body was found several days later.

For the first time since Buckley’s tragic death in 1997, Lory finally talks about what it was like working with the revered and critically-celebrated artist in his book, “Jeff Buckley: From Hallelujah To The Last Goodbye,” which was released by Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster on May 29, 2018.

This summer and fall, Lory will travel to cities across North America and Europe with his open forum “A Q&A with Dave Lory, Jeff Buckley’s Manager and Author, Jeff Buckley From Hallelujah To The Last Goodbye.” Lory will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the book and discuss the manager/artist relationship he shared with the deceased musician.

Lory will bring his presentation to the area on June 1 at the Theatre of the Living Arts (334 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1011, http://www.lnphilly.com).

Lory’s talk will cover the journey of Buckley’s rise to success from the release of his EP “Live at Sin-e,” his debut album “Grace” and the subsequent three years including that tragic week when Jeff Buckley disappeared into the murky waters of the Mississippi river and Lory got the call… “Jeff is missing.” The show will consist of three 30-minute segments that will include questions from the audience at the end of each.

After each evening session, Lory will be on hand to sign copies of the book at the venue.

“The Philadelphia show will be the first date,” said Lory, during a phone interview Thursday afternoon from his home in Montclair, New Jersey. “Even though it’s the first, I’m used to talking to audiences because I do a lot of teaching at William Paterson University and New York University.

“I have a format for the show. But, I really want it to be about what fans want. It will be different every night. If I do a rigid event, fans will tape it and put it up on the internet. Then, no-one will come out to the events later because they already have it all.

“There will be three segments with no intermission. The first part is the intro and goes on with how I met Jeff. The second part is about him breaking around the world. There are a lot of stories – some serious and some humorous. In the third part, I talk about his death and the aftermath.”

Lory’s tour has been sparking interest among the legions of Jeff Buckley fans.

“We have a pretty big social media contingent promoting the book,” said Lory. “Jeff would have been 52 this year. And, his recording of ‘Hallelujah’ went Number 1 in the charts 10 years after his death.”

Lory did not write the book to make money from his relationship with Buckley.

“I wanted to put a stamp on his legacy,” said Lory. “Everything in the book is factual – from me and the eight other people whose interviews were used.

“When I started writing the book, I realized that I had never grieved. I put everything in a box and didn’t allow myself to grieve When I went back to it while I was working on the death part. I found myself sitting on my porch with tears streaming from my eyes.”

The presentation at the TLA will get underway at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Warchild

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Warchild on June 2 and Open Mic with Charis Latshaw on June 3.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Hotlanta on June 2.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host a Kevin Cox EP Release Party on June 2.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents David Crosby & Friends on June 2.

The Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 202-730-3331, www.thequeenwilmington.com) will have Zupang on June 1, Halfway to Hell on June 2 and Manchester Orchestra featuring Kevin Devine on June 6.

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