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Posts Tagged ‘LGBT Jazz’

Monnette Sudler in concert at the UU church on Stenton Avenue

Monette Sudler and

Lynne Riley on Alto Sax

"Ladies Night Out" Luciana Padmore on drums

Just last weekend at the Unitarian Universalist* Church of the Restoration on Stenton Avenue in NW Philly, Internationally renowned Monnettte Sudler and her band “Ladies Night Out” played a dynamite concert to a full house. The concert was part of Philadelphia’s Official Jazz Appreciation Month in April.  “Ladies Night Out” includes Lynn Riley on saxophone and flute, Noriko Kamo or Organ and Luciana Padmore on drums.

It was a big weekend at Restoration with guest minister, African American UU historian and author Mark Morrison-Reed was also at the church for a reading, workshop and as a guest minister.  He also gave the sermon at the morning service at the Unitarian Society of Germantown on Lincoln Drive in Philadelphia.  To read my Huff Post piece that mentions Mark’s most recent book  The Selma Awakening, How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarian Universalism, (2014, Skinner House Books), click here

*Unitarian Universalism is a faith that encompasses all religious/spiritual backgrounds (including atheism, agnosticism and Buddhism) in a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”.

Monnette Sudler and

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Just the other night, I attended a concert of love songs in an art gallery in Old City Philadelphia. Many of the songs were composed by Michael Biello and sung and played (on the piano) by his partner Dan Martin.  Dan was joined by Robin Burdulis on percussion and Tony Pirollo on Cello.  It was a truly magical evening.

Robin is an old friend – and through her my partner, Barbara, and I, have become acquainted with Dan and Michael’s moving theatrical and musical work over the decades.

Robin and and Barbara -- Poopsie and Boom -- together again!Entire group -- Dan Martin and company

Dan Martin at pianoguest at concert -- fabulous outfitRobin's hand on drumOld friends at the gallery

Just last year, I joined a church for the first time in my life.  This prompted a few long term acquaintances to remark, “Janet? Janet joined a church?”  One was talking to my partner who later rolled her eyes at me and said  “I wonder why she said that?”  Guilty as charged.  I was one of the seven percent of Americans raised without religion. So why ruin a good thing? I wanted to learn about the nature of belief — plus it’s a great community — truly  diverse.  It’s a Unitarian church — specifically Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in East Mt. Airy. I’ve met lots of people from various religious and a-religious backgrounds — agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Christians,  Jews. One thing we all have in common is that we are all thinking and questioning people.  I’m even in the company of some long-time fellow travelers.

One of the activities that I’ve been involved with is the  Jazz  Vespers  series. This last month featured  “Pluto is a Planet,” a LGBT jazz group that played original  compositions and jazz standards by LGBT  greats, including Billy Strayhorn who composed the popular standard “Take the A Train.” The concert prompted me to look up Strayhorn. Here’s what I found on LGBT History dot com:

Strayhorn, 1915 – 1927, was best known for his collaborations with Duke Ellington. According to LGBT History Month dot com, Strayhorn was openly gay. There has been speculation that his sexual orientation prompted him to avoid the spotlight. He was active in the U.S. civil rights movement.

“Although Strayhorn and Ellington collaborated on numerous piece, Strayhorn remained fairly anonymous and was rarely credited or compensated for his work,” according to LGBTHistory.com.

Below are some photos that I took of Pluto is a Planet.

Pluto is a Planet

Pluto is a Planet

To learn more about the Jazz Vespers series at UUCR, click here 

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