Bands and Musicians
Here in Philly, we love our local musicians. We’ve got a ton of them, and we’re rearin’ to show them off this weekend!
Here in Philly, we love our local musicians. We’ve got a ton of them, and we’re rearin’ to show them off this weekend!
Blues and Swing events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe regularly feature Joshua or one of his ensembles. Some recent performances include Spoonful (Edinburgh, UK), DCLX’tra (Washington DC), Dance Flurry (Saratoga Springs, NY), BluesSHOUT (Chicago, IL), Sweet Molasses Blues (Boston, MA), Eastside Stomp (Seattle, WA), Montreal Bagel and Blues (Montreal, QC), Capital Ballroom (Seattle, WA), Mean Old Blues (San Francisco, CA), and many others. He has shared the stage with a number of esteemed musicians including Gordon Webster, Barbara Morrison, and Meschiya Lake. Joshua is the rare performer who cares deeply about his audience, who is constantly seeking to connect and engage the people he plays for, and who yearns to instill in everyone within earshot an irresistible urge to move.
Grammy award winning Mark Valentino Gonzales, or “SpeedyG” as he is often called, grew up in the Philadelphia area and began playing trombone at an early age. Throughout his school years he received numerous awards accomplishments including acceptance in the All-State Jazz Band in 1989. He arrived in Texas from Philadelphia in 1990 to go to University. While attending the University of North Texas he had the honor of being a member of the famed One O’Clock Lab Band under the direction of Neil Slater. He received a Bachelors in Music Education and began gigging regularly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area absorbing a vast number of musical styles and genres.
Mark joined Austin’s own Grupo Fantasma in late 2008. Their 2011 album, El Existential which featured many arrangements done by Gonzales won a Grammy for best Latin Rock Alternative/Urban album. He is currently performing and arranging for the group and it’s various satellite projects.
When in Austin, Gonzales is very active in the Traditional Jazz/Dixie scene, playing with Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies, the Thrift Set Orchestra and is bandleader of the Sahara Swingtet. He has also become popular among composers, producers and songwriters for his horn arranging abilities and studio work. Recently engaged to someone in the Philly area, he is currently splitting his time between Philadelphia and Austin and is looking forward to getting more involved in Philly’s vibrant music scene.
Josh Machiz is a Philadelphia-based musician, comedian, and composer who has been confusing and delighting audiences across North America for the last 2 decades. But he always loves coming back to perform in his home base, Philadelphia, where he’s spent the last 16 years and considers to be one of the most vibrant art scenes in the world. He was co-recipient of an American Composer’s Forum Grant and has worked with several Grammy winners and nominees, Pew Winners, a MacArthur winner, and an Obie winner. Notable collaborators include: Mickey Roker, Uri Caine, Chip Chantry, Chris Botti, Bobby Eli, Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Wilma Theater, BalletX, and Pig Iron Theater Company.
The New York Times described his music as “What the mail sounds like.” CBS called TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb “entertainingly unhinged.” The Charm City Comedy Festival describes him as “Surrealist Stand Up Comedy.” He has been entrusted to hold babies by no less than 4 mothers and has never dropped any of them.
He is currently a member TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb, Arcana New Music Ensemble, Dirty Dollhouse, Hurricane Hoss, and David Fantasy & Adult Content. In comedy Josh has been a Quarterfinalist in 2017 Philly’s Phunniest and a featured comedian in the 2018 Turnpike Comedy Festival on Amazon Prime. He is a regular contributor to Eavesdropping on America, a satirical podcast that The Onion mistook for earnest anthropological studies and lauded as, “consistently thought-provoking and prove[d] difficult to shake.”
Josh has performed at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Kimmel Center, SXSW, Charm City Comedy Fest, Joyce Theater, Vail International Dance Festival, MusikFest, Philly Folk Fest, 92nd St Y, MusikFest, Good Good Comedy Theater, and CMJ. He co-produces Sofar Sounds Philly Comedy Shows, Grin & Beer It Comedy Show at Earth Bread + Brewery, and Young Xer’s Night Comedy Shows at the Wilma Theater.
Jack Saint Clair is a Philly-based composer and arranger. He’s supplied charts for the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphiaunder direction of Terell Stafford, the Temple University Jazz Orchestra, and the Dutch Concert Big Band.
Jack is the leader, conductor, and sole writer for the Jack Saint Clair Orchestra, a 17-piece big band that performs the first Thursday of the month at LaRose Jazz Club.
In addition to his writing, Jack performs regularly as a saxophonist with Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Nine and the Epoché Saxophone Quartet.
Dot Levine is a dynamic, Philadelphia-based entertainer, bandleader and producer who has been lauded as a “guitar virtuoso and absurdist performer.” They are widely in-demand as a guitarist and vocalist for ensembles specializing in 1920s jazz music, but their full artistic range is both diverse and timeless. You can catch them at various venues around town with their group, The Singular Band, or as a solo performer for private events, such as weddings, birthday parties or other celebrations.
Dot’s musical style is largely informed by the jazz and blues players of the 20s through 40s, but they draw inspiration from a wide array of musicians and entertainers, including Django Reinhardt, Mississippi John Hurt, Oscar Aleman, Oscar Moore, and Joseph Spence. Outside of guitarists, there’s Fats Waller, Sarah Vaughan, The Boswell Sisters, Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Naftule Brandwein, Otis Redding, Booker T & The MGs and The Temptations.
“Their vocal approach is almost like a tightwire act of bravado; committing themself 100 percent, they emote with each ounce of their breath, summoning a dialect that sounds mildly tipsy and wholly road-tested.” – Metroland
Dot is also an active producer and has worked extensively as a live sound technician. They build electronic instruments and equipment to use in their recording studio and in their solo experimental project, Fink Tank.
Beginning in 2015, Cecilia Ferneborg sought to bring together some of her favorite musicians to create an experience for dancers meshing small group swing with big band sensibilities. So The Big Time was born and together the group has logged thousands of miles on the road bringing music to lindy and blues dancers across the United States. Members of The Big Time are some of the most sought after musicians in the dance scene and can be seen playing with bandleaders such as Michael Gamble, Joshua Fialkoff, and Jonathan Stout. Their debut album, “Anna Cecilia & The Big Time LIVE” (2016), was recorded in front of a live audience and perfectly captures the energy of being on the dance floor in front of the band. The Big Time brings excitement and sensuality through jazz standards, reimagined popular songs, blues arrangements, and original music causing an infectious atmosphere for dancing!
The Big Time has played for numerous dance events and Lindy and Blues exchanges, including HCBX and CHEX (Charleston, SC), DCLX (Washington DC), Red Hot Blues & BBQ (Washington DC), and SwingAus (Lancaster, PA). As a side-person, Cecilia has played for dance exchanges in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Orlando, Huntsville, Boston and more. When she’s not on the road leading the Big Time, Cecilia also writes and performs pop, jazz, and folk music under her own name: Cecilia Ferneborg.
Jack Saint Clair is thrilled to be performing for the Philadelphia Lindy Hop Exchange this year! Jack’s role in the Lindy scene has predominantly been as a sideman; playing reeds and arranging for other leaders such as Chelsea Reed and her Fairweather Nine and Brennan Ernst and his Roamin’ Tones, but he is very excited to make his debut as a leader and introduce the Saintly Stompers to the Lindy scene! Jack loves to create inventive arrangements and delve into more obscure gems of the swing era to bring delight to the ears AND the feet. In addition to playing for dancers, Jack brings a full big band each month to LaRose in Germantown, performing all his original arrangements.
Brennen Ernst is a multi-instrumental multi-genre musical daredevil. In his career thus far he has taken on—and mastered—piano, banjo, and guitar, adding tenor vocals and exploring multiple genres—bluegrass and old time, jazz and swing. More info at: http://www.pxrec.com/p2_Patuxent_Jazz_Ernst.htm
Since 2017, Parlour Noir has been a well-spring of traditional jazz music from the historic Mt. Airy district of Philadelphia, PA. The eccentric six-piece ensemble brings joy and energy to the stage across a variety of venues, from bombastic swing dance weekends to intimate restaurant settings. Comprised of vocals, horns, piano, banjo, drums, and upright bass, the band swings hard through a repertoire that spans 1922-1945, including a handful of original tunes made specifically for the dance floor. Don’t hesitate to say hello during their next band break—they’re happy to chat or a share a drink!
A transplant to Philadelphia by way of New York, Adam has quickly made his jazz and blues piano playing known in the Philadelphia scene. In high school, Adam studied Jazz, Theory, and Improvisation with Vinson Hill (Retired Prof of Jazz at William Patterson University). He found his style through listening to the great jazz and blues piano artists such as Red Garland, Fats Waller, Otis Spann, and Memphis Slim. Adam has performed at Philadelphia’s top music venues such as The Fillmore Philadelphia, Bourbon & Branch, and The Twisted Tail, as well as for countless Blues and Swing dances across the state.
In 2017, Zak Kneeland traded his mortal soul for a banjo from a dark spirit that arose out of a pond in Bucks county, PA. This is, apparently, the traditional way that folk instruments of the apocalypse choose their owners. Since that time, Zak has traversed the ancient lands of the greater Philadelphia area with Paul Salter and Adam Darer playing traditional jazz music and dreaming about being Tuba Skinny. Accountant by day, musician by night, Zak holds a degree in Music Composition from Moravian College where he studied under Dr. Larry Lipkis (music composition) and Dan DeChellis (piano). Zak harnesses the darker side of his education by writing silly songs about famous art heists and people he loves.
An avid saxophonist and flutist, Tom has been active on the music scene in and around the Philadelphia area since 2014. He formally studied jazz and classical music at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music for three years, focusing on the saxophone under the tutelage of Frank Mazzeo and Tim Warfield. In more recent years, Tom has worked as a session musician for a host of artists and ensembles, specializing in live performance and studio recording. Aside from his love for traditional jazz, Tom’s musical endeavors have spanned genres including rock, funk, blues, soul, R&B, pop, salsa, reggae, and more.
Paul fell out of a nest of deafening electric guitar playing savages and landed on a dance floor where he learned how to find the beat with his feet in a crowd dancing to hot jazz. While being marinated in this swirl of swinging bodies, he learned enough songs and met enough talented souls to play music for the natives he was dancing with. He started out hammering away on the archtop guitar struggling to be heard among blasting trumpets and tubas, and then he moved on to the singing reeds of saxophones and clarinet. He’s been running around dance floors hollering and swinging guitars and horns ever since.
As a kid Abby used to run around the dance floor during the 90’s listening to the big bands of Philadelphia and admire the beautiful dresses worn by the vocalist. As a historian and educator, she now writes about Jazz in the Lindy Hop community. As dancer she’s always trying to immerse herself in the music and her partner- grateful for all the joy jazz has brought her throughout life so far.
As a DJ she loves to play everything from Johnny Hodges to Jen Hodge, Dizzy Gillespie to Michael Gamble, Cootie Williams to Philadelphia’s own Chelsea Reed and she can’t wait to share some music in the city where she first heard it!
Check out her DJing Blog here: theintendedconnection.
Akshay is a DJ for PHLeX. His love for all things swing has slowly but surely consumed all facets of his life. In addition to DJing, he is an avid dancer and jazz drummer. After catching the jitterbug in Huntsville Alabama, he moved to Philadelphia for work as a software engineer. With his unhealthy addiction to jazz, you’re in good hands with DJ Akshay.
It wasn’t until college that Mike was exposed to swing. Since then he has dived head first into this world of music and dance. He now spends the majority of his time watching videos, practicing, listening to music, or social dancing. As a DJ he can’t help himself from playing bangers and can’t wait to entertain you all!
Lauren’s love for swing began when she decided to choreograph a Lindy Hop routine for her high school talent show. No, she had never taken a class. Yes, the dance included an air step. But what started eight years ago as a quest to imitate dancers on YouTube quickly evolved into a passion for dancing, instructing, organizing, and DJing. Lauren moved to Philadelphia a year and a half ago for grad school and it was here that she made her DJ debut at local events, including Jazz Attack and RagTag. As a Spanish teacher, Lauren is passionate about highlighting Latin American jazz artists she’s come across during her travels. Lauren can’t wait to throw down alongside the other amazing DJs and artists lined up for PHLeX!