The Philadelphia Jazz Project is celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month in the month of April and WRTI’s Bob Perkins news.
April is a confluence of big Philly music moments: the Grammys, the year’s first Record Store Day, the real beginning of the outdoor live concert season (as soon as the weather stays warm), and of course the way of the walk that is Philly’s own brand of Jazz Appreciation Month. So while that means University of the Arts grad Gosia Julia Maj and the Amsterdam Collective marking their return to Philly with an April 21 gig at Chris’ Jazz Café and bassist-band leader extraordinaire Gerald Veasley and his Unscripted Series presenting The Electric Mingus Project for the legendary Charles’ 100th birthday celebration (April 21-22 at South Jazz Parlor), no Jazz Appreciation Month is complete without the say so of the Philadelphia Jazz Project.
And while I am sorry that I missed yesterday’s Free Library jam with the Big Brass 4tet done in tandem with the Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, I can testify to the Philadelphia Jazz Project’s next celebrations of America’s classical music with a tribute to Weather Report, the Mysterious Traveler All-Stars also free, and also at the Free Library of Philadelphia main branch on April 25.
PJP JAZZ ON TV, the televised offerings from Philadelphia Jazz Project’s televisual partner PhillyCAM, has more than a few local jams on its public access airwaves. And for 4:20 – the national celebration of stoner culture and cannabis joy – the Philadelphia Jazz Project peeps will host PHILLY JAZZ TALKS ABOUT WRTI at 7 pm, a free online Zoom-only event where Philadelphia Jazz Project’s Homer Jackson digs deep in conversation with WRTI producers, Steve Rowland, Steve Robinson and host, Dr. Suzanne Cloud of the Philadelphia Jazz Legacy Project about all things local jazz radio.
To go with all that jazz comes word, just now, that WRTI’s longtime radio host Bob Perkins – the “BP with the GM” – will retire from full-time hosting on the FM band in June, while still sticking to his 9 am to 1 pm Sundays programming.
In a prepared statement, South Philly’s Perkins said of his retirement, “After 57 years in media, 25 of those years spent at WRTI, I am now into my 88th year, so this is a good time to retire from full-time hosting at the station, and reflect on where I’ve been, with whom I’ve talked and what I have learned over the decades as a newsman, editorial writer and jazz music host, and see where that leads me. I look forward to the opportunity to pick up the mic at WRTI on Sundays to continue to serve all the listeners with finely-tuned ears who have said that I’ve helped keep jazz music alive in Philadelphia, and beyond.”
William Johnson, General Manager of WRTI wrote, “Bob’s contributions to jazz are innumerable. He’s introduced thousands, if not millions, of listeners to this music over the course of his career, delighted young and old with his signature sound, and been a tireless advocate for jazz appreciation and education. He is a gentleman, a kind soul, and every bit as nice in person as you hear on-air. I’m thrilled he’ll continue to host Sunday Jazz Brunch after he retires because we all need some GM (good music) with our toast and jam!”