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Bands

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The Dukes of Destiny
Friday Night Band

The Dukes of Destiny are an exciting 5-piece blues and old school soul band that has been playing the Philadelphia area for over 37 years. Their repertoire includes a mix of adaptations of blues and soul standards as well as many original compositions. They have released four recordings that get regular play on area radio stations, including WXPN's The Blues Show. They have also regularly appeared at many of the area's finest clubs including Jamey's House of Music, The Kennett Flash, The Sellersville Theater, and The World Cafe. Festival appearances have included The Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Chestnut Hill Garden and Fall for the Arts Festivals, The Turk's Head Festival, The Paoli and Phoenixville Blues Festivals, and The River Blues Fest.  

 

Originally an 8-piece band, The Dukes are currently a dynamic five-person band led by original member and ace harmonica player and singer John Colgan-Davis. They feature excellent instrumental work, passionate singing, and great musical interplay. They work well with an audience and get everyone involved in dancing and having a great time. The Dukes of Destiny continue to be Philadelphia's longest lived and best loved blues band.

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Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five Feat. Najwa Parkins
Saturday Night Band

In October 2012, vocalist and composer Chelsea Reed invited a few friends over to play for some dancers in a South Philly living room. Since that fateful day, she's been singing and playing for audiences all over the world and adding band members along the way.

 

With four albums and a decade of touring under their belts, the Fair Weather Band continue to bring the soul of a dance to any show--whether at a jazz club, backroom blues bar, or festival stage. They have shared a bandstand with trumpeter Terell Stafford and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, who is featured on their 2017 release Spreadin’ Rhythm Around. Their 2020 release, Carolina Lullaby showcases original songs steeped in jazz, blues, and folk traditions where Reed’s soaring vocals and swing musicality shine. When not composing, the band loves exploring the roots of American music to uncover long forgotten songs.

Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Band draw upon the intensity of powerhouse vocalists, the ingenuity of 20th century composers, and the energy of a full dance floor.

Najwa Parkins is a Philadelphia-based vocalist, educator, and songwriter/composer. Her voice has often been described as smooth, smoky, and soulful— with a profound range of emotion. With a B.M. In Jazz Studies and Vocal Performance from Temple University, Najwa specializes in performing and teaching within the jazz idiom, but is a multi-disciplinary vocalist, seamlessly transitioning between many genres including blues, RnB, pop, and folk styles (and for those who still need this credential, yes, she has undergone many years—before, during, and after college—of classical training). Najwa has been praised for her lyrically and musically engaging compositions. True to the spirit of multi-potentiality, Najwa also has a background as a dancer and a competitive gymnast, and can also be seen performing in the Philadelphia area as an aerialist from time.

 

She leads several of her own bands to support the multi-dimensional nature of her vocal stylings and musical interests. Najwa also works as a vocalist with groups led by others, including the South Philly Big Band. She is also the featured vocalist on the 2013 release, New Celebration, by Phil Woods and the Festival Orchestra. As a recovering perfectionist, Najwa cannot tell you precisely when to expect releases of new music, but has several projects and recordings in the works that she aims to release in the near future. As an artist and performer, Najwa believes in the importance of connecting with audiences by telling stories through music. She draws on life experiences in writing her own music and lyrics as well as in her interpretation of the music and lyrics of others.

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Josh Lee and the Extended Family Feat. Chelsea Reed and Najwa Parkins
Sunday Night Band

Josh Lee and the Extended Family is a 14 piece Philadelphia based ensemble that authentically celebrates the music and the dance of the swing era. Composed of the brightest young musicians in the city, the Extended Family strives to further the 100 year tradition of big band music while honoring its pioneers—Moten, Basie, Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson to name a few. Josh is a grammy nominated saxophonist, composer, and arranger, as well as a member of the Count Basie Orchestra and faculty at Temple University.

The Extended Family plays regularly around the Philadelphia Area with appearances at the Kimmel Center the 2023 MAD Jazz Festival in Virginia and Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center in New York City.

 

Founding Members: Chelsea Reed (vocals), Sam Harris (bass), Silas Irvine (piano), Patrick Hwang (drums), Jacob Kelberman (guitar), Fareed Simpson Hankins, John Meko, Andrew Esch (trumpets), Sean McCusker, St Clair Simmons, Jasyn Brazoban (trombones) Adam Abrams, Mogi Taylor, Dylan Band, Josh Lee (saxophones)

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