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Mary Ellen Desmond with the Victor North Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Café

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Mary Ellen Desmond with the Victor North Quintet Chris' Jazz Cafe Philadelphia, PA February 3, 2018 It was the Saturday night before the Superbowl kickoff, and the crowds were out and about in Philadelphia with a “Go Eagles" attitude. A full house crowded into Chris' Jazz Café to hear their vocalist pride, Mary Ellen Desmond with the solid backing of tenor saxophonist Victor North's Quintet including the venerable John Swana on trumpet and valve trombone, ...

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Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy 2017

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Mary Ellen Desmond Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany Comfort and Joy Philadelphia, PA December 10, 2017 It's always a pleasure to hear Mary Ellen Desmond sing, and for the past fourteen years, her special musical offering has been the seasonal Comfort and Joy holiday concert which she initiated and for which she serves as featured vocalist. This year was no exception. Desmond and her exceptional quartet of saxophonist Larry McKenna, pianist ...

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Mary Ellen Desmond at Paris Bistro and Jazz Café

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Mary Ellen Desmond Paris Bistro and Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA August 26, 2017 The Paris Bistro and Jazz Café is in Chestnut Hill, a neighborhood in the Northwest corner of Philadelphia that's like an upscale village all its own, with boutique stores and restaurants and the last stop on the Chestnut Hill train line. The jazz café is downstairs from the restaurant and has a small but comfortable stage, warm acoustics, and a very ...

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Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy Concert 2016

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Mary Ellend Desmond Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany Comfort and Joy Philadelphia, PA December 11. 2016 Mary Ellen Desmond is one of the most highly regarded Philadelphia-based vocalists, and for the last thirteen years she has provided the inspiration and fronted a top of the line quartet for the annual Comfort and Joy holiday concert at the Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany. This reviewer, no particular fan of holiday ...

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Mary Ellen Desmond Quartet: 11th Annual Comfort and Joy Concert

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Mary Ellen Desmond Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany 11th Annual Comfort and Joy Concert Philadelphia, PA December 14, 2014 Mary Ellen Desmond's Comfort and Joy Concert commenced a decade ago as a shot in the dark, and now, after eleven years running and a CD to its name (Comfort and Joy, Frontrow Records, 2013) the annual event has become a jny: Philadelphia institution. It's addictive. Many jazz ...

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Mary Ellen Desmond and Her Quartet at Chris' Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia

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Mary Ellen Desmond and QuartetChris' Jazz CafePhiladelphia, PennsylvaniaAugust 22, 2009

A late August thunderstorm and drenching rain didn't keep the faithful from coming out to hear Philly favorite vocalist Mary Ellen Desmond and her group perform at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Center City, for which they were rewarded with a lively and sophisticated performance by the main attraction and her sidemen, consisting of saxophonist Larry McKenna, pianist Tom Lawton, bassist Lee Smith, and drummer Byron ...

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Desmond at the Curtis Arboretum: A Great Taste of Philly Jazz on a Summer Evening

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Mary Ellen Desmond Curtis Arboretum Philadelphia, PA July 12, 2009

If you want a picture-perfect setting with a “soiree" feeling for a jazz group, the Curtis Arboretum is it. Located in the Philadelphia suburb of Wyncote, PA, it was created by Mary Louise Curtis Bok, in honor of her father Cyrus Curtis, founder of the famed Curtis Publishing Company. Frederick Law Olmstead was responsible for the landscaping who was also the iconic designer of ...

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A Holiday Jazz Benefit Concert with Mary Ellen Desmond, Philadelphia

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The Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany330 South 13th StreetPhiladelphia, PennsylvaniaDecember 16, 2007 Perhaps like this writer, there are those who are not especially fond of the holiday music that blares everywhere from late November through the New Year. Besides the intrusive, repetitious re-playing of a dozen or so hackneyed songs, the renditions are usually commercial and lack musical sophistication. Thus, it was a pleasure to attend a Christmas concert with outstanding jazz ...

INTERVIEWS

Mary Ellen Desmond and Meg Clifton: The Dynamic Philadelphia Songstress Duo

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In the jazz arena, as is all too often true in opera as well, vocalists, despite their sometimes fine voices and charisma, often lack true musicianship. This shortcoming is so pervasive, that we no longer expect such musical fine-tuning from them. Billie Holiday and the opera diva Beverly Sills were two great exceptions to the rule. Their style, their precision, their care with interpretation marked them as musicians, not just singers as such. There are others, of course -- Sarah ...