Bryant Pugh Band to perform

Canaan Baptist Church presents Gospel Meets Jazz featuring the Bryant Pugh Band with bassist/vocalist Cedric Napolean, formerly of Pieces of a Dream. — submitted photo

In recognition of Jazz Appreciation Month, and with the desire to “highlight jazz as both an historical and a living treasure,” Canaan Baptist Church, 5430 Pulaski Ave., presents Gospel Meets Jazz featuring the Bryant Pugh Band with bassist/vocalist Cedric Napoleon, formerly of Pieces of a Dream. Hosted by Cody Anderson, the musical celebration benefitting Canaan’s Children’s Programs will also feature the Canaan Baptist Church Ujmoja Choir and the Joey Harrison Group. The event takes place on April 27 at 4 p.m.

“We needed funds to help our children’s program at Canaan - stuff like going to the Franklin Institute, we do Kwanzaa - and there was no real budget for any of that kind of stuff,” said Joseph Harrison, director of the Canaan Baptist Church Children’s Choir. “It’s almost like you have to fight to expose your culture with Lil Wayne and all this negativity out there, and I love jazz and I wanted to continue, so what better way than to have a gospel jazz concert? And that’s the theme of my little group, “Gospel Meets Jazz.” We do jazz and gospel. What better way to expose them to it, include them and make a little money for our children’s programs on the side too? So it’s a win for the kids, so they’ll see it, some exposure, and then it’s a win for the church, because it brings more folks in, and it happens to be Jazz Appreciation Month.”

Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is defined as a music festival held every April in the United States, in honor of jazz an an original American art form. JAM was created by John Edward Hasse, Ph.D., curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

JAM was created to be an annual event that would pay tribute to jazz as both a living and as a historic music. Schools, organizations, even governments celebrate JAM with events ranging from free concerts to educational programs. The first year was 2001, and initial funding was provided by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

While gospel portion of the program is in the capable hands of the world-renowned Bryant Pugh, the jazz segment will put the Joey Harrison Group, featuring Harrison on percussion, Kendrah Butler on keys, vocalist Shamika Byrd, bassist James Cooper, drummer Sadayah Galloway, and saxophonist Mike Clay squarely in the spotlight. Their set will feature Butler’s arrangement of “Duke’s Caravan” as well as her original composition “Lead My Path” and the jazz standard, “Green Dolphin Street.” The Joey Harrison Group is featured monthly at the Platinum Grille in Chestnut Hill.

“We’re using the music, using that culture to benefit our people and our kids,” said Harrison. It’s going to be something that I can be proud of - that the community can be proud of.” To purchase tickets, call Harrison at (267) 625-1598 or visit For additional information, contact Harrison at


Contact entertainment reporter Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 893-5753 or

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