Congratulations to Steinway Spirio Recording Artist and Jacobs Music Artist in Residence Andy Kahn on this wonderful article in the Jewish Exponent!

Man of Many Métiers Shares His Melodic Passion

Andy Kahn was introduced to music and theater at a young age: At 9, he started acting and, at 14, he took on piano full time — and got his first gig.

He played regularly at the Saloon Restaurant in South Philly after he unofficially auditioned and got a gig on the spot for Monday and Tuesday nights.


Andy Kahn | Photo by Kathy Poole

For a couple years until Kahn got his driver’s license, his father would drive him into the city for four-hour sets and come back to pick him up.

By 1968, when he was 16, he formed his first — and only — professional trio, The All-Star Jazz Trio, including the same drummer, Bruce Klauber, he plays with today.

By 20, Kahn started a recording studio with his brother Walter, Queen Village Recording Studios — occupying an old paint warehouse from the family’s business — which became a popular place, as well-known performers stopped by, including Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Grace Kelly.

He managed to score a hit gold record in 1978 with “Hot Shot” by Philly singer Karen Young topping the disco charts. Later on, Kahn often played piano at benefit concerts for ActionAIDS to help raise money.

But Kahn took a “long break” from the industry — 25 years — to work for the family business.

He bought the family’s paint distribution and decorating business, Southwark Decorating, from his father in 1985. Kahn’s grandfather opened the storefront in 1918 on Fabric Row.

Like many others on Fourth Street, the store closed in 2010, but it still operates a window treatment business, which was added to the company in the late ’80s.

“It’s a tribute to both my father and grandfather — who kept that business going — not because it makes so much money but because I just wanted to make the 100-year mark,” the 65-year-old Kahn laughed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do after next year.”

Kahn descended from a family of Russian Jewish immigrants, like many who occupied Fabric Row.

“It was all pushcarts and delicatessens — and a paint store,” he noted proudly.

Kahn’s father grew up above the storefront and became a Bar Mitzvah in the home in 1933.

“They expected about 12 people to show up, and the whole neighborhood ended up coming,” he said. “They had to take all the [wooden] crates that the paint came in … and take the paint cans out to create seats for people to sit.”

Kahn and his partner, Bruce Cahan, 73, took over the business together.

The couple met in 1979 at what is now Voyeur nightclub, which Kahn called the “Studio 54 of Philadelphia back in the day.”

On March 28 of that year — Kahn still remembers, as that was also the night that the nuclear meltdown known as the Three Mile Island accident occurred near Harrisburg, so “something was bound to happen that night” — they got together for a dinner date. They’ve been together ever since.

The couple married in 2015 with a small ceremony at Dante & Luigi’s, officiated by family friend and former District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

Kahn returned to music about 10 years ago after remixing “Hot Shot” and putting it back on the charts; it sat in Billboard’s top 10 for five weeks.

The trio became active again, too. Along with bass player Bruce Kaminsky — and often veteran vocalist Peggy King — the trio still plays regularly at Chris’ Jazz Cafe and other local joints.

Every Wednesday, the trio occupies the second floor of Chinese restaurant Square on Square. About four years ago, Kahn and his partner were eating dinner there when he asked the owner out of curiosity, “What’s upstairs?”

He responded sarcastically, “The second floor.”

Kahn took a closer look and immediately envisioned something like the Village Vanguard in New York. He asked the owner if he and the trio could play there and, to his surprise, he gave them carte blanche.

“We redecorated the entire restaurant, first and second floor. We turned the place into a really swinging place,” he said. “It’s turned into a real hangout. … We’ve really developed quite a following there.”

As a jazz musician and stylizer of the Great American Songbook, Kahn noted that many of the composers of the first half of the 20th century he admires are Jewish: “The Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Jerome Kern.”

“These were amazing composers of a whole era of music that came from the libraries of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, for everything,” he said. Kahn has since taught these legacies and musical stylings at a few local schools and out of his Center City apartment, and also serves as the artist-in-residence for Jacobs Music Co. and represents Steinway & Sons on their Spirio grand piano.

The jazz trio recently released a 10-track CD of a live performance from Chris’ Jazz Cafe, but Kahn is also working on a Great American Songbook-inspired solo album.

“I’m a big promoter of the composers, not the songs — the stories behind the songs, the way they got written, stories behind the composers themselves and their careers. It’s a fascinating thing — and the majority of them are all Jewish,” he said. “They just seem to have gotten into that genre.”

Kahn developed his skills on the keys effortlessly.

“I have a picture of me at 7-and-a-half months old sitting at the family grand piano playing with both hands, sitting there upright, smiling for the camera,” he remembered.

Although he recently discovered a new passion for teaching, that wasn’t always the case.

Once vehemently against taking piano lessons, Kahn didn’t learn how to read music until he was 18. His tutor wanted him to play a particular song for a recital, but instead Kahn played two tunes from My Fair Lady.

“The teacher turned green and she absolutely had a heart attack over it, and I got my first standing ovation at the age of 8,” he laughed. He told his parents after, “You see, I don’t need lessons.”

He’s since come around to the idea of passing his passion on to the next generation.

“[Teaching] is really my biggest passion right now, and it’s what I see as my opportunity to give back on a career that has spanned over 50 years,” he added.

Contact: rkurland@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0737

Congratulations to Steinway Spirio Recording Artist and Jacobs Music of Lawrenceville’s Assistant Store Manager Norman Seldin on this great article which was published today in New Jersey Stage!

new-jersey-stage-logo
Stormin’ Norman Seldin Joins Fellow S.O.A.P. Legends In Nashville For Recording Session
Stormin’ Norman Seldin Joins Fellow S.O.A.P. Legends In Nashville For Recording SessionWhen Doc Holiday, an award winning producer and Sound of Asbury Park (S.O.A.P) originator, called Norman Seldin to do a new original track at SONY Studios on Music Row in Nashville, Seldin knew it would be special because for the first time, three originators would be in the studio together – Hall of Fame bass man Garry Tallent, Stormin’ Norman Seldin, and Doc Holiday.News soon came that the recording session would also include the “A Team” of Nashville: saxophonist Jim Horn (Garth Brooks, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan), Grand Ole Oprey’s member and house arranger/guitarist/pedal steel man Pat Severs, Members from The Pirates of The Mississippi, Ron Kazinski, Nashville’s top arranger and guitarist Dale Herr, Sandy Tippen, The Deb Thomas Singers, and at the sound board, Bobby Bradley whose legendary father was Owen Bradley who produced to name a few Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, KD Lang, Brenda Lee.  The session will take place on August 30 and 31st.

“I was still in shock to hear Doc Holiday had all of these monster players set along with Garry Tallent and myself!” said Seldin.

Stormin’ Norman Seldin is one of the originators of the Sound Of Asbury Park (SOAP) and is seen under Bruce Springsteen on the beautiful monument outside of Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ and also the youngest member to ever join the American Federation of Musicians at the age of 13. Stormin’ Norman has performed at almost every major venue or live performance location for over forty years. People look forward to his authentic New Orleans stride piano style and Mississippi Delta Blues piano also along with a voice that knows no fear! Trained as a classical pianist with studies at Manhattan School of Music in New York which started with formal lessons at the age of 3, Norman is well known for his vocals and multi-voiced styles of Randy Newman, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Fats Domino, plus his unique lead vocals on his original material.

This has been a whirlwind year for Seldin who became an official Steinway & Sons “Spirio” recording artist for their newest and most amazing all American hand crafted piano.  In addition, Seldin returns to their studio in New York City in August to record six new songs. Meanwhile, private appearances have included great crowds for his “Where The Piano is the Main Attraction” show in the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University and for his “Dueling Pianos” shows with Vance Villastrigo.  Future shows include a special “Light of Day” performance with a ten-piece “Monster Band” created for a one-time only show.

In other news, Jacobs Music Company out of Philadelphia has sponsored all of the 9′ Steinway & Sons Model D grands for Seldin’s performances when he is not in the Lawrenceville, NJ location and Reverbnation has kept Selding at the top of the charts for Red Bank artists for over three months.

Seldin has a piano/vocal demo “The Monkey & The Baboon” streaming at www.storminnormanseldin.com and his double CD “Asbury Park Then & Now” continues to sell at www.cdbaby.com

PHOTO BY DANNY SANCHEZ

 

originally published: 2017-08-11 00:00:00

 

We invite you to enjoy the August 5th broadcast of Kids on Keys!

steinway-society-of-south-jersey-2017-winners-concert-jpg-4

If you missed the second broadcast of KIDS ON KEYS, which aired on WWFM – The Classical Network on August 5, we invite you to click the link below and enjoy the webcast of this wonderful new program, proudly sponsored by Jacobs Music Company.

http://wwfm.org/post/kids-keys-august-5#stream/0
This monthly broadcast series spotlighting some of the best young piano talent in The Classical Network’s immediate broadcast region of Central and Southern New Jersey is hosted by pianist, composer, critic and author Jed Distler, The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence. The program airs on the first Saturday of each month at 1 pm. Each Kids on Keys program features performances given by young artists in recital at the Lawrenceville location of Jacobs Music Company and other regional venues.

The outstanding performers at the Steinway this month were: Taksh Gupta, Evelyn Liu, Joshua Baw, Evan Lin, Anastasia Kudin, Catherine Cho, Jack Fan, and Crystal Su.

Happy listening!

WWFM Kids on Keys host Jed Distler

WWFM Kids on Keys host Jed Distler

wwfm-logo-square

An Evening With the Immortals

We hosted a wonderful “Evening with the Immortals” at our Jacobs Music Lawrenceville location with a Concert Starring the Steinway & Sons Spirio Re-Performance Piano with the World’s Greatest Pianists, Past and Present. The Steinway Spirio reveals the subtlety and passion of an artist’s original performance, connecting listener and artist as only the world’s best piano can.

Our guests enjoyed the live performances of immortal Steinway artists, including Vladimir Horowitz, George Gershwin, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Van Cliburn, and Glenn Gould, as well as contemporary performers such as Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, Olga Kern, and Bill Charlap. There was even a special guest performance by Steinway Spirio Artist Stormin’ Norman Seldin appearing live.

20170720_203726lawrenceville-immortals-randy-speakinglawrenceville-immortals-doug-speakinglawrenceville-immortals-norman-speaking

POLISHED PRACTICE – A WORKSHOP FOR PIANO TEACHERS AND PIANO ENTHUSIASTS, PRESENTED BY DR. PATRICIA POWELL

?

We enjoyed hosting a workshop for piano teachers and piano enthusiasts at our Ephrata, PA location on July 26th with Dr. Patricia Powell as the presenter. Dr. Powell discussed novel ways to help students make the most out of their practice time, both at home and in the lesson by applying proven strategies that raise students’ awareness and their ability to focus – important qualities at the piano, in school and in life. Congratulations Dr. Powell on an excellent presentation!

patricia-powell

Patricia Powell, D.M.A., is an Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at West Chester University.  Her approach to teaching pedagogy and performance aims for the same arrival point:  to instill a deep understanding in our students of how the power of music can connect us to others in profound ways, and that both musical expression and creativity are at the root of that understanding.

 

The 5th Annual Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy is coming to the Curtis Institute of Music next week!

pypa-2017-at-1718-eight-hands

We enjoyed a wonderful pre-festival concert last night at the Jacobs Music Steinway Selection Center in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy artistic director and pianist Ching-Yun Hu performed alongside PYPA young artists Chunyi Wang, Huiping Cai, Sirapat Jittapirom and Chris Jisuk in a wonderful program of two, four and eight hands for an appreciative and delighted audience.

pypa-2017-at-1718-ching-yun-hupypa-2017-at-1718-sira-and-chrispypa-2017-at-1718-chunyi-wangpypa-at-1718-huiping-cai

The talent and musicianship was outstanding! This is just a taste of what is to come during the PYPA 5th Annual Piano Festival taking place at the Curtis Institute of Music from August 8-15. We hope to see many of you there!

An interesting article exploring the origins of music that we thought we would share…

The story of music is the story of humans

shutterstock_537958825

 

How did music begin? Did our early ancestors first start by beating things together to create rhythm, or use their voices to sing? What types of instruments did they use? Has music always been important in human society, and if so, why? These are some of the questions explored in a recent Hypothesis and Theory article published in Frontiers in Sociology. The answers reveal that the story of music is, in many ways, the story of humans.

So, what is music? This is difficult to answer, as everyone has their own idea. “Sound that conveys emotion”, is what Jeremy Montagu, of the University of Oxford and author of the article, describes as his. A mother humming or crooning to calm her baby would probably count as music, using this definition, and this simple music probably predated speech.

But where do we draw the line between music and speech? You might think that rhythm, pattern and controlling pitch are important in music, but these things can also apply when someone recites a sonnet or speaks with heightened emotion. Montagu concludes that “each of us in our own way can say ‘Yes, this is music’, and ‘No, that is speech’.”

So, when did our ancestors begin making music? If we take singing, then controlling pitch is important. Scientists have studied the fossilized skulls and jaws of early apes, to see if they were able to vocalize and control pitch. About a million years ago, the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans had the vocal anatomy to “sing” like us, but it’s impossible to know if they did.

Another important component of music is rhythm. Our early ancestors may have created rhythmic music by clapping their hands. This may be linked to the earliest musical instruments, when somebody realized that smacking stones or sticks together doesn’t hurt your hands as much. Many of these instruments are likely to have been made from soft materials like wood or reeds, and so haven’t survived. What have survived are bone pipes. Some of the earliest ever found are made from swan and vulture wing bones and are between 39,000 and 43,000 years old. Other ancient instruments have been found in surprising places. For example, there is evidence that people struck stalactites or “rock gongs” in caves dating from 12,000 years ago, with the caves themselves acting as resonators for the sound.

So, we know that music is old, and may have been with us from when humans first evolved. But why did it arise and why has it persisted? There are many possible functions for music. One is dancing. It is unknown if the first dancers created a musical accompaniment, or if music led to people moving rhythmically. Another obvious reason for music is entertainment, which can be personal or communal. Music can also be used for communication, often over large distances, using instruments such as drums or horns. Yet another reason for music is ritual, and virtually every religion uses music.

However, the major reason that music arose and persists may be that it brings people together. “Music leads to bonding, such as bonding between mother and child or bonding between groups,” explains Montagu. “Music keeps workers happy when doing repetitive and otherwise boring work, and helps everyone to move together, increasing the force of their work. Dancing or singing together before a hunt or warfare binds participants into a cohesive group”. He concludes: “It has even been suggested that music, in causing such bonding, created not only the family but society itself, bringing individuals together who might otherwise have led solitary lives.”

The 2017 Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association Conference at Lebanon Valley College

Steinway Artists Lydia Artymiw, who was Guest Artist at the 2017 PMTA Conference, and Dr. Eric Fung, Associate Professor of Music at Lebanon Valley College

Jacobs Music is proud to support the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association and all of the wonderful work they do on behalf of music and young musicians. The images shown here are from the 2017 PMTA Conference, which took place in June at Lebanon Valley College. Included are Steinway Artists Lydia Artymiw, who was Guest Artist at the Conference, and Dr. Eric Fung, Associate Professor of Music at Lebanon Valley College. Congratulations to the membership and the leadership of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association for another great conference and thank you Lebanon Valley College for hosting this outstanding organization!

20170610_100700 20170609_164501

 

On July 1st, KIDS ON KEYS made its debut on WWFM – The Classical Network! The new monthly program is hosted by Steinway Artist Jed Distler and sponsored by Jacobs Music.

WWFM Kids on Keys host Jed Distler
WWFM Kids on Keys host Jed Distler

steinway-society-of-south-jersey-2017-winners-concert-jpg-4

If you missed the inaugural broadcast of KIDS ON KEYS, which debuted on WWFM – The Classical Network on July 1, we invite you to click below and enjoy the webcast of this wonderful new program, proudly sponsored by Jacobs Music Company.

 http://wwfm.org/post/kids-keys-july-1#stream/0

This monthly broadcast series spotlighting some of the best young piano talent in The Classical Network’s immediate broadcast region of Central and Southern New Jersey is hosted by pianist, composer, critic and author Jed Distler, The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence. The program will air on the first Saturday of each month at 1 pm. Each Kids on Keys program will feature performances given by young artists in recital at the Lawrenceville location of Jacobs Music Company and other regional venues.

wwfm-logo-square

 

WE AT JACOBS MUSIC ARE VERY PROUD AND HAPPY TO HAVE SPONSORED THE PRINCETON FESTIVAL’S 2017 YOUNG PIANISTS COMPETITION!

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner LiYuan Byrne and to all the award winners and participants in the competition!