Music by the People, for the People, of the People: Philly Jazz, Gospel, and Mummers

The music of the Mummers, jazz and gospel have this in common: all three are original, American musical forms created, celebrated and listened to in Philadelphia. Join Patricia Anne Masters of George Mason University, Carol Muller of the University of Pennsylvania and Diane Turner of Temple’s Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection in a program that celebrates the diversity of Philadelphia music and the creation of unique musical cultures around Mummers Day, jazz and West Philadelphia gospel.

Masters is a professor of sociology and anthropology at George Mason University, and author of The Philadelphia Mummers: Building Community Through Play (Temple University Press). She spent more than five years with the Mummers, observing their lives and rituals as she took part in their preparations and parades. Through the prism of their century-long history, she writes on how communities retain their identities and how they are affected by larger cultural trends.

Carol Muller is a professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania who has published widely on South African music. At Penn, she has run academically based community service projects linking music and spirituality in West Philadelphia. Her classes have studied traditions of gospel and Islamic music in the neighborhoods surrounding Penn. Musical Echoes: South African Women Thinking in Jazz (Duke 2011) with Sathima Bea Benjamin and Focus: South African Music (Routledge 2008) are some of the books Muller has authored and edited.

Diane Turner is a historian and the curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. Her publications include My Name is Oney Judge and Feeding the Soul: Black Music, Black Thought. She has produced exhibitions at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, where she served as a curator, and the Rosenbach Museum and Library, where Look Again: African-American History is American History was the first exhibit of African and African American items in the museum’s history.

Book cover for The Philadelphia Mummers by Patricia Anne Masters with illustration of City Hall and Mummers parade.

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