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Gerald Veasley Jazz Curator Philadelphia Tribune


Gerald Veasley named first-ever jazz curator for 'Jazz Under the Stars'

by Rita Charleston | The Philadelphia Tribune

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts will present ‘Jazz Under the Stars’ this season with its first-ever jazz curator, legendary American jazz bass guitarist and celebrated music educator Gerald Veasley, who will serve as curator through 2025.

The series highlights contemporary jazz artists. The program kicks off Sept. 7 with trumpeter Rick Braun, who has more than 20 No. 1 smooth jazz hits to his credit. Next, on Oct. 7, award-nominated Maysa takes the stage. Both performances will feature the Gerald Veasley Band, recipient of the Philadelphia Clef Club Living Legacy awards.

“Jazz music has strong roots in Philadelphia, but it’s so important to also focus on the vitality that the genre and jazz community holds today,” Veasley said. “I’m looking forward to showcasing this incredibly talented group of musicians, who I also consider great friends, through my curation of ‘Jazz Under the Stars.’ I can’t wait to celebrate this music with our jazz community at the Mann and work to foster a love for jazz with new audiences, including the young people in the Mann’s educational programs.”

Born and bred in Philly, Veasley explains that growing up there was a lot of music played in the family home — including jazz.

“And I was surprised how much freedom there was with jazz,” he says. “I thought about playing music, I even took private lessons, but I was on a completely different career path as an adult.”

In fact, Veasley attended the University of Pennsylvania with the intention of becoming an attorney. But during the course of his studies, his father died, and Veasley says that music was the only thing that brought him out of his grief.

And with enough time to get over that grief, Veasley eventually began a musical odyssey that has taken him to the top of the contemporary music world as a bassist, bandleader, composer, producer, educator and curator.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have played with many of the top jazz, R&B and gospel artists in the world, including Will Downing, Pieces of a Dream, McCoy Tyner, Teddy Pendergrass, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and many more.”

Continuing to make his own brand of music — his latest release is titled “Live at SOUTH” — Veasley also has a passion to educate and motivate other musicians. He has served on the faculty of the University of the Arts. He is also the artistic director and co-founder of Gerald Veasley’s Bass BootCamp, an annual event that has informed and inspired hundreds of bass players of all levels and ages.

Veasley also serves as president of Jazz Philadelphia, an initiative that seeks to unify Philly’s vibrant jazz community, celebrate its rich musical history, and position it as an international destination of jazz.

“And now I’ve been appointed by the Mann,” Veasley explains, “with many responsibilities including deciding which artists to bring in to play in our jazz series. I’ve played with Rick Braun, an amazing trumpeter before and know that he is perfect for our series. I’ve also played with Maysa, the following guest artist on the bill. She is a wonderful singer and also perfect for us.”

It seems as though Veasley strives for his own perfection in everything he does — whether making music or helping others do so.

“I really enjoy teaching an up-and-coming musician how to navigate the music business,” Veasley offers. “Basically, I teach them how to express themselves as an individual artist, how to best learn their craft, and how to conquer fears about performing in front of an audience.

“Of course, I enjoy the art of making music,” he continues. “I also enjoy that look on a young musician’s face when he finally gets it. That’s when I see that ‘Aha!’ moment, and that’s what keeps me going.”

For more information on Gerald Veasley and “Jazz Under the Stars,” visit

Read the article on The Philadelphia Tribune.