October 14, 2014

A jazz saxophonist and an Afro-Latin drum collective—peculiar combo? Not for us. In fact, we live for these kinds of unlikely musical matchups. That said, the Mark Allen Quartet (with Strings) and Timbalona will play our main stage this Saturday, October 18th at 7pm. We caught up with Mark Allen and Andres Cisneros of Timbalona to talk about their upcoming show.

Mark Allen is something of an underdog. Sure, his baritone sax chops have landed him in the liner notes of Philly Pops, the orchestra pit at the Academy of Music, and at the head of classrooms at UARTs. He’s played the Painted Bride as a member of the Fresh Cut Orchestra. But never, until this fall, has the multi-instrumentalist taken the lead.

Not only will Mark Allen make his band-leading debut this Saturday, but he will also debut seven original pieces, all composed specifically for the event. To bring the compositions to life, he’s called on the help of Fresh Cut Orchestra’s rhythm section, as well as four unlikely guests: A string quartet.

“I want this performance to be an even fusion of two worlds.”

“I want this performance to be an even fusion of two worlds,” says Mark, hoping the strings will not only help expose a softer, tamer side of the baritone sax, but bridge the gap between jazz and classical music. He says, “I want this to use this show to shed some new light.”

Adding yet another world to the mix is Afro-Latin drum collective, Timbalona.

“Philadelphia is one of the best cities in the U.S. for percussion,” says Andrés Cisneros, Venezuelan-born percussionist and co-founder of Timbalona. Along with fellow drummer and co-founder Christian Noguera, Cisneros started the collective in a response to Philadelphia’s lack of young Latin drummers.

That was five years ago. Since then, the duo and their Timbalona crew have taken the city by storm, performing and teaching at local universities, schools, and venues large and small. They’ll add Painted Bride to their list this October, playing both original tunes and tributes to Latin big bands from the 80’s, including Cuba’s Irakere and Puerto Rico’s super band, Batacumbele.

“I’m always surprised by [Philadelphia’s] enthusiasm for percussion. People have high respect for it. That’s my motivation.”

For them, Timbalona not only represents a chance make their percussive presence known in the city, it’s a way to build community. According to Andrés, that’s the best part. “I’m always surprised by [Philadelphia’s] enthusiasm for percussion,” he says. “People have high respect for it. That’s my motivation.”


Timbalona and the Mark Allen Quartet and Strings will play Painted Bride stage on the same night—this Saturday, October 18th at 7pm. Tickets on sale now—$20 in advance, $25 day of show. 30% off for Painted Bride Members.

Click here to purchase your tickets now.