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Dell deals some summer show dates

Philly’s summer urban music stronghold celebrates the tried and true.

Roberta Flack
Roberta FlackRead more

WHILE NOT ready to spill all, the Dell Music Center unwrapped a goodly share of the offerings from its 2014 "Essence of Entertainment" concert series yesterday - maybe the earliest the urban concert venue has sprung any seasonal news.

Most exciting - the Dell is bringing back Roberta Flack for the first time in more than a decade, to headline a show July 24 along with Peabo Bryson. He's likely to duet with the Godmother of Neo-Soul on some of the songs (like "The Closer I Get To You") that Flack used to sing so well with Donny Hathaway. New Birth and Bloodstone will share this night of music.

A couple of classic funk faves who usually play the Keswick will be making long overdue Dell debuts - Larry Graham with Graham Central Station and the Average White Band. That combo is happening Aug. 28 on a bill that also features "The Masters of Funk" - a grab bag of Lenny Williams, The Bar-Kays, Lakeside and L.T.D.

Late blooming, rough-hewn R&B singer/keyboardist Lyfe Jennings and fusion-minded (R&B/rock/electronic) guitarist Sebastian Mikael are the most novel, first-time Dell bookings announced so far, paired on a July 31 show with returning faves Fantasia and Dru Hill.

Alain Joinville, public affairs coordinator for city Parks and Recreation, also announced that oldies-but-goodies the O'Jays and Will Downing will open the East Fairmount Park amphitheater's season on July 10.

At least four more shows will be announced - including smooth jazz and gospel nights - as the Dell offers an eight-show series package of Thursday night July/August shows at $400 for a premium seat and $300 for general reserved seating. Those time-limited bundle offerings will be on sale May 8-23 at the Dell Music Center box office, Ridge Avenue and Huntingdon Street. Individual tickets can also be purchased (at $65, $40 and $25) starting the same day at and the Dell box office. Phone contact is 215-683-3675.

WDAS will host a separately ticketed show - honoring the 30th anniversary of air talent Mimi Brown - at the city-run facility this summer, a Dell source said.