All That Philly Jazz is a place-based public history project that is telling the story of Philadelphia jazz from bebop to hip-hop. We have mapped Philly’s lost jazz shrines from A to Z, from the Aqua Lounge to Zanzibar Blue. From Dizzy Gillespie at the Downbeat to The Roots mural on South Street, we are documenting jazz-related cultural assets and historic resources.
In an essay in “Lost Jazz Shrines,” noted author and scholar James G. Spady observed that Philly’s jazz history is “largely undocumented.” Sadly, much of Philadelphia’s jazz history has been erased. Few extant buildings remain. Jazz venues fell victim to the 1964 race riots, urban renewal and gentrification. As a result, the history largely resides in the memories of those who were there. So All That Philly Jazz is crowdsourced. Community members are invited to share their stories online or at public events.
Drawing on archival materials and oral histories, we contextualize the social history of jazz We dig in the archives to uncover hidden and forgotten stories.
We create and curate content. All That Philly Jazz is a platform – a virtual jazz scene – where users can share memories of a jazz spot and the musicians who played there.
All That Philly Jazz is about advocacy and cultural heritage preservation.
We successfully advocated for a new mural to replace the ‘Tribute to John Coltrane” mural that was destroyed by a developer.
In the fall and spring, we lead monthly Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Walking Tour: Green Book Edition. The walk begins at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (now The Bellevue Philadelphia) and ends at the repurposed Attucks Hotel.
All That Philly Jazz stems from Music Hack Day, a music-related hackathon held at Drexel University.
All That Philly Jazz is at the intersection of art, public policy and historic preservation. For more information, check out #ICYMI: All That Philly Jazz in the News.