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 are mapping 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, including Walk of Fame plaques and historic landmarks.
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 about Philly’s jazz scene online or at public forums.
Every block tells a story about the city’s jazz history. We are creating and curating 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. Visitors and new residents will discover their neighborhood’s hidden cultural heritage.
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 demolished by a developer.
Beginning in September 2019, Faye Anderson will lead a monthly All That Philly Jazz Walking Tour: Green Book Edition. The tour will start at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (now The Bellevue) and end at Emerson’s Tavern which was the setting for the Tony Award-winning play, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”
All That Philly Jazz stems from Music Hack Day, a music-related hackathon held at the ExCITe Center at Drexel University.
All That Philly Jazz is at the intersection of art, public policy and community engagement. For more information, check out #ICYMI: All That Philly Jazz in the News.