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 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.
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 share memories of a jazz spot and the musicians who played there.
All That Philly Jazz is about applied history, advocacy, and preservation of the built environment and cultural heritage. We advocated for rehabilitation of the John Coltrane House, a National Historic Landmark that is at risk of demolition by neglect.
All That Philly Jazz stems from Music Hack Day, a music-related hackathon held at Drexel University in 2013.
In 2022, All That Philly Jazz was named one of the 100 best jazz blogs in the world, ranked by “traffic, social media followers, domain authority and freshness.”
For more information, check out #ICYMI: In the News.