Jazz at Home Club was organized in 1961 by Chet Carmichael, education director of radio station WDAS (pictured at 1963 March on Washington).
The club was launched during Philadelphia’s golden age of jazz. It was designed for casual jazz fans who were turned off by the perception that jazz clubs were for jazz aficionados. The membership dues were one dollar per year. At their Jazz Listening Session, members listened to newly released albums.
As the club grew in popularity, luminaries from the jazz world were invited to speak at the monthly meeting including Billy Taylor, Gloria Lynne, John Hammond, Art Blakey and Rufus Harley Jr., aka the “Pied Piper of Jazz,” the world’s first jazz bagpiper.
Jazz at Home bestowed the “Jazz Musician of the Year” Award on musicians who advanced the jazz culture – Jimmy Smith (1962), Clark Terry (1963), Duke Ellington (1964), Nina Simone (1966) and Horace Silver (1967).
Rev. John Garcia Gensel, creator of the Jazz Vespers at Saint Peter’s Church, spoke at a monthly meeting of Jazz at Home.