April is Jazz Appreciation Month. The Apollo Theater is kicking off the celebration with auditions for a special Jazz Night edition of Amateur Night.
Got jazz talent? Alright then grab your instrument, accompanist, CD, flash drive, MP3 player or dancing shoes and head on up to Harlem on Saturday, April 1. The Apollo will provide 88 key keyboard, drum kit, guitar and bass amps.
For more information on how to audition and eligibility rules, go here.
All That Philly Jazz was named one of the top 50 jazz blogs and websites for jazz musicians, teachers and students. We came in at #41. The list includes JazzWax and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Way to go!
For more news and mentions, check out ICYMI: All That Philly Jazz in the News.
Empire Records Shop was located on the edge of “The Strip” at 52nd and Market Streets.
Empire Records was the oldest, continually-operated Philadelphia jazz record shop (1930 to 1970). In an online profile, Bill Morlitz shared his story:
I was born in Camden NJ since my mom’s cousin was head of Obstetrics at West Jersey Hospital on February 1, 1950 and have lived my whole life in Philadelphia and/or its suburbs. My dad had the first jazz record shop in Philadelphia so at an early age, I was immersed in the music business. Maybe that’s why I can’t sing a note on key nor have the 10 years of piano lessons stayed with me. Chopsticks is beyond me.
During my teens, I was fortunate to personally meet many great jazz artists including Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Buckner (who developed the locked wrist rhythm style of piano playing and was Lionel’s pianist), Lionel Hampton and many others. Grover Washington, Jr. worked in the store on the weekends and we used to go listen to jazz sets together. My photography is included on his “Live at the Bijou” album.
Legendary saxophonist, composer and arranger Benny Golson began his career in Philadelphia with Benjamin Clarence “Bull Moose” Jackson. In Whisper Not: The Autobiography of Benny Golson, the NEA Jazz Master recounted:
Three weeks after I joined the band, we landed a gig at the Wharton Settlement, 22nd Street and Columbia Avenue, a public venue for basketball, dances, swimming, checkers (anything to keep kids from idleness on city streets). We were paid: too good to be true, but welcome. Jackson’s band played stock arrangements that cost seventy-five cents each, most of which written by Spud Murphy or Van Alexander (who recently died at age one hundred) and other writers I have forgotten. Our repertoire included “Take the A Train,” “One O’Clock Jump,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” “The 9:20 Special,” “Stardust,” “Down for Double,” and a variety of honorable standards. Sure enough, I received four dollars that night. It was months before I actually spent those precious few dollars, but I was on my way.
Published by Temple University Press, Golson’s autobiography is available for purchase here.
In 1952, at the age of twenty-six, with the benefit of a G.I. loan, John Coltrane bought for himself, his mother, his aunt and his first cousin the North 33rd Street property. Coltrane lived here from 1952 until 1958. It was a big, beautiful house, built for a well-to-do middle class at the turn of the 19th century and a huge step up from the cramped quarters in a deteriorating area of town where the family had been living. Coltrane owned and lived in this home longer than any other during his legendary career as a jazz saxophonist and music composer.
The John Coltrane House was added to National Historical Landmark in 1999 as “having exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.”
The recognition attests to the value of the house to the living and future generations. The building is still a sound structure, but it has fallen into disrepair. Money is urgently needed to secure the survival of John Coltrane’s historical home.
For information on how you can help, contact the John Coltrane House.