Tag Archives: Ridge Avenue

Ridge Cotton Club

Opened in 1947 and listed in the The Negro Motorist Green Book, the Ridge Cotton Club shows the influence of Harlem and the Cotton Club. And like the legendary Harlem nightspot, it was probably controlled by the mob. The original owners, Morris Brodsky and Harry Hirsch, died within days of each other in January 1949 following “injuries inflicted by an assailant.”

Ridge Avenue Cultural District

The Elmer Snowden Trio played here in April 1946.

Blue Note

The Blue Note was located at 15th Street and Ridge Avenue. The house band, the Ray Bryant Trio, backed, among others, Miles Davis, Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.


With the exception of Bud Powell, all of the Blue Note coming attractions have been inducted into the Philadelphia Walk of Fame.

Cecil “Kid Haffey” Collier was the bouncer.

The Miles Davis Quintet, featuring John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums), appeared at the Blue Note on December 8, 1956.

The performance was broadcast live on Mutual Network’s Bandstand USA. In his closing remarks, the announcer, Guy Wallace, said:

A great sound — the great sound by Miles Davis and his horn, from Lou Church’s Blue Note, 15th and Ridge Avenue down in Philadelphia. A truly fine place to go if you’re driving around down in that Philadelphia area and you want to hear some real cool jazz. Miles Davis is the boy that can do it, because he’s one of the real great exponents of that cool sound in cool jazz. I don’t know, uh, as an observer (and more than just interested observer), I find it a pretty controversial thing to talk about cool jazz and other types of jazz, because those of you who are listening who like the clinical sound of cool jazz, really like it, and when we make any comment about it, we’re usually deluged with letters. We hope you liked it, however, and we hope that you continue to listen to our Bandstand here on Saturday nights on Mutual as we present all types of jazz, from New Orleans to Chicago to Kansas City to the cool clinical sound of modern jazz. You’re listening to Bandstand USA on Mutual Network.

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Pearl Bailey

The daughter of a preacher, Pearl Bailey began singing at the age of three (her brother, Bill Bailey, also taught her a few dance steps). She was performing professionally by her early teenage years and after touring as a dancer for several years, she featured both as a singer and dancer with jazz bands led by Noble Sissle, Cootie Williams and Edgar Hayes. She began performing as a solo act in 1944, and wooed nightclub audiences with her relaxed stage presence and humorous asides. After briefly replacing Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Cab Calloway’s Orchestra during the mid-’40s, she debuted on Broadway during 1946 in the musical St. Louis Woman. Bailey earned an award for most promising newcomer, and made her first film, Variety Girl, in 1947.


Pearl Bailey - 1.12.15

Ridge Avenue

During Philadelphia’s golden age of jazz, there were jazz clubs in every neighborhood. There were so many that folks in North Philly didn’t go to joints in South Philly and vice versa. There were a handful of clubs that reached legendary status and attracted patrons from all over the city. The Blue Note at 15th Street and Ridge Avenue was “the town’s swankiest jazz emporium.”

From 15th Street to Columbia Avenue (later renamed Cecil B. Moore Avenue), Ridge Avenue was a jazz corridor where legends-in-the-making roamed.

Ridge Avenue Entertainment District - 7.26.17