Jazz history was made in Philadelphia. It’s the city where such legendary musicians as John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Philly Joe Jones, Shirley Scott, Billie Holiday, Jimmy McGriff, Bill Doggett, Stan Getz, Benny Golson, Lee Morgan, Grover Washington Jr., Trudy Pitts and Jimmy Smith made major contributions to jazz.
Philadelphia is the most important focus of John Coltrane’s development as a virtuoso musician. Philadelphia’s rich black jazz milieu in the 1940s nurtured the novice teen reed player just up from the South. The house on North 33rd Street was special to Coltrane. In this house, he wrote “Giant Steps,” a title that foreshadowed his future musical stature. In this space, in 1957, Coltrane experienced a life-altering epiphany when he freed himself from heroin addiction cold turkey.
All That Philly Jazz, a digital history project, is mapping Philadelphia’s jazz heritage, including historic landmarks and events, legacy clubs and other points of interest. Sadly, much of Philly’s jazz legacy has disappeared. As a result, the history largely resides in the memories of those who were there.
So we have launched a mobile platform to crowdsource collection of stories, photos and videos. All That Philly Jazz’s free app is available on Google Play and iTunes (search term “icihere”).
Philadelphia’s jazz legacy is like that family secret that everyone knows about you and your family, yet you have no idea about it. Our city’s musical status in the world is rich and valued. Our story is well known in places like London, Paris, Osaka, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro while at home we have yet to explore, appreciate and celebrate the greatness that emerged from these very streets. It’s time for us to look into the Philadelphia family album of jazz and understand just how wealthy we truly are and can continue to be.
Jazz enthusiasts anywhere in the world can go to http://ph.ly/MyPhillyJazz and share their memories of Philly’s jazz scene back in the day. If you were there, that would be awesome. If someone shared a story, photo, etc., with you, please share it with us. After all, if we don’t tell our story, who will?
With our app, residents and visitors can, say, stand on the corner of Broad and Lombard Streets, and reimagine Billie Holiday leaving the Showboat, which was in the basement of the Douglass Hotel.
If Billie walked south on Broad, she would have arrived at Pep’s in less than five minutes. Along the way, she would have passed the Dunbar (Lincoln) Theatre.
Although we’ve barely scratched the surface, the first iteration of the map is telling the story. Broad and South Streets, and Columbia Avenue (now Cecil B. Moore Avenue) were chock-a-block with jazz spots.
But All That Philly Jazz is not just about the past. It’s about building new audiences for jazz musicians by exposing Millennials and others to a unique American art form.
What’s Going On is a mobile web app that curates information about after-school and summer programs in Philadelphia.
While there are a number of databases that aggregate information about out-of-school-time programs, the information is not current. Parents and students are frustrated in their efforts to find safe, productive activities. The demand for academic enrichment programs will increase in the wake of the “doomsday” budget approved by the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.
In addition to the school budget crisis, Philadelphia’s digital divide is a chasm. Nearly half of Philly households do not have access to the Internet. So, many parents and students will search for safe and productive out-of-school-time activities at the public library or Keyspot public computer center. While Internet access is free, there is a time limit. Philadelphians on the wrong side of the digital divide are not free to sit there as long as it takes to find a program.
What’s Going On is at the intersection of technology, education and civic engagement. Program providers, parents and community members are invited to submit a program. The information is verified before the program is added to Wikidelphia, Philly’s local wiki.
In recognition of our efforts to promote civic engagement, the What’s Going On team has been invited to the White House to participate in the Champions of Change event which will highlight “extraordinary leaders in transformative civic hacking and civic engagement.”
The invitation reads:
On July 23, White House officials will participate in a discussion with these Champions to learn more about extraordinary individuals who are taking innovative approaches to engage citizens and communities in the practice of open government, civic participation, and civic hacking.
As a longtime champion of civic engagement, it’s an honor to be included in the mix.
To get involved with What’s Going On, contact us via email or send us a tweet.
African Americans have always had a hand in shaping the American sound. From gospel and Motown to bebop and blues, their story is bound up in the music they made -- songs of hurt and hardship, yearning and hope, and struggle for a better day. Those feelings speak to something common in all of us. With passion and creativity, African-American performers have done more than reinvent the musical styles they helped define; they have channeled their music into making change and advancing justice, from radio booths to the stage to our city streets.
That story is still unfolding today. We see it in the young poet putting his words to a beat; the conservatory student perfecting her technique; the jazz musician making old melodies new again. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, let us celebrate these artists and the generations who inspired them, and let us reflect on our heritage as a Nation forever enriched by the power of song.
All That Philly Jazz is a digital history project that is mapping Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy. Most of Philly’s jazz places were lost to race riots, urban renewal and urban removal. So we are using digital platforms like Lokadot, a location-based audio platform, to bring Philly’s jazz history to life.
All That Philly Jazz is a digital history project that is mapping Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy. Most of Philly’s jazz places were lost to race riots, urban renewal and urban removal. So we are using digital platforms like Lokadot, a location-based audio platform, to bring Philly’s jazz history to life. We begin our journey at the former home of Local 274 of the American Federation of Musicians, better known as the Clef Club.
We are harnessing technology and oral history to preserve Philly’s jazz heritage for future generations and new audiences. Jazz enthusiasts in Philly and anywhere in the world can go to http://bit.ly/MyPhillyJazz and share their stories about the jazz scene back in the day.
My mind began racing down Broad Street, America’s longest street, which once boasted legendary jazz clubs like Pep’s Musical Bar, the Showboat, Fantasy Lounge, Zanzibar Blue and Jewel’s. On June 5, 1945, Charlie Parker performed at the Academy of Music.
By harnessing technology and capturing oral histories, we can go back to the time when the joints were jumping on Broad, South and 52nd streets, and Columbia Avenue from 8th Street to 30th Street.
At the upcoming Apps for SEPTA hackathon, we will build a prototype for a mobile app that will help visitors and residents locate former jazz clubs. Users can jump on a “Jazz Bus” to, say, Germantown and re-imagine feeling good at the Cadillac Club.
In collaboration with Lenora Early, founder of the John Coltrane House, we will re-visit Trane’s Philadelphia.
Are you jazzed? Then get involved with this Code for Philly project that’s at the intersection of technology, art and community empowerment.