At last weekend’s Music Hack, a music-related hackathon, the All That Philly Jazz team, Mark Headd, Mike Lamond and the writer, developed the Philly Jazz App, an interactive map where we will tell the story of Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy.
All That Philly Jazz is mapping historic theaters, legendary jazz clubs, Walk of Fame plaques and public murals. We will take visitors back to the days when jazz legends performed at the Uptown, the Royal, Earle and Lincoln Theaters. To contextualize the images, we will include data curated by Echo Nest and audio samples from Rdio. We’re jazzed that All That Philly Jazz won a one-year subscription to Rdio for the best hack.
Much of Philly’s jazz history has fallen victim to urban upheaval and urban removal. To preserve the history for future generations, we must tap the memories of Philadelphians and visitors. So All That Philly Jazz will be crowdsourced. We will use social media and traditional media, including community newspapers and radio, to ask folks to share their memories and photos.
We will also use technology, including Google Glass and Historypin, to breathe life into legendary jazz clubs like the Showboat, Pep’s Musical Bar, Blue Note, Up Jumped the Devil, Fantasy Lounge, and joints along 52nd Street, aka “The Strip.” Clubs like the Aqua Lounge, Billie's Boomer, Mr. Silk’s Third Base and Foo-Foo Ragan’s.
Indeed, All That Philly Jazz is at the intersection of technology, art and civic engagement. To get involved, contact us via email or Twitter: @PhillyJazzApp.
The Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner famously observed: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” At this weekend’s music hackathon, my team, All That Philly Jazz, will bring Philadelphia’s jazz legacy to the present.
The Philly Jazz App will map historic places and markers, murals and legendary jazz clubs.
Looking beyond the hackathon, we will go back to the future and augment reality along South Street, Ridge Avenue and 52nd Street. Back in the day, those corridors were jumping with jazz clubs where legends like John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King hung out. I’m already fantasizing about the Fantasy Lounge, which was located across the street from the studios of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records.
All That Philly Jazz is at the intersection of technology and art. It can serve as a model for how art can be used to motivate underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). While jazz appeals to an older demographic, a project on, say, Philly’s or Brooklyn’s hip-hop legacy would resonate with young people who are disconnected from the innovation economy.
Istanbul will host a daylong series of events, culminating in the International Jazz Day Global Concert, which will be streamed live on YouTube starting at 2:00 p.m. ET. The concert will feature an all-star lineup, including Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Ramsey Lewis, Eddie Palmieri, Esperanza Spalding, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, Joss Stone and Terence Blanchard.
The first premise is bringing folks together. Then it’s about representing the musical legacy of Philadelphia on the highest level possible because there’s some incredible musicians here and some incredible musicians who come from here.
Philadelphia is a very soulful, passionate city, and the music that comes from the city is the same. It has this unique attitude, and there’s an intellectual side and a spiritual side to it. There’s so much talent and so much music that comes this people and people need to hear it.
Hear, hear. At next month’s Music Hack Day, my team will develop a mobile app to tell the story of Philadelphia’s jazz and blues legacy. We will map landmarks such as the John Coltrane House, historic markers and murals.
In the Labor Department's August jobs report, released Friday, overall unemployment was unchanged at a dismal 9.1 percent and the economy created no net new jobs -- but black unemployment soared to catastrophic 16.7 percent. For black men the rate jumped a whole percentage point to 18 percent, and for black youth the rate rose from 39.2 percent to 45.5 percent. Blacks now comprise 12 percent of the labor market, but 22 percent of the unemployed.
President Obama has famously avoided emphasizing race. One can fairly debate how much of the higher black joblessness today is the result of persistent racial discrimination, and how much reflects gaps in education and the fact that blacks tend to be concentrated in vulnerable sectors of the economy.
But either way, it is calamitous for the black community and what matters is that Obama has let all this fester.
We do need to acknowledge that it is more difficult for this president because of the historical nature of his presidency to have the kind of conversation that many in our community would like to have focused solely on African-American people.
But I hope that that’s a political trap the president won’t walk into.
If the president were to start speaking directly to African-Americans about what he’s doing for them, what he has done for them, as the first African-American president, that during a general election campaign, that could have very adverse results. And I believe that black people understand that.
In 1955, jazz icon Louis Armstrong recorded “Black and Blue” whose lyrics capture the dilemma facing black Americans:
My only sin is in my skin. What did I do to be so black and blue?
What did black folks do? In 2008, they turned out in record numbers and gave 96 percent of their vote to Candidate Barack Obama. But President Obama cannot target policies to assist them because as we are told ad nauseum, he is “not the president of black America.”
Earlier this month I attended the Laurence A. Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship’s conference, “Building a Fan Base: Lifting Your Business to Stardom.” The conference was held at World Cafe Live so I assumed it would be a different kind of party.
And it was. The mash-up of music and a panel discussion made me want to shout.
The moderator, Mark Loschiavo, executive director of the Baiada Center, posited “jazz as a metaphor for entrepreneurship.” He drew parallels between musicians and entrepreneurs. To grow a business worth shouting about, entrepreneurs must move beyond customers to a fan base. Fan is broadly defined to include partners, investors, suppliers, mentors and advisers.
Between playing classics like Elton John’s “Your Song” and Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the band members panelists, Stephen M. Goodman, Bruce Kaminsky and Bob Wilson, shared their insights about the rhythms of business and the performance aspect of a successful pitch.
The panelists said an entrepreneur needs more than a good product or service offering. They underscored the importance of repetition, accessibility, entertainment and emotion.
Repetition: A key component of composition, melody and rhythm is repeatability. It’s the thing that makes music work. In marketing, it’s about consistency. Successful businesses create a repeatable experience around the brand or business that consumers grow to trust. Think FedEx, eBay and McDonald’s. But it’s not about having a huge advertising budget. Instead, it’s about establishing a message and repeating it.
Accessibility: Successful musicians and businesses like the Grateful Dead and Apple create a sense of community. It’s about openness, accountability and communication.
Entertainment: As technology and the culture changed, there has been a shift from the music to the show. Think Steve Jobs. If you have your stuff together, you don’t have to, say, wear a caveman outfit to be entertaining. If you’re on top of your game and have an achievable business plan, that’s entertaining to early investors.
Emotion: Create the emotion and then tie the emotion back to the brand or entrepreneur. Think Folger’s Coffee.
The message in the music resonated as I read this pitch advice from Business Insider:
Know the people you’re pitching. Rothrock said that entrepreneurs should know everything about the VCs they’re pitching to -- where they live (“as long as you don’t drop by”), their dog’s name, their hot button issues. Senkut agreed -- do your research and try to make personal connections.
Entrepreneurs should also know what music the VCs like. When a white male is on the stage, a VC sees himself, his son, brother, Best Man, etc. But there is no instant connection with minority and women entrepreneurs. It bears repeating that people like doing business with people they know.
With limited time to make their pitch, minority entrepreneurs should use music to overcome conscious and unconscious biases and stereotypes, and make an emotional connection.
The bottom line: Your pitch doesn’t mean a thing, if it doesn’t swing investors to your fan base. If you want investors to get jazzed about your startup, add a little music.
Duke Ellington famously said: “There are only two kinds of music, good and bad.”
It’s all good as June kicks off African-American Music Month. In a Presidential Proclamation, President Obama said:
The music of our Nation has always spoken to the condition of our people and reflected the diversity of our Union. African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters have made enormous contributions to our culture by capturing the hardships and aspirations of a community and reminding us of our shared values. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we honor the rich musical traditions of African-American musicians and their gifts to our country and our world.
From the cadenced hums of spirituals to the melodies of rhythm and blues, African-American music has been used to communicate, to challenge, to praise, and to uplift in times of both despair and triumph. The rhythmic chords embedded in spirituals have long expressed a deep faith in the power of prayer, and brought hope to slaves toiling in fields. The soulfulness of jazz and storytelling in the blues inspired a cultural renaissance, while the potent words of gospel gave strength to a generation that rose above the din of hatred to move our country toward justice and equality for all.