ABOVE PHOTO: Benny Golson (Photo: Int’l Jazz Productions)
Mayor Nutter launches celebration with official proclamation at City Hall
Mayor Michael A. Nutter proclaimed April 2014 Jazz Appreciation Month in the City of Philadelphia and launched the month-long celebration during a press conference at City Hall on Thursday. During the event, Philadelphia-born jazz legend and saxophonist Benny Golson was honored with a City proclamation and live performance by the Francois Zayas Trio.
“Philadelphia is home to a rich jazz legacy and a dynamic music scene,” Mayor Nutter said. “This April, we observe National Jazz Appreciation month and celebrate Philadelphia’s past and continued contribution to American jazz history. What better time to get out, hear some great music and truly experience Philadelphia’s vibrant jazz performance scene?”
For the rest of the month, local organizations including the Kimmel Center, JazzBridge, and the Philadelphia Jazz Project will collaborate to promote and support Philadelphia’s jazz tradition and assets with scores of performances across the city, workshops, events, and pop-up performances.
Philadelphia has an extraordinary jazz heritage, beginning with Ethel Waters, and extending to John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Stan Getz, the Heath Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Sun Ra, McCoy Tyner, Grover Washington Jr. and other music luminaries. During the mid-20th century, Philadelphia contributed to the development of bebop-style jazz, which was born in after-hours New York City clubs. In the 1940s, the city’s lively jazz scene was based out of clubs along Columbia Avenue in North Philadelphia and in South Philadelphia (The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts and Pep’s). Many of these clubs and jazz legends with Philadelphia roots have inspired an active roster of premier musicians and venues over the years, and even now in the modern era.
The goal of Jazz Appreciation Month is to showcase and stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate by studying the genre, attending concerts, listening to jazz on radio and recordings, and supporting institutional jazz programs. For a complete listing of Jazz Month activities in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, please visit philadelphia.jazznearyou.com.