Philly Jazz Connections

The roots of Philadelphia's popular music go back to the 1820s, farther even. But today's Philadelphia music scene rests on a rich immediate past. The last couple of musical generations have provided a meeting place for everything from classical opera to street-corner soul and cerebral jazz.

Let's roll back to the 1930s, when Clara Ward and the Ward Singers earned the first gold record for gospel; Leopold Stokowski shook up the Main Line Philadelphians with his daring programming at the Academy of Music and shook hands with Mickey Mouse on the Disney screen; and Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti took the guitar and violin to new heights of jazz improvisation. Local musicians could find work in the pit bands in the Royal on South Street at 16th, the Earle at 11th and Market Streets, or other of the city's entertainment palaces. [Read more...]

Joel Rose, Producer and Editor
Viet Le, Rachael Berenguer and Jennifer Lynn, Associate Producers
Elisabeth Perez-Luna, Executive Producer
Kenneth Finkel, Executive Director, Arts & Culture Service

Funding was provided by The William Penn Foundation.

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Marking Pennsylvania History

ExplorePAHistory.comJohn Coltrane
Saxophonist John Coltrane is Philadelphia's most famous contribution to the world of jazz. Coltrane moved to the city from North Carolina as a teenager. WHYY's Joel Rose visits the house Coltrane later bought for his mother in Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. [Listen]

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