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Coalition Blues: Jazz Appreciation Day in Philadelphia

Suzanne Cloud writes about the mixed messages coming out of press conference for Philadelphia Jazz Coalition

Press conference for Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Day
Ron Carter and Mayor Michael Nutter at press conference for Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Day

Okay, okay, it probably wasn’t such a great idea to ask legendary bassist Ron Carter to kick off Mayor Michael Nutter’s announcement that henceforth April 11th would be Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Day when Carter has absolutely nothing to do with the city. And it probably wasn’t a great idea to print out posters and hang banners celebrating the day that featured an unknown trumpeter and singer (stock images?) that had everyone wondering-who the heck are those people? And, it probably wasn’t a great idea to hastily form a group dubbed the Philadelphia Jazz Coalition that was heavy on educational, governmental, and commercial institutions and very light on the town’s grassroots presenters and musicians. But, hey, this is Philly-we ALWAYS start off something new by pissing people off.

Being a kind of anthropological participant/observer at last Monday’s press conference (I was in the group photo representing Jazz Bridge, a last-minute invitee to the coalition too), I quickly noticed the lack of musicians in the crowd. Hmmm, unfortunately, this press party was devoid of the stars of the show that would have demonstrated to Mayor Nutter the vibrancy of our community. Truth be told, a week before the press event, some minor fireworks erupted on Facebook with folks griping about the way things went down with the formation of the coalition.

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