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 local venues to hear live jazz.
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. The project 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.
For more information, follow us on Twitter: @PhillyJazzApp.