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Charm City Jazz

Given Baltimore's rich black heritage, it's not surprising to find a musical form that is rooted in African traditions. Legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday was a Baltimore native. Each year, the mayor hosts a vocal composition to recognize her contributions to Baltimore's history and to the world of jazz.

In a recent article from The Baltimore Sun, locals reminisce about the days when jazz clubs lit up old Pennsylvania Avenue and everyone from Ruby Glover to John Coltrane wanted to play the Tijuana.

A number of prominent jazz musicians who have found success in larger markets still call Baltimore home. And despite the fact that the New Haven Lounge, the venue CityPaper has named the best jazz club in the city seven out of the past eight years, is housed in a strip-mall off Loch Raven Boulevard, some of the most widely recognized regional acts are honored to play there.

So why do fans and musicians- even jazz fans and musicians- seem to know so little about the jazz scene in Baltimore? Is there simply a lack of interest in celebrating the music? Why does the average jazz fan find it necessary to travel to New York or Washington, D.C. when there are so many untapped resources here in Baltimore?

Related Stories

Baltimore and beyond: It has been years since riots, racial tensions and the changing landscape of popular music extinguished the lights of the last jazz clubs on Pennsylvania Avenue, but the members of the Potomac River Jazz Club still reminisce about the days when Louis Armstrong reigned king.

Baltimore Jazz Alliance calls upon fans, musicians to save the music: The Baltimore Jazz Alliance hopes to breathe new life into the Baltimore jazz scene by giving it just what it needs: an outlet for creative expression and an opportunity for fans and musicians to unite for one cause.

One of the last local greats: John Alexander's fifty years of experience have shaped the history of jazz in Baltimore, his own music and his outlook on life.

Sounds of the past still echo at Baltimore's premier jazz club: The New Haven Lounge is the last of a dying breed: a sophisticated venue that caters to fans and musicians alike.

The art of jazz: There was a time when the words “live jazz” conjured up images of sharply dressed gentlemen playing on small stages in smoky, dimly lit clubs while young hipsters writhed on a crowded dance floor.