Q: Where does Mayor Michael Nutter get his jazz fix?
A: In his black, 2008 Chevy Tahoe hybrid.
“I listen to music all day long in my vehicle,” the mayor admitted to a roomful of jazz aficionados gathered in City Hall. “I get enough news – some not particularly great news. I do not listen to that in my quiet space, in my vehicle.”
On Wednesday, Nutter launched the fifth annual Jazz Appreciation Month, helped by a youth quartet from the Clef Club. The mayor, in a loose mood, suggested offhandedly that the halls of City Hall could use a live combo on Friday afternoons.
Jazz Appreciation Month or JAM is a national effort to spotlight America’s signature contribution to music. Philadelphia has its own roster of homegrown giants: Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Grover Washington Jr. and John Coltrane, to name a few.
This year the Philly JAM honors McCoy Tyner, a seminal piano player who recorded on Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” and “A Love Supreme,” and toured extensively with him through most of the ’60s before striking out on his own.
Now 76, Tyner has released 80 recordings under his own name, earning two Grammy awards.
The mayor gave Tyer the city’s Liberty Bell award.
“I enjoyed growing up here. I got a good education,” said Tyner. “My mother was a beautician and bought me a piano, and put it in the beauty shop. When I wanted to practice, I would practice while women were getting their hair done.”
More than 40 jazz-related events are scheduled throughout April, including performances by local and national artists, including Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and the most recorded drummer ever, session man Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, aka the hitmaker.