The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts was founded in 1966 as an extension of Union Local 274, which was comprised of Black musicians barred from the then-segregated Local 77. Since its inception as a musicians’ union, the PCC has served as a hub for the city’s jazz community and provided space for socializing and music experimentation. In 1982, Dr. Bernard C. Watson, the president of the William Penn Foundation, allocated funds to construct a new facility at 738 South Broad Street, as part of the development of cultural organizations in Philadelphia’s Performing Arts district, the Avenue of the Arts. The Clef Club has been at this location since 1995.
Considered a historic icon in the Philadelphia African American community, the Clef Club has since expanded its offerings to include public performances by leading jazz artists and a music education program, which predominantly targets youth participants.
In January 1993, the Clef Club sponsored a concert in the Academy of Music in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. An audience of nearly 2,600 applauded some of the leading jazz artists in the world, including Jimmy Smith, George Benson, Sonny Fortune, Peter Nero, Red Rodney, Johnny Coles, Lou Tobacin, Mickey Roker, Bobby Durham, Clifford Adams, Randy Brecker, Trudy Pitts, Shirley Scott, Tim Warfield, Charles Fambrough, and Kenny Barron.
THE MISSION of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz an Performing Arts is to celebrate and preserve the legacy of jazz through accessible education for the Greater Philadelphia region, and to support the evolving art form through talent development, programming, and public performance.
THE VISION of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts is to become a world-renowned center for jazz and to become a leader of jazz education and the related arts in Philadelphia.
VALUES: Preserve. Present. Educate. Celebrate.
- Preserve the history of jazz, particularly in Philadelphia, in various media formats.
- Present public performances to enhance awareness and appreciation for jazz music and related arts.
- Educate students of all racial and ethnic groups to build a foundation of commitment to exploring jazz styles and tradition.
- Celebrate the great history of jazz in Philadelphia and the impact jazz has on other disciplines.