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Charleston, South Carolina
The Charleston Jazz initiative

The Charleston Jazz initiative


The Charleston Jazz Initiative is a primarily a research project devoted to collecting and archiving oral, media and historical records relating to Charleston’s role in early jazz history.  Though quite a few important jazz artists of the past seven decades have called Charleston home (including Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Green and Lucky Thompson), the Initiative delves deeper into the history of the music.

The roots of jazz in Charleston may be traced as far back as the late 19th Century, when the Jenkins Orphanage Band played a danceable brand of brass band music that was a precursor to what many consider the earliest forms of jazz.  The research of the CJI traces this band’s influence through the development of early jazz in the South and Midwest  (from New Orleans to Kansas City), and preserves South Carolina’s continued contribution to jazz history over the past century.

In addition to its research, the Initiative offers public programs examining the socio-economic status of musicians past and present, develops documentary programs for print and television, and presents live music concerts showcasing South Carolina jazz artists.

The Charleston Jazz initiative Information

  • Public Transportation: Poor
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good
  • Performances/Programs: Events are sporadic; only a few events offered annually.
  • Ticket Prices: Varies ($0-$40).