How We’ve Helped
Jazz Bridge has confidentially helped over one hundred of our local jazz and blues musicians since our beginnings with needs as varied as the individuals – medical, dental, legal, advocacy, home repairs, and instrument repair. When someone calls us for help, Jazz Bridge is the safety net that helps remedy the despair that a musician or singer feels when overwhelmed by life-altering crisis.
Vocalist, songwriter and teacher Barbara Walker (center) recently had no dental insurance. Loose teeth and gum problems had undermined her stage confidence and trademark smile. Jazz Bridge helped with this issue as well as utility and mortgage shortages, so Barbara continues to perform. (L=KYW Newsradio 1060 and CBS3 reporter Cherri Gregg; R=Suzanne Cloud)
Before he passed away, Jazz Bridge provided piano-tuning and nursing-care services for legendary pianist
When legendary drummer Charlie Rice was indicted for stealing gas at the age of 89, he needed the best lawyer he could find to prove his innocence. He called Jazz Bridge for help and we contacted Mike Pinsky, an expert criminal lawyer, who provided services at lower cost. Then we helped Rice pay for legal services by holding benefit concerts and collecting donations. Jazz Bridge raised over $27,000 and the charges against Charlie Rice were eventually dropped. Charlie Rice told a reporter for WHYY Newsworks: “I didn’t know what I was going to do and someone said ‘call Suzanne,’ so I called her and to make a long story short, they got me a good lawyer…this is one of the best things that happened to musicians. If you need help, they really come out for you…”
Guitarist Charles Ellerbe needed the derelict home next to his torn down in North Philly because it was collapsing on his long-time residence. Jazz Bridge stepped in to advocate for Ellerbe with his local councilman and the City of Philadelphia and we were eventually able to get three derelict homes on his street demolished, negotiated for city aid, and paid for repairs to Ellerbe’s home.
Jazz Bridge helped author and jazz drummer Bruce Klauber, who had been struggling with alcohol after his life fell apart. A singer alerted our organization about his troubles and we stepped in to lend a hand. Klauber was the subject of an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer and he recently emailed, “Like magic, Jazz Bridge somehow knew I needed help . . . and in short order outfitted me with a computer and set of drums. Due in large part to Jazz Bridge, I have never looked better, felt better, sounded better . . . If I’m making it sound like they’re miracle workers, it’s because they are.”
Ninety-three year old jazz organist Dot Watkins needed a new smile. Her front teeth were badly in need of dental care and, since she’s still playing gigs, she wanted to look nice for her audiences and for herself. Jazz Bridge stepped in to help with the expenses and now Dot’s teeth look as pretty as the rest of her!
…And let’s not forget that Jazz Bridge still produces five Neighborhood Concerts Series (over 40 concerts a year and employing nearly 200 musicians) throughout the tri-state area at low, family-friendly prices!