Founded in 2004 by Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon, Jazz Bridge was created to address the lack of support for professional jazz and blues musicians in crisis living and working in the Greater Philadelphia Metro Area.
As professional jazz vocalists, Cloud and Simon witnessed their fellow musicians’ struggles and the desperation felt by some when the traditional jam session was the only way to raise money to deal with hardships or times of trouble.
Seeking a more permanent and secure support system, Simon and Cloud assembled like-minded musicians and fans to form Jazz Bridge Project, the organization’s official name.
Jazz Bridge incorporated in Pennsylvania in May 2005 and was awarded tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) public charity by the IRS in 2007. In addition to Cloud and Simon, the members of its founding Board of Directors were jazz promoter and producer Sue Ford; jazz radio host and historian Bob Perkins; jazz club owner Pete Souders; bassist Mike Boone; and guitarist Kevin Eubanks.
The founding Board recognized a special opportunity to develop a unique, regional model that could provide help to musicians during hard times, while also increasing public awareness of the tradition, history, and current state of original music in the Philly area by presenting neighborhood concerts hosted and curated by notable musicians from the region. This dual focus still drives Jazz Bridge today.