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For Artists Only #2


This month, For Artists Only #2 presents the first article in a series by Holistic Health Counselor, Kevin McPherson, as well as some pertinent information about local and regional resources, including PJP's Travel Aid. Check it out.




Introduction:  Alcohol, Drugs, and Na-Na

Though I am not a musician, I have tinkered on a cello, piano, and an alto saxophone, in the past.  I have drank from the cup of the Muses in several other art forms, including writing, acting, poetry, dance, and theatrical direction, in brief, but significant doses.  But I do have a personal connection to jazz music listening, as it was the primary music of my youth in my parents’ home in North Philadelphia.  And upon finding myself at Lincoln University, did further that pursuit in several academic explorations.  Since that time, I have veered my interests into the world of Nutrition, Wellness, and the Healing Arts.  No less important and/or creative, but a different vantage point on the universe.  Thus, this introduction serves as a possible new marriage of two loves of my Life via world of the Philadelphia Jazz Project.


Historically, Jazz (or Jass, if you are from N’awlin’s) was not the music that was allowed in an upstanding home.  It had an association with the underside of society, and may have actually been a slang term for sexual intercourse (which in a Judeo-Christian society was not a thing to be publicized).  Often the music was performed in and around areas where these less than socially respectable activities were taking place.  In fact, in New Orleans, there was an area of the city known as ‘Storyville’, which was the geographical limit the city imposed to confine the debauchery.  Brothels, saloons, alcohol, drugs, and lewd behavior, though not generally acceptable, was a daily occurrence in this area of New Orleans.  It was in places like this around the country that Jazz, as we know it, had its teeth cut and grew to the art form we know today.

So what does this have to do with Nutrition, Wellness, and the Healing Arts?   Well, the proximity of these 'underworld' activities had a profound effect on the music, as well as the persons who perform(ed) it.  Many of our revered Jazz musicians survived through physical, and mental, Health ailments that were not the general state of the rest of the population.  Alcoholism for a while was rampant.  Drugs were readily available to the musicians in these below-the-surface establishments that made the music available to the public.  Women of questionable character were known to be near such places because the paying customers drew them there like moths to a flame.  And the owners, were often of even more questionable character, and used these other services/products as payment, rather than provide a salary for the performances, thus further deteriorating the Health and Well-being of the Jazz musicians performing in their clubs.


The stigma of this type of Life-Style, alcohol, drugs, and ‘loose women’ has held sway in the Jazz community since its conception, and it is difficult for many to break away from the throes of these insults.  And because of the nature of the business, and the financial abuses of Jazz musicians, many either have no Health insurance, or are working another job to pay their bills, while exhausting themselves playing music after working their primary money-source job.  'Burning the candle on both ends' further deteriorate the Jazz musicians’ ability to maintain their Health.  And because the establishments where they work rarely serve high quality food (if there is a meal or snack made available to the musician during one of their performances) it is probably more beneficial to them, Health-wise, to refuse the meal.  But then again, this could be another source of in-kind compensation, in-lieu of actual cash money.

Thus, my intention with these regular writings is to look at Nutrition, Wellness, Life-Style and its integral relationship to the world of ‘the only truly Classical American Music', Jazz, and the artists who perform it.  Through the vehicle of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, I hope to offer some functional approaches to improving Jazz Artists’ Health and Wellness (and Life-Style) by what they eat, but more importantly, what they do not eat, and maybe should include in their daily Nutritional regimen.  There is no flaw in the statement, ‘You are what you eat.’, and if you eat well, your longevity, creativity, and focus will also be enhanced.  Bon Apetit!!

Kevin S. McPherson-El was born and raised in North Philadelphia, is a Certified Reflexologist and Certified Holistic Health Counselor. He can be reached through his website: Healing Mother Spirit


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PJP Travel Aid:


Saxophonist and poet, Elliott Levin is the recipient of the first PJP Travel Aid award. It is only fitting, due to his role in the creation of this award. He approached PJP last year for support to travel to Mexico for a festival. We had nothing in place, but recognized the importance of travel, particularly, travel initiated by the self-starting, motivated artist, who will make their own opportunities, when possible.


Elliott Levin will travel to Los Angeles, California to participate in a memorial poetry/musical  tribute for Phila/LA poet Chris Peditto, as well as perform at the Grand Star Ballroom; take part in a poetry reading at Battery Books; and participate in a live radio broadcast.


The deadline for this month's Travel Aid award is February 20th.


To assist our local Jazz artists to participate fully in the global cultural marketplace, PJP provides Travel Grants starting in January 2014. This support is particularly designed for first time travelers or younger artists with little or no international experiences, as well as for older artists who have not traveled in a while and find it difficult to get travel support.


This is not for artists who already have opportunities and a track record off performing outside of the region. Students are not eligible. We will give grants up to $1,000, averaging just about one each month to individuals or groups from January until August 2014. Applications must be received on the deadline dates. Decisions will be made on the last day of each month.


There is no official application form. All interested parties should write a brief letter/application answering the following…
    ▪    Name, address, phone and email of individual or group
    ▪    Brief bio of individual or group
    ▪    Brief info about travel opportunities you have had in the last 3-5 years
    ▪    Reason for travel and why you need assistance?
    ▪    When and how are you traveling?
    ▪    Where and when are you performing/presenting?
    ▪    In what city/town, state or country is this place located?
    ▪    What is their website and who is your contact there?
    ▪    How much do you need?

All Travel Aid applications must be sent via email to Applications must be received before 12:00 AM of the deadline dates. No land mail applications will be considered.


For more information, please feel free to contact us at


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Resources & Opportunities:


Upcoming Workshops:

Small Business Skills: Building Confidence, Self-Esteem and Financial Success 
Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:30PM
Central Library | 1901 Vine Street | Philadelphia, PA 19103


Successful entrepreneur, James Chan, will discuss practical skills that enable small business owners and independent professionals to succeed! 


Please register:



The Power of Email Marketing: A Small Business Workshop with Marsha Pearson 
Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 10:15AM
Lovett Branch | 6945 Germantown Avenue | Philadelphia, PA 19119-2189 | 215-685-2095


Email is everywhere – you can’t reach for your phone anymore and not end up “doing your email”. Is the term “eBlast” part of your vocabulary? Should it be? Moreoever, has the game changed in 2014?


Constant Contact, the world’s leader in Email marketing is going to show you why and what you can do about it. Our experts will show you what not to do and why – and include examples of what works – and why! This program is generic: It doesn’t matter what email program you currently use. Come and learn how you can be productive, trusted, and grow your business.



PCA Resources for Individual Artists

The Pennsylvania Council On The Arts' Resources for Individual Artists is a listing of organization that provide support, resources and opportunities to artists regionally and mnationally. To check it out, click here.



French-American Jazz Exchange (FAJE)

The French-American Jazz Exchange (“FAJE”) is a partnership of FACE ("French-American Cultural Exchange") and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the program is designed to foster the creative and professional development of jazz artists from France and the United States through their collaborative investigation of artistic practice and exposure to new audiences, music concepts, and professional relationships.


For More Information:



Jazz Next

Jazz Next is a research and development laboratory to build a more informed and cohesive jazz community, better equipped to meet the challenges of a fast-changing marketplace.


For More Information:


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The stuff McCoy Tyner did was earth-shattering for me. The modal thing, the way he voiced chords in fourths, the way he used the pentatonic scale -- all those things were very new.
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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.