Recapturing what was lost

Explore The Legacy of the Pythodd

As you’ve seen exploring the history of Jazzchester and experiencing the Spirit of the Pythodd, Rochester has a rich historical connection to jazz. But what has been the legacy of that history? The Rochester International Jazz Festival aims to bring back, if only once each year, the vibrancy of the lost citywide jazz scene. But the Jazz Festival only began in 2002. The earliest attempts at reclaiming the lost magic of the jazz culture of the 50s-70s focused on the Pythodd Club. First there was the Pythodd Reunion Concert which was held for several years in the early 90s.  After a few years the Pythodd Reunion was folded into the Clarissa Street Reunion. The Reunion is not a jazz festival. Its mission is to reunite the Clarissa Street community which is about much more than the Pythodd and jazz. But music does play an integral part of the reunion and the Pythodd is never far from mind. Finally, in recent years, there was an attempt to revive the Pythodd in Charlotte. While short lived, the attempt underscores how important the legacy of the club remains.

What was it about the Pythodd that inspires so much longing? It could be because the Pythodd was among the last standing Rochester jazz rooms. In the early 1970’s the Pythodd had a mostly unchallenged position as Rochester’s premier jazz room. But that is just speculation. It may be impossible to ever definitively say why. In this section we haven’t tried to settle this question. We have only tried to present the available facts of these events. Each page has a comment section (the timeline has comments at the bottom) where we hope that community members will provide insight on the truth of what made the Pythodd so special, what it meant to lose it, and what drove attempts to recapture the Spirit of the Pythodd and the vibrancy of Jazzchester.

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3 years ago

I decided to use this as a source for a research paper I am writing for my English class focusing on the topic on Rochester Great Migration And Redlining. I find this digital exhibit to be very interesting!

james pappas
james pappas
3 years ago

The Pythodd was the true experience of listening to the greatest Jazz ever played. We grew up with the music which is Americas music or what was called by Frank Foster ,”Black Classical Music”. I had the honor being his office mate at the University at Buffalo. We knew we were hearing something special. I have photographs of Ron, Pewee, Gap, and Chuckie,Roy, and a few others who played the Pythod . These were my greatest memories growing up as a teen in the 1950’s. This would be my education as I began teaching later at UB. I used this… Read more »

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