Today, as gentrification takes hold and people long for authentic experiences of the neighborhood’s past, only one organization is laser focused on keeping the jazz tradition alive and infusing it into the next generations of young people: the Society for Creative Art and Talent (S.C.A.T.).
Founded in 1986 by former members of the Local 589 African American Musicians Union-all of whom were master musicians or passionate jazz advocates- S.C.A.T. advocates for musicians’ economic interests and passes down the traditions of jazz musicians who learned their craft on the Near East Side. Today, S.C.A.T. continues its founders’ legacy through regular performances of the Long Street Project band, as well as educational and historical preservation initiatives.
S.C.A.T. has sustained this critical work for more than 30 years through a modest income earned from performances and the generosity of individuals close to the organization. But as popular enthusiasm for jazz wanes and its champions grow older, public and private support is increasingly vital.