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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2010 Archives > May 2010 > Funding For Colored Musicians Club

Funding For Colored Musicians Club

Contact: Peter K. Cutler

Nation’s Oldest African American Musicians’ Club Receives Key Funding for Jazz Museum

Mayor Bryon W. Brown today thanked Erie County Executive Chris Collins and Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams for matching the Mayor’s initial $300,000 grant to the Colored Musicians Club, Inc. of Buffalo for the Club’s goal of establishing a local museum commemorating their organization’s work and history. The Mayor made the initial $300,000 contribution to the Club’s museum project in November 2009.

“I thank my colleagues Erie County Executive Chris Collins and Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams for coming together to provide this vitally important funding to one of the City of Buffalo’s great cultural and historical institutions, the Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “This funding, combined with the city’s contribution of $300,000 will support the exciting creation of the Club’s new museum, which will tell the story of this remarkable institution that played host to our nation’s greatest musicians and entertainers. The Colored Musicians Club Museum will be one of our city’s great cultural and tourism destinations helping to anchor the Michigan Avenue Cultural Corridor.”

The Club, which has been a mainstay in the world of jazz since its inception, has embarked on an ambitious program to transform the first floor of its building into a jazz museum. This museum will tell the history of many of Western New York’s musical giants.

“Erie County has an abundance of African American history, and the Colored Musicians Club is an incredible community asset,” said Erie County Executive Chris Collins.  “The jazz greats who have performed at the Colored Musicians Club are some of the giants of American music, and the Club’s new museum will tell the compelling story of how Buffalo helped shape the history of jazz music in this country.  The museum will be a highlight of the growing African American history corridor in Buffalo and an impressive destination for locals and tourists alike.”

The Mayor’s initial $300,000 in funding provided one third of the estimated cost of the new museum’s build out; the County’s investment provides key additional funding toward that goal.  The Colored Musicians Club expects its museum to be a major draw for cultural tourism, as it will provide visitors the opportunity for unique musical and historical experiences.  Hadley Exhibits, Inc. of Buffalo will oversee the museum’s construction.

"I am pleased to join with fellow members of the Erie County Legislature, members of our State delegation, the County Executive, the Mayor, the Colored Musicians Club Board Members, private foundations and community residents to announce the funding of this exciting project,” said Erie County Legislature Chair Barbara Miller-Williams (D-Buffalo, 3rd District).   “The Colored Musicians Jazz Museum will be an invaluable addition to the Michigan Avenue Cultural Corridor standing alongside other attractions such as the Nash House and the Michigan Street Baptist Church that each serve to showcase our rich cultural heritage." 

The Colored Musicians Club, located at 145 Broadway Street, is the nation’s oldest African American musicians club, and was formed by Buffalo local 533 in 1935.  In 1979, the Club was granted historical landmark status, and in 1999 it was designated a historical preservation site. Throughout the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s, this very club was host to such world renowned musical legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald.

“I’m pleased to see such progress here at the home of Buffalo’s Colored Musicians Club,” said Mayor Brown.  “The club’s rich history is one which deserves preservation and remembrance.  Buffalo’s Colored Musicians Club is the nation’s oldest African American musicians club, and this museum will help showcase the historical significance this organization has had on music both locally and internationally.”

The Colored Musicians Club, Inc. of Buffalo is a 501©3 not-for-profit foundation, and is dedicated to research on the history of jazz in Buffalo, jazz preservation, education and free music lessons for children in the community.