Al Downing Jazz
Number represents reach distance in miles from city
St. Petersburg 25 Tampa 35
Al Downing Jazz was originally chartered on July 3, 1973 as The Allegro Music Society. Its founder, Major Alvin J. “Al” Downing, a decorated member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, had returned to civilian life after more than 20 years of military service, eventually accepting a position as a Professor at St. Petersburg Junior College. Inspired by his daughter Evelyn, who was a talented vocalist, Al was seeking ways to help young people have an opportunity to learn about and perform jazz without having to go to bars or clubs. He was also passionate about offering elevated opportunities for professional “jazzmen” to continue their professional careers by ensuring the art form of jazz music would thrive on the Gulf Coast. Allegro began with 56 members that year and quickly set to work building jazz-focused concert and education programming, including a scholarship program to benefit area youth inspired to study jazz performance and education.
Year established: 1971
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