In the first half of the 20th century, Pine Street in Cambridge pulsed to the music of the world's greatest jazz and blues musicians. The neighborhood was then a stop on the "Chitlin' Circuit," the network of nightclubs and theaters traveled by African-American performers during the days of segregation.
Fans from all over the Eastern Shore flocked to Pine Street to see concerts at venues as Greene's Opera House, Green's Savoy, and the Elks Home. There, they danced to the sound of Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and Billy Eckstine. William C. Handy, considered "Father of the Blues," performed here. So did bandleaders Duke Ellington and Noble Sissle and clarinetist Sidney Bechet. Later, Cambridge rocked to the rhythms of Lloyd Price, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Larry Williams, Bill Doggett, and James Brown, among others.
This musical legacy is one chapter in the larger story that makes the Pine Street community a historical treasure. The first free black to move onto Pine Street did so when Thomas Jefferson was president, making this one of Maryland's continuously occupied African-American neighborhoods.
One of the nation's most popular female jazz singers
Big-band leader who helped shape the swing
era in the 1930s and 1940s
Jazz singer and bandleader whose orchestra was a regular at Harlem's Cotton Club in the 1930s
Bandleader and vocalist who influenced modern jazz especially bebop, in the 1940s