Executive Vice President and Director of the Foundation
Phoebe Jacobs served as Executive Vice President and Director of the Foundation. She dedicated her long and distinguished life to jazz and jazz education, and to the workings of LAEF. She was an inspiration to all. Her love for jazz, its meaning and its currency, had been with her since her days working as a seventeen year old hat-check girl at Kelly's Stables, a Manhattan jazz nightclub owned by a relative, Ralph Watkins. She would later go on to work as a promoter and contractor, even serving as Director of Public Relations and Producer of Special Events at the Rainbow Room and Rainbow Grill in NYC, where she was responsible for the appearances of many prominent entertainers, including Benny Goodman, Sarah Vaughan, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
Ms. Jacobs is perhaps best known, however, as publicist for such prominent musicians as Ella Fitzgerald, Sy Oliver, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington and Della Reese. She also worked very closely for many years with Louis Armstrong, for whom she began as a public relations specialist and, in 1969, assisted in organizing the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation according to the great musician's last wishes. She served as executive vice-president of the foundation, which among other things helps finance music education programs for children. These programs range from concerts in public schools and libraries to music therapy programs in the pediatric wards of Beth Israel Hospital. Most illustrative of Louis' design and plan for the foundation is the series of Young People's Concerts under the aegis of Jazz At Lincoln Center, directed by Wynton Marsalis along with the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp in New Orleans.
Ms. Jacobs has made invaluable contributions to Armstrong's living legacy, playing an important role in the establishment of the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College in New York. In 1995, she saw her, Lucille Armstrong and the efforts of many reach fruition when the United States Postal Service released a postal stamp for Mr. Armstrong. She also worked closely with the late Mercer Ellington as well as on the preservation of the world's memory of Duke Ellington.
Indeed, it is Phoebe Jacobs' personal relationship to jazz that fires her commitment to its survival. She was instrumental in establishing New York's original Jazz Museum, the archives of which now reside at the Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture in Harlem. She also cofounded The Jazz Foundation of America, and was a trustee for the Society of Singers.
Phoebe Jacobs's contributions have been recognized in a variety of ways, and among her favorite reminiscences are being asked to accompany Lucille (Mrs. Louis) Armstrong on a 1974 tour that carried memories of Armstrong's music to countries behind the Iron Curtain, and in 1981 accompanying Eubie Blake to an honorary dinner at the White House, given by President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. Through such commitments to sharing her unique education, Phoebe Jacobs has helped assure that vital memories of jazz history and its contributing musicians will always live on.