It wasn’t too long ago–April 27, 2010, to be exact– that Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus, among the premier jazz clubs in Philadelphia and in the nation, closed for business after almost 24 years of operation.

What a place it was, and seemingly every local and national player–including such regulars as Shirley Scott, Butch Ballard and Mickey Roker–played at the joint. The Sunday afternoon jam session, under the direction of trumpeter Roger Prieto, was justly legendary.

Say what you want about Peter Souders–who owned, booked and blew tenor sax at the place until new owners took over just four years before the place closed, he kept it going for a long time, and it wasn’t always easy.

Orlieb’s, now to be called “Ortlieb’s Lounge” will be reopening again in Philadelphia shortly, though without much of the jazz that put it on the map. The new owners, “Four Corners Management,” Six nights of the week, Ortlieb’s patrons can see and hear some really innovative entertainment: how about an open mike night, open mike comedy night and a couple of DJs? Wow! I’m getting my tickets now.

As a bow toward tradition, the new space will have a jazz jam under the aegis of drummer Roker and Souders. Unfortunately, the choice of Tuesday was and is an unfortunate and cruel one, and I won’t say who I suspect is at fault.

The Ortlieb’s jazz jam is directly scheduled against Philadelphia’s long-running–how about over 20 years?–jazz session at Center City’s 23rd Street Cafe’. Why would another club want to try to cut in, compete with and attempt to diminish the audience size of a certifiable instituion? Cruelty, perhaps?

Does anyone out there–especially Souders, who knows better–realize that the jazz community is small enough as it is, and that attempting to make the community of audiences and players even small than it already is makes no sense.

Come on, Pete. You’ve got six other days of the week to do this. Shame on you, man.

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