Posts Tagged ‘philadelphia’

A Stellar and Swinging Jazz Bridge Lineup for 2012-2013

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

The 2012-2013 Jazz Bridge schedule of performances for this year and next promises to be among the most exciting in its history, featuring a stellar array of creative, innovative, incredibly talented—and yes, swinging—jazz artists from virtually every genre’.

For further information on the performers, show times, ticket prices and other pertinent details, visit the Jazz Bridge web site at, Jazz Bridge’s Facebook pages, and/or the Facebook pages of yours truly.

Concerts for Collingswood 2012-2013
Shows at Collingwood Community Center
30 Collings Avenue (next to firehouse)
Media, PA

October 4th- Rhenda Fearrington
November 1st- Dan Fogel
December 5th – Sam Reed
January 3rd – Denis DiBlasio
February 7th – Fred Adams Philadelphia Heritage Art Ensemble
March 7th Bob Pollit Quartet
April 4th- Gloria Galante
May 2nd- Barbara Montogomery

Concerts for Media
Shows at Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County

145 West Rose Tree Road, Media, PA
October 17th – Michael Andrews
November 21st- Francois Zayas
December 19th- Father John D’Amico
January 16th- Luke Carlos O’ Reilly
February 20 Marc Adler
March 20 Dave Posmontier
April 17 Tony Miceli and Diane Munro
May 15 Pearl Williams

Concerts for the Arch Street Friends
Shows at Arch Street Friends Meeting House
4th and Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA

October 18th-Jim Ridl/Terrell Stafford (confirmed)
November 15th- Ella Gahnt (confirmed)
December 20th – Bobby Zankel (confirmed)
January 17th- Larry McKenna (confirmed)
February 21st-Tom Lawton
March 21st- Alan Nelson (confirmed)
April 18th-
May 16th- Kevin Valentine (confirmed)

Concerts for Cheltenham
Shows at Cheltenham Center for the Arts
439 Ashbourne Road
Cheltenham, PA

October 3rd– Leon Jordan
November 7th– Tony Williams
December 5th– Jill Salkin
January 2nd- Ed Wise and his New Orleans Jazz Band
February 6th-Paula Johns
March 6th- Nimrod Speaks
April 3rd Denise Montana
May 1st – Kitty Mayo

Concerts for Kennett Square
Shows at Kennett Flash
102 Sycamore Alley Kennett Square, PA

October 3rd– Lee Smith
November 7th – Terri Kleinfelter
December 5th– Tyrone Brown
January 2nd- Dave Wilson
February 6th- Mary Lou Newnam
March 6th- Hot Club of Philadelphia
April 3rd – Eddie Jones
May 1st – Sherri Butler


Friday, April 13th, 2012

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.

Al Martino: Last of the Italian Troubadors

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Singer Al Martino, probably the last of still-working, Italian troubadours with wide, hit-making appeal, died on October 13 at his home in suburban Philadelphia. Martino’s death, at the age of 82, was a shock to his family and friends, as there was no inkling of illness. Indeed, he was still working and sounding great and booked well into the next year.

The only living, Italian-American singers of a similar, stylistic mode who could rival Martino in terms of numbers of records sold—Martino recorded chart-toppers from the early 1950s through the 1970s—are Jimmy Roselli, now 84; Jerry Vale, now 79; and Vic Damone, now 81. All are retired.

Born Alfred Cini in South Philadelphia, he first worked as bricklayer in his father’s masonry business. Young Al loved listening to singers like Perry Como, Al Jolson, and especially his neighborhood pal, Mario Lanza. After World War II service—he was wounded in the Iwo Jima invasion—he decided on a singing career, changed his name to Al Martino, moved to New York city, and in 1948, garnered a television appearance on tremendously influential “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” television show.

As a result of his first place win on the Godfrey show, he recorded a song entitled “Here in my Heart” for small Philadelphia record label. Despite the size of the record company, that single ultimately became a number one hit, first in England and then stateside. He signed with Capital Records in 1953. Although he had many hits through the years, including “I Love You Because,” “Volare,” “Spanish Eyes” and the famed “Love Theme from the Godfather” (“Speak Softly Love”), Martino’s career floundered several times over the years, rumored to be a result of mob ties.

His first reported “problem,” repeated in the official Martino biography, was in the mid-1950s, when his contract was said to have been taken over by a “connected” manager, and the singer was ordered to pay $75,000 in “protection” money. Martino high-tailed it to England, where he appeared regularly, but he had next to no visibility in the states until 1958, when a friend intervened on Martino’s behalf. The friend, never named, must have been quite influential.

Then there was the controversy involving Martino’s role as singer Johnny Fontane in all three “Godfather” films. Writer Mario Puzo’s Johnny Fontane character was said to be loosely based on that of Frank Sinatra during the early 1950s period when Sinatra was down on his luck and needed a break. Old Blue Eyes got his break, according to the “Godfather” novel, with mob help. It was said that Sinatra was not thrilled with the character of Johnny Fontane. Other “insiders” claim the book and the films were among Sinatra’s favorites.

Several non-acting singers, including Vic Damone, who was ready to take the role and actually secured Sinatra’s blessing, were offered the Fontane role—even Sinatra himself was said to have been approached—but Martino ultimately got the part. It is not known for certain whether or not Martino went to Mr. S. for his “official sanction,” but the singing career of Al Martino and the quality of the dates he was offered mysteriously suffered after the release of “The Godfather.” There aren’t many in showbiz still around who know exactly what happened. Those who do know have nothing to say.

Martino again turned to overseas audiences. Until the end, he was particularly beloved in England and Germany. His final date was on October 3, at a Staten Island tribute to his boyhood friend and inspiration, Mario Lanza.

Like Jerry Vale and Jimmy Roselli, Martino received some early, classical training, though Martino’s voice could be termed the most “operatic.” All three, in their heyday, had substantial lung power. More importantly, they were true stylists with a passion and, yes, schmaltz, that died with Frank Sinatra.

No matter what their ethnic background, millions of listeners became misty-eyed listening to Martino sing “Here in my Heart” or Vale crooning “Al Di La” through the years. Perhaps those songs and those artists reminded all of us of a simpler and happier time.

Al Martino did, successfully and sincerely, for six decades.


Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

After six months of living in the relative paradise of Naples, FL, adjustment to being in big city Philadelphia has been rather difficult. The good news is that just as I have almost adjusted to Philadelphia, Joy Adams and I will be returning to Naples on July 15th. No, we won’t be there for six months, but will be taking advantage of the inexpensive air fares from Philadelphia to Fort Myers, and spending, perhaps, a month here and a month there. If playing opportunities existed for me in Philadelphia, my attitude might have been different. However, there are no playing opportunities for me in Philadelphia and there are several in Naples, FL. Don’t ask me why.

Some seasons back, we were asked to remove one of our most popular and important CD titles from the catalog. This was and is called “The Drums by Jo Jones.” For those of you who did not obtain it, this historic document was actually a two-LP set cut in Europe in the mid-1970s. Papa Jo spoke of the drumming legends he knew, demonstrated percussion styles, tributes, rudiments, how to use the drum set’s components, and much more.

After a few months of offering this for sale—and by the way, the original LP was given to me as a gift by the great organist/pianist/arranger Milt Buckner—we started receiving calls from various record labels, manufacturers and distributors from France and England who claimed they owned the rights to this project and that they were looking for a proper and wide distribution deal in the states. We almost had a distribution deal with Hudson Music in New York, but the people supposedly in charge of the Jones project were asking for far too much money (that we wish we had). The deal fell through, and shortly after, we were sent a cease and desist letter, saying that if we didn’t remove “The Drums by Jo Jones” from our catalog, there would be legal ramifications.

Despite the fact that other outfits were selling this, we removed it. We’re in the music education business here, not the legal ramifications business. The saddest thing of all is that, even though “The Drums by Jo Jones” is supposedly available in a deluxe, CD edition via the French people who first produced it, the project is almost impossible to find anywhere. That’s sad, as all we ever wanted to do was make this available.

The good news is that we have acquired a series of ultra-rare and quite unbelievable European footage of the one and only “Papa” Jo Jones, in mini-concerts with Illinois Jacquet and Milt Bucker. “Jo Jones in Europe,” which we offer on DVD (and VHS for those who want it that way) is top-quality audio and color film from the early 1970s that features almost an hour of Jo Jones as the superb soloist and accompanist he was. Footage of Jo, as you’re aware, is very, very rare, so this is a must have. Bonus footage on this DVD is a mini-concert, featuring another great drummer (and this may be the only film footage that exists of him) by the name of J.C. Heard. J.C. backs a great little band that features Doc Cheatham and Sammy Price, among others.

When “The World of Gene Krupa” book was first published some 17 years ago, most of the other jazz books on the market were, mainly, the same titles that had been on the library shelves under “jazz” for the past 20 years. Things have thankfully changed since then and these days, it seems that almost every jazz player of note has an autobiography on the market, to say nothing of histories, compendiums of a writers’ works (Dan Morgenstern, Stanley Crouch, Andre Hodier, Gary Giddins, and Frances Davis among them) and works on vintage instruments. Most are well worth reading, and some of the newer titles include bios of Wayne Shorter, Al Haig, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Paul Desmond, Lennie Tristano, Tommy Dorsey, and a bunch of titles on Miles Davis (pass by the one written by his son); a big band history from Hal Leonard Publishing written by Dr. William F. Lee; a history, believe it or not, of the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks; a book on vintage metal/engraved snare drums also published by Leonard, histories of Impulse Records and The Village Vanguard; photo books from Lee Tanner and others; and auto bios by Horace Silver , Arturo Sandoval, and George Shearing. The list is by no means all-inclusive. What the jazz book market needs, in one opinion, is an unbiased, detailed history of the life and music of Buddy Rich. The book written by Mel Torme’, rest his soul, was more of a personal remembrance as was the odd duck of a work called “The Torment of Buddy Rich.” Doug Meriwether has no equal as a Buddy discographer, but a discography is only a small part of the Buddy Rich story. Steve Peck has dozens of one-of-a-kind Buddy photos, and dozens of those who new and loved BR are still around. I will say it here and on the record that if Cathy Rich and family will allow me to bury the hatchet where Buddy is concerned, I will do everything in my power to help get a book off the ground.

We recently told you about the wonderful the new drum magazine, “Traps.” There is another jazz magazine that’s hit the stores recently, and it’s a good one. “Jazzed,” published six times per year, is devoted to the large, and most significant area of jazz education. To our knowledge, only the IAJE Journal has been solely devoted to the education area. “Jazzed” is most welcome, and for subscription information, log onto

Our Krupa “The Great Concert” CD, recorded in 1966, is one of the best we’ve heard in terms of music and sound quality. In addition to being available on, it is also out there on It’s so good, we want everyone to know about it.

Michael Berkowitz and the New Gene Krupa Orchestra have a new CD coming out shortly. This is the best Krupa tribute band (and one of the best big bands, period) that we’ve heard. Watch this space for more news.

We’ve had many, many requests and queries about the status of the new Krupa model drum stick. We do have, after long months of negotiations and waiting, an agreement from the Estate, but we are just waiting on the acceptance of a few modifications of said agreement. Believe us, this is going to happen.

You may recall that I was pretty knocked out by the performance of Steve March Torme’, Mel’s son, at The Philharmonic in Naples, FL, earlier this year. Steve’s management has posted my review on the home page of his web site. For those who missed it, check it out, especially those who are booking theatres and arts centers around the country. Steve gives one of the best performances of any kind…and he sells out.

Keep swingin’

Bruce Klauber

June, 2007