May 4, 2016 |
As the owner of Chris' Jazz Cafe for the last 15 years of the club's 25-year history, Mark DeNinno looks back fondly at the young musicians who got their start on the stage at Chris' and went on to become jazz superstars - names like guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Ari Hoenig. In his other role as chef, DeNinno's memories also extend to the meals he's made them. For Hoenig's regular returns to the club, DeNinno says, it's always crab cakes, unless crawfish are in season. Pianist Helen Sung loves lamb Bolognese.
April 7, 2016 |
Anyone who has ever braved the stage at a jazz jam session is undoubtedly familiar with The Real Book , an exhaustive, spiral-bound collection of lead sheets for jazz tunes. Originally handwritten, copied, and bootlegged, though more recently issued in official form, the book became the holy text for aspiring jazz musicians, a Rosetta Stone for the most-often-played standards. Noticing his own well-worn copy sitting alongside a stack of his own, much-less-used compositions, pianist David Dzubinski was struck by a notion: Why not assemble a Real Book for Philly-area composers?
December 1, 2015 |
Saturday night at Chris' Jazz Café, guitarist Pat Martino leaned into his set-opening solo on Wes Montgomery's "Full House" as if he and his quintet had been playing at full rage for two hours already. Epochal is too small a word. Minute after minute, Martino, 71, explored a universe of expressive treasures, playing loud, taking it down, bringing it back up, with melody, wit, delicacy, precision, and wisdom. Not only is it physically forbidding to play as he does, it also takes a deep soul, years of living, of playing, imagining, understanding.
April 25, 2014 |
Pat Martino, eminent jazz guitarist, was at the height of a successful career in 1980 when he suffered a near-fatal aneurysm. In its wake came amnesia that left him unable to play the guitar. With the support of his family, he struggled with the aftermath. That struggle is one of many reasons Martino has such a strong connection with the local nonprofit Jazz Bridge. Martino headlines Jazz Bridge's 10th anniversary fund-raiser Friday night at Rosemont's New Leaf Club. For the last decade, Jazz Bridge, cofounded by singers Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon Sinkler, has offered health, legal, financial, and professional assistance to blues and jazz musicians in times of personal crisis.
October 16, 2013 |
While John Coltrane's influence is pervasive in the last half-century of jazz history, only tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders could be considered a Coltrane apostle. Sanders was a member of the saxophonist's band during the last two years of Coltrane's life as he pushed into the furthest reaches of the avant-garde, and Sanders continued making his own music in a similar vein, combining explosive freedom and spiritual purpose. Leading a quartet at Montgomery County Community College on Saturday, the night before his 73d birthday, Sanders continued to carry the torch for his mentor, with more than half the set consisting of pieces composed by or associated with Coltrane.
October 1, 2013 |
Showy novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "there are no second acts in American lives. " It's a shame, then, that Mr. Fitzgerald didn't have the opportunity to hear and see Philadelphia post-bop guitar master Pat Martino gigging at Chris' Jazz Cafe Saturday night. Martino's is a second act better than his first, and that initial one was pretty impressive. Emerging in the 1960s as jazz's most expressively rapid-fire six-string-slinger, Martino, 69, made his mark in his teens as the go-to guitarist for Philly/Jersey organ-grinding greats Richard "Groove" Holmes, Don Patterson, and Jimmy McGriff before leading his own awe-inspiring sessions.
March 15, 2013
Friday-Saturday Guitar man Deft and dapper guitarist Pat Martino joins standout tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander for a two-night, four-set stint at Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. Admission: $35 early, $30 late. Times: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Information: 215-568-3131. Friday-Sunday Music over guns Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis based their musical Fela! on the life of Afrobeat singer Fela Kuti in the late 1970s, when Nigeria's military dictator sent soldiers to attack the performer's Lagos home and nightclub.
December 10, 2012
Anat Cohen , Claroscuro (Anzic Records). As jazz goes more international, it is only proper that a Tel Aviv-born clarinetist based in New York should play music from Brazil, France, Cuba, and South Africa, with some New Orleans sass thrown in. Only Anat Cohen, a master storyteller on reeds, can pull it off like this. Chick Corea / Eddie Gomez / Paul Motian , Further Explorations (Concord Jazz). This double-CD collection is a sonic feast. Pianist Chick Corea is wickedly formidable, whether teasing out a classic bop tune or waxing all cosmic.
April 14, 2012 |
Music Pat Martino. Chris' Jazz Cafe offers one of our hometown's own black-and-blue soulful greats, South Philly guitarist Pat Martino, and his crew. It's been a banner year for the quiet, peaceful six-stringer. He's not only penned a new book, Here and Now! The Autobiography of Pat Martino (written with jazz scribe Bill Milkowski), but also released his first new album in five years, the live and vibrant Undeniable. Make it a (Jazz) day. — A.D. Amorosi Pat Martino & His Quartet Featuring Eric Alexander play at 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday at Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. Tickets: $35, $30. Information: 215-568-3131, www.chrisjazzcafe.com.
April 13, 2012
Jill Barber She's better known in her native Canada than here, but Jill Barber seems poised to change that. From the beehive hairdo to the elegant but unfussy string- and horn-kissed arrangements behind her, the singer exudes a stylish vintage aura, roughly spanning the '40s to the early '60s. But as evidenced by her new album Mischievous Moon , Barber's music is not encased in amber. She wrote or cowrote all 11 of the songs, and they range from torchy supper-club ballads to numbers with echoes of doo-wop and gospel.