Friday, December 26, 2014

Jazz goes silent at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus

Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, the club with a tiny stage where the Philadelphia jazz elite played, closed Sunday night after 23 years.

Jazz goes silent at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus

It had been one of Philadelphia's cozy hideaways, the former lunchroom of a bygone brewery at Third near Poplar, where the jazz was cool and the food was hot for more than two decades.

Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, the club with a tiny stage where the Philadelphia jazz elite played, closed Sunday night after 23 years.

"It was very nice," said Bob Perkins, host of the BP with the GM, jazz show on WRTI 90.1-FM.. "Good food and a great jazz club."

Perkins said the bar and restaurant in the former Ortlieb's Brewery, was "the typical smoke-filled jazz club. ... That's not a disparaging remark. That's a compliment."

He recalled that the late Philadelphia jazz organ great, Shirley Scott, led the house band with Mickey Roker on drums in the early years.

"Shirley Scott gave the club a boost," Perkins said. "She was featured there in the early days of the club ... and that helped the club get on its feet. I think she was there for three, four or five years. When she left the club still prospered."

The first owner of the club, Pete Souder, was a multi-instrumentalist who often sat in with the house band or whoever was performing, Perkins said.

"Pete was a horn man," Perkins said. "He played all the saxes, tenor, baritone, and he had all the saxes lined up on the bandstand. He augmented the group. They had nationally known and internationally known people stop by and sit in."

About this blog

Kia Gregory is a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She's a proud native of the city and an alumna of Temple University. Contact Kia by e-mail by clicking here, or by phone at 215-854-2601.


Vernon Clark, a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has reported extensively neighborhood issues in North and Northwest Philadelphia. Vernon has also been an editor for the Inquirer and has worked as an editor and writer at the Boston Globe and Akron Beacon Journal. Contact Vernon by e-mail by clicking here, or by phone at 215-854-5717.

Kia Gregory & Vernon Clark
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