Philadelphia Cartoonist Society Pages

Friday, April 8, 2011

We miss Philly Jazz!!!!!

Crowd Pleasers cartoon by Andrew Hart

Howard Candie oil painting by Andrew Hart

Cliff Lamar oil painting by Andrew Hart

Nate Wiley oil painting by Andrew Hart

Andrew Hart (PCS Cofounder whose cartoon and paintings appear above) called me tonight from Bob & Barbara's (15th & South), a place that was very much at one time the official club house of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society. Sadly, living the grown-up lives that most of us are reluctantly leading, we don't get out there weekly like we once did as young, hungry cartoonists. We still manage to get in there at least once a month, and the staff and regulars still know us and treat us swell. But some nights I miss the old haunts. I miss Nate Wiley and Cliff Lamar especially. Several PCS members had the honor of being pallbearers at Nate Wiley's funeral.

Before we adopted Bob & Barbara's as our club house, we'd frequent a bunch of other clubs. So tonight I dug out a couple documents from the jazz haunts that me, Andrew and some of the PCS folks used to hit up in the early days of the group. Although it was high end, if someone like Freddy Cole, Andy Bey, or Ahmad Jamal was coming to Philly, it was worth forking out the dough to go to Zanzibar Blue on Broad Street. I think it's some kind of sports bar these days. But a short few years ago, it was a great place to see out of town big names in a closed-in setting. I did the pencils and inks of this drawing in a small sketchbook at Zanzibar when Andrew and I saw Ahmad Jamal there in 1998. I did the colors later at home in marker. Ahmad made that piano sound like an orchestra.
I did the flier below for the also sorely-missed Ortlieb's Jazz Haus. When Pete Souders ran Ortlieb's, I heard some of the best jazz Philly had to offer: Bootsie Barnes, Shirley Scott, Mickey Roker, Sid Simmons, Roger Prieto, the list goes on and on. We'd go to Ortlieb's a lot. It was a great hang with great music, good food. If you knew Ortlieb's, you can probably tell that the cat in this drawing is based on haus band bass player Mike Boone and you'll recognize the water buffalo from the taxidermy that hung over the bar.
Although I am told there are a handful of good jazz clubs around the city, I really miss these places. They were a significant part of the group's history. If anyone has any advice on good Philly jazz clubs where it's affordable and comfortable to draw, let us know. It's good to switch up the scene from time to time.


  1. Is Chris's Jazz Cafe still around? Or is that spot gone too?

  2. It's still around. Last time I went there, that place was kinda costly. But It's still less than Zanzibar was I guess.

  3. Hi Guys,

    Love your work and I'd love to see more. Can I repost this on my Jazz Bridge blog? Mike Boone will flip when he sees the Ortliebs' poster!

    Let me know! And yes, Chris' is still going strong...check out La Rose Catering in Germantown and Grey's Lounge on Chestnut street.

    Suzanne Cloud
    jazz vocalist and exec. dir. of Jazz Bridge

  4. Sure, Suzanne. Mike Boone is the man. Tell him I said Hi. I have a whole bunch of Boone sketches. Thanx for the tips on jazz places.