Philadelphia Clef Club

Trumpeter Arnetta Johnson

Philadelphia Clef Club and ALL THAT JAZZ!

Chris Jazz Café and the Philadelphia Clef Club team up for the benefit of Philly jazz.

Between Sansom Street’s intimate Chris Jazz Café and Broad Street’s towering Clef Club of Philadelphia, there’s a whole lot of local historic jazz water flowing wildly under this bridge. If we just mention how the late legendary South Philly jazz guitarist made Chris’ his live home away from home when he played concerts, and how South West Philly’s Jamaladeen Tacuma made the Clef Club future forward and out of bounds with his annual Outsiders Jazz Festival, that would be worth the price of admission. But countless jazz giants – locally grown, national and internationally beloved – have made both live Philly locations their own. 

Now, between the ravages of Covid and the still-continuing Omicron variant – to say nothing of the fact that the adventurous jazz genre, even at its most mainstream, is not a billion-dollar proposition – the Clef Club could use some help, and Chris (which has gone through its own headaches during Covid) is there to answer the call. 

Philadelphia Clef Club Chris Jazz Café
Jamaladeen Tacuma

“Partnering to benefit the future of young artists and to help keep this genre alive,” as goes its press legend Chris’ Jazz Café will host an unprecedented fundraiser on Thursday, January 13 from 7 to 11 benefit the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts (PCC). The fundraiser, in the form of a live and live streamed show, presents alumni of the Clef Club who have become musical luminaries and internationally acclaimed artists in their field. 100% of funds raised will be donated to the Clef Club to help its mission of preserving the legacy of jazz through accessible education.

Saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins told me a few weeks ago that no matter where he travels or lives (currently Brooklyn) the Upper Darby native will always think of Philly as his home. “Everything I do stems from me having come from Philly,” said Wilkins.

Wilkins and his outfit will be joined by Orrin Evans (Piano), Jaleel Shaw (Saxophone), Daud El Bakara (Trumpet), Micha Graves (Piano), Kyree Rasheed (Drums), Bobby Zankel (Saxophone) Monnette Sudler (Guitar), Justin Faulkner (Drums), Arnetta Johnson (Trumpet), Nasir Dickerson (Saxophone), Brent White (Trombone) and more. The benefit is $25 per person. Tickets can be purchased here.

Philadelphia Clef Club Chris Jazz Café
Immanuel Wilkins

“The Clef Club is such an integral part of Philadelphia’s jazz community,” stated Chris’ owning chef Mark DeNino in a statement. “They’re nurturing the young talent that keeps the music alive, plus many of their students eventually make their way to our stage. We feel that it is one of the most important ways that we can contribute to this ongoing process of keeping jazz relevant in Philadelphia.”

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