I don’t look for much in a jazz cafe—a stiff drink, a solid menu and, hopefully, good music. But at Chris’ Jazz Cafe, when I had to clarify that my Negroni needn’t have salt on the rim—and when it arrived watery, with a few bobbing ice cubes and no garnish—I realized this place was, still, only about the music. New chef Laurent Leseur’s menu ranges from Asian spring rolls to escargot and frog legs to pasta primavera to jambalaya to a four-course chef’s tasting that I, unfortunately, took a chance on. A dry field greens salad was a bed for chewy confit chicken gizzards, topped with a knob of foie butter that made no sense. My “boneless” frog legs came bone-in, with nothing resembling the promised potato-stuffed choux pastry. The duck parmentier’s salt seared my tongue; the dish was crowned by mashed potatoes browned and piped in the 1970s. This city is crying for a good jazz cafe, but with its dated food, nonsensical menu and I-can’t-believe-there-are-still-teal-tablecloths, Chris’ just ain’t it.
Chris’ Jazz Cafe [Foobooz]
First appeared in the March, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Remember the South Philadelphia house that blew up recently? No, not that one. This one.
The man whose house blew up was Ron Talton, a manager at Chris’ Jazz Cafe on Sansom Street, and on Thursday night, Chris’ is holding a benefit to help him out. Some of Philly’s best jazz musicians are coming out for it, and all of the proceeds ($10 suggested donation) go to helping Talton get his life back in order.
But what you really need to know about Ron Talton is that he used to be a professional singer in Germany, and in 1994, he starred in this semi-NSFW music video for his song, "Tie U Up." And it is... amazing.
I'm pretty sure the lyrics go something like: "I would usually use my hammer, but with you, I've got the wood... I'm gonna tie you up, funk it down, hit you with my two-by-four..."
Enjoy this totally 1994 flashback to 1994. I don't know whether to say, "You're welcome" or "I'm sorry."
Guitarist Mary Halvorson performs with Thumbscrew on April 19 at Fergie’s Pub.
Center City Jazz Festival just released the lineup for its third annual event, taking place April 19th and featuring a full roster of local and internationally known jazz musicians. Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with 16 acts in six hours, all within walking distance for convenient show-hopping. Festival standouts include avant-garde guitarist Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara and Miss Ida Blue, among other established and rising musicians.
See the full schedule after the jump