Upstairs Jazz was born in 1983, a jazz lover’s dream come true! Friends and family helped make it happen. It was conceived by Reg (my husband at the time and father of our child) and me and some good friends, as an after-hours jazz club at Broad and Locust on the 2nd floor (upstairs) in the Natural Foods Eatery, a health-food restaurant which was open only during the day.
Floor-to-ceiling glass windows wrapped around the room, offering great views of the sometimes wild and crazy night life on the street. On Friday and Saturday nights (10:30 pm-2:00 am) jazz fans gathered for cool drinks and conversation, delicious snacks, and beautiful music. Our bartender, Roberto Reggio (a fine jazz drummer), was also the wonderful pre-school teacher of my talented five-year-old daughter, Amber, at St. Mary’s Nursery School. Amber loved coming with us to the club where she enjoyed staying up past her bedtime, eating chocolate mousse and helping Roberto wash (and play) glasses behind the bar, while the music hummed around their heads.
Upstairs Jazz vibrated with the distinctive sounds of many of Philly’s greatest jazz musicians who played late into the night, echoing the rhythm of the streets, until 1985 when Upstairs Jazz closed its doors. The list of musicians (too long to mention here) who played at Upstairs Jazz included jazz legends Philly Joe Jones, Monette Sudler, The Heath Allen Trio, Alfie Pollitt, Rufus Harley, Steve Giordano, Posmontier Brothers, Tyrone Brown, Bootsie Barnes, Hideo Tonooka, Lenny Seidman & the Shamanistics, Darryl Washington and Minas. What a place! What a time! What a groove!!
The logo pictured was created by Philly artist Christine Penrose.