The return of raconteur/provocateur/author Bruce Klauber to Philly’s jazz scene in the last six months has truly been something to crow about. The drummer sailed smoothly through the ’80s and ’90s with the gusto of a Gene Krupa (the big-band leader has been a subject of Klauber’s books and DVDs), but his health and business got wonky in 2008. Through the auspices of Philly’s Jazz Bridge organization, Klauber got a spiritual, physical and financial leg up, and now is back on his feet and better than ever. How much better? He’s starting this city’s first regular all-jazz, only-jazz column in the March issue of ICON. Not since Nels Robert Nelson wrote his last jazz column for the Daily News in November 1996 (eight months before his death at the age of 73) has Philly jazz seen such devotion in print. “As a jazz musician and a writer, I know that one of the community’s complaints has been the lack of regular media coverage,” says Klauber. “I have the chance to try to do something about it, with coverage of the players, the presenters, the recordings, the academic scene, the jam sessions and yes, sometimes the issues.” Klauber’s the mouth that roared, so Philly jazz: Prepare for an earful.
Live Nation’s Michael Lessner is used to sell outs. Still, he was amazed and thrilled when his daughter Raquel Lessner hit the Today Show last week to show off new goods and designs from her Strut-This activewear line. “Her site crashed almost immediately from all the activity,” said the proud papa, recalling that the youngest members of the Kardashian clan tweeted about Strut-This’ stuff last year.
Speaking of Live Nation, now that Jay-Z has paired up with Justin Timberlake for the Legends of the Summer stadium tour with local dates at Hersheypark Stadium (Aug. 4) and Citizens Bank Park (Aug. 13), what will become of Hova’s Made in America 2? The first one took over the Parkway last year at the end of August, and plans were being made for a second round in town in 2013. What’s up? No word yet from H-to-the-Izzo’s peeps at RocNation.
Birra on East Passyunk is going to have to do without one of its chefs during a busy Friday night during that Avenue’s restaurant week. On March 1, drummer/chef Steven Stens will play Johnny Brenda’s as part of Juston Stens & the Get Real Gang’s gig for its new CD, Share the Road. Share a slice of pizza while you’re at it, Steve.
DJ/producer/label owner A-Trak signed Grande Marshall — the Philly toast of nu-rap known for the 800 mixtape and “AK47” collaboration with local rapper Asaad — to Fool’s Gold at 2012’s end. A-Trak recently talked up the rapper’s unique vibe and said that Marshall would drop a debut disc this year.
More ice? Try citypaper.net/criticalmass.