In the age of bedroom Albinis and laptop Spectors, it’s a bold move when someone chooses to build a real-world recording studio. It’s bolder still when the builder had his heart broken by the demise of his previous studio. That’s Paul Pirozzi we’re talking about: the blues harmonicat also known as Wharton Tract who once held the lease on the Spice House studio space on South 11th Street, an analog paradise filled with the sort of collectible vintage equipment that’d raise Sun Studio-era Elvis from the grave. In March 2011, the place was sold off by the landlord to deal with taxes, leaving Pirozzi to pack up his tube amps and go home. But he didn’t give up: He’s putting the finishing touches on a still-secret location in Fishtown with partner and engineer Alex Santilli and architect and acoustician John Storyk (who designed Electric Lady Studios for Hendrix) for a studio that’ll mash up state-of-the-art digital technology with his warm analog equipment.
“Let them eat pie!” doesn’t have quite the same ring as Marie Antoinette’s supposed cake call, but who cares? Holly Ricciardi’s Magpie Artisan Pies at 1622 South St. is steeling itself for a grand opening ’tween July 19 and 27.
If you see Harrison Ford before he starts filming Paranoia downtown this week with Liam Hemsworth (look out for the soon-to-be-Missus Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus) and Gary “Commissioner Gordon” Oldman, go and wish old Indiana Jones a belated happy birthday: He turned 70 July 13. Hope Ford doesn’t have to do a lot of running in Philly’s muggy heat. She’s a scorcher.
It was a meeting of the local minds when Daryl Hall, met-at-Drexel hip-hoppers Chiddy Bang and Frank Stallone (!?) hung out for a taping of Hall’s online jam-session series Live from Daryl’s House last week. The gang took on Hall’s “Fall in Philadelphia” and Chiddy’s “Mind Your Manners,” ate meatballs prepared from Frank’s mom’s secret recipe and performed Stallone’s “Take You Back” from the locally lensed Rocky III. Abondanza. The whole thing can be found at lfdh.com.
Any six-string-playing jazz-bo who ever picked or strummed a lick in this fair city owes a debt of gratitude to South Philly’s Joe Sgro. The guitarist, a cousin of jazz-violin pioneer Joe Venuti, was inspired by rhythmic pianist Art Tatum as a child prodigy, and to get closer to Tatum’s sound, came up with his own method of playing guitar, the “JS System of Slur-Alternate Picking.” He opened for Martin and Lewis, appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, recorded a slew of acclaimed albums and taught damn near everyone in the local jazz scene from his basement. Sgro passed away on Sunday morning, leaving a hole in Philly jazz that’s impossible to fill.
More ice at citypaper.net/criticalmass.