|Tips on Tables - Robert W. Dana - April 6, 1953
Soft Jazz, Good Food At Embers
Lovers of music in the soft Jazz idiom can have a tasty dinner and
while away an interesting evening at the Embers, 161 E. 54th St. For
two years Ralph Watkins has made it one of New York's most popular
As you look over the a la carte menu for dishes to suit your fancy,
three items stand out in bold type: Southern fried chicken ($2.50),
barbecued baby ribs western style ($2.75) and succulent baby pork
roast with apple ring ($3).
I wanted the ribs and I wanted the roast, but compromising by ordering
rib tid-bits as an appetizer for $1.25 And following with roast Vermont
turkey with dressing. With the entrees you have a choice of mashed,
French fried, hash brown potatoes or candied yams.
The Right Music, Too.
As you're eating the well-prepared food you relax to Bunty
Pendleton's piano playing. Her choice of show tunes are always warm
Later in the evening, Red Norvo and his musicians and the Jo Jones
group alternate on the bandstand. Red, who just returned, was engaged
for a one-week fill-in last time and stayed seven months. His soft,
harmonious vibes playing, augmented by the dexterous string work of
a guitar and bass, and his selection. of classic tunes with a progressive
twist make him extremely popular.
On the other hand, the Jo Jones group offers muted jazz in a different
range. Jo, a familiar figure at the Embers, is the driving drum force
behind the Joe Bushkin Quartet when Bushkin is there. For this engagement
Jones has the same three members of the quartet without Bushkin.
Tyree Glenn comes on to Join the group, playing a lively vibes, which
doesn't conflict with Norvo since the styles are opposite. Glenn then
goes into a muted trombone solo that is something to hear. The group
then joins him on some mellow tempos, with Jones' soft drum solos
The Embers is a right comfortable place, with pickled pine panels
stained to a mellow shade, a large, make-believe fireplace in the
rear and a series of banquettes that can put you to sleep with their
Service Is alert and swift but not in your, way. The waiters know
they're serving good food like working for Ralph, who makes friends