Nate Wiley, 1924–2006

I just heard today from a friend that Nate Wiley died. This is a real loss to Philly, its culture, and its music scene. I didn’t know him, but next time I’m at Bob and Barbara’s, I’ll toast his memory and his drinkin’ music.

Screen captured from A Taste of Nate, directed by Jim McGorman.

For those who don’t know, Nate Wiley was the leader of Nate Wiley and the Crowd Pleasers, a regular weekend fixture at Bob and Barbara’s, one of the coolest dive bars you’ll ever see. The band was relentlessly consistent from weekend to weekend, but always perfect for the atmosphere. Watching them play felt like witnessing one of the few un-canned, genuine musical experiences left for someone to enjoy today. To quote Wiley, “I don’t play jazz. I don’t know how to play jazz. I play liquor-drinking music.” There’s no better way to put it.

Check out this short film to experience a little of Wiley and the band, if you haven’t already. And if you miss that great sound.