Friday, April 6, 2018

The Haig - Part Two

© James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved

The Haig © William Claxton

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet continued their engagement at The Haig in January of 1953. Bob Whitlock departed the quartet before Christmas and was replaced by Carson Smith, a logical choice by Mulligan as Smith had demonstrated his chops during the initial engagement at the Black Hawk in September of 1952. The quartet’s version of “My Funny Valentine” had received generous airplay by Los Angeles DJs. Carson Smith suggested the then relatively unknown tune from from the Rodgers and Hart musical, Babes in Arms. Chico Hamilton also took leave of the quartet to tour with Lena Horne at a more substantial salary. Hamilton was present at the January 6, 1953, recording session for Fantasy to add more tunes to fill out a 10” LP release of the quartet. The log from local AFM shows Mulligan as leader for Circle Records, four men, three hours, four sides. January 6th was a Tuesday, the off night at The Haig.

The Friday, January 23, 1953, edition of the Mirror/News advertised two guest jazz artists that would be performing with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet the following week. Lee Konitz (Stan Kenton man) joined the quartet on the following Monday evening, January 26th, and on Tuesday, the 27th, Art Pepper (former Stan Kenton man) played with the quartet.

Dick Bock was impressed with the Konitz/Mulligan combination and persuaded Lee Konitz to record for Pacific Jazz as leader (a rare concession on Mulligan's part, leaders received double scale at recording sessions) the following Sunday, February 1, 1953, at Gold Star Recorders. Mulligan, Konitz, and Baker were joined by Carson Smith and Chico Hamilton's replacement, Larry Bunker. Unfortunately there is no evidence or record that Art Pepper actually played with the Mulligan quartet on the 27th. The photo of Art Pepper playing with Gerry Mulligan, featured in the first post to this series, was taken in the spring of 1952 when Mulligan was in charge of the off night jam sessions. Perhaps the chemistry between Pepper and Mulligan was negative?

Gerry Mulligan, Larry Bunker, Chet Baker, and Lee Konitz at The Haig

Dick Bock rushed the Konitz/Mulligan quintet sides into production for release as 78 rpm singles prior to their release as one half of a 10" LP, and later an extended play 45 rpm.

When Gerry Mulligan's quartet became the featured attraction at The Haig in December of 1952 the responsibility for arranging off night entertainment fell back on Dick Bock. In January of 1953 Bock was invited to hear an ensemble at the Westlake College of Music. The group was under the nominal leadership of Dave Madden and included Jack Montrose, Bob Gordon, Johnny McComb, Forrest Westbrook, Wayne Harris, and Buddy Merriam. 

The group had formerly been part of a dance band organized by Marv Pearson, an aerospace engineer by day and guitarist by night who booked a series of gigs for the band at the Pedrini Ballroom in Monterey Park in 1951.  The band used a book by Lennie Niehaus and members of the band were Lennie Niehaus, alto sax; Dave Madden and Jack Montrose, tenor saxes; Bob Gordon, baritone sax; Johnny McComb, trumpet; Forrest Westbrook, piano; Marv Pearson, guitar; Wayne Harris, bass; and Sid Williamson, drums.  After that gig folded Niehaus joined the Kenton band and some members of the band decided to keep together as a smaller combo with two tenors, baritone, trumpet plus rhythm section. 

The Lennie Niehaus book was unsuited for the smaller group and a new library was created by Jack Montrose, Forrest Westbrook, and David Robertson. The new band rehearsed at the Westlake College of Music in Hollywood one night a week with regulars Madden, Montrose, Gordon, McComb and Westbrook.  The band kept their rehearsal schedule through 1952 and recorded several of the numbers in their new book at Universal Recorders.  

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute

Dick Bock was impressed with the ensemble playing and the charts by Madden, Montrose, and Westbrook. He asked the group to perform at The Haig on the off night beginning on Tuesday, February 10, 1953. Bob Gordon was unable to make Tuesday nights and Bud Shank subbed for Gordon on baritone. The Madden/Montrose ensemble was well received and played three additional off night sessions on February 17th, 24th, and March 3, 1953. Bock also had the ensemble with Bob Gordon come by The Haig on a Saturday afternoon where he taped the group for possible release on Pacific Jazz. The rehearsal tape passed through several hands and was lost, but Bock kept in touch with Jack Montrose. The arrangements that Jack Montrose wrote for Pacific Jazz sessions with Chet Baker in December of 1953 and Clifford Brown in the summer of 1954 had their genesis in the Westlake College rehearsal ensemble.

Ads in the Mirror/News in February and March continued to promote the Gerry Mulligan Quartet as the featured attraction at The Haig.

The next off night guest jazz artist to be named in an ad in the Mirror/News was the Herb Geller Quartet. The ad from March 27, 1953, states "Tuesday Only" but it was several Tuesday off nights as noted on this 78 rpm acetate.

Dick Bock recorded the Geller quartet at Universal Recorders for possible consideration of release on Pacific Jazz. The quartet featured Herb Geller on alto saxophone, Lorraine Geller on piano, Lawrence Marable on drums, and Clarence Jones on bass. 

Courtesy of the William Emery Collection

Dick Bock recorded Lorraine Geller with just rhythm backing playing Lorraine's original composition that she titled "Lorraine's Tune." Dick Bock did not follow through with a release of the Gellers on Pacific Jazz.

Courtesy of the William Emery Collection

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet made their first concert appearance on March 30, 1953, at Gene Norman's "Duke Ellington Festival" at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. 

Gene Norman arranged Gerry Mulligan's first recording session when Mulligan first arrived in Los Angeles. Bob Whitlock recalled in an interview conducted by Gordon Jack (Fifties Jazz Talk, The Scarecrow Press, 2004) that he was contacted by Gail Madden to play bass for the session that included two musicians from Albuquerque that had accompanied Mulligan and Madden to Los Angeles. The session was aborted, nothing worthwhile resulted.

Gene Norman kept in touch with Mulligan and proposed a recording session for Gerry's rehearsal ensemble. The music from two sessions on January 29 and 31, 1953, was licensed to Capitol and issued on a 10" LP later in 1953.

Bob Willoughby attended the recording sessions at the old Capitol Records Recording Studios on Melrose and took several photos of Mulligan and the ensemble.


The Haig's star attraction made unfortunate headlines in the Los Angeles Times in mid April of 1953.

Los Angeles Times photo from "Let's Get Lost" press book.

“Saxophonist Gerald J. Mulligan, 26, and his trumpet player, Chesney H. Baker, 23, hit a blue note in their musical careers yesterday. The two were arrested, along with their wives, on narcotics charges. Det. Sgts. John O’Grady and Dick Hill of the Los Angeles police narcotics detail and State Narcotics Officer Matt O’Connor said they had been keeping the two musicians under surveillance for several days because of a tip that the pair had been using narcotics. The officers reported that late Monday night [April 13th] they went to the home at 1515 North Harvard Place where both couples live and found a quantity of heroin and a hypodermic injection kit hidden on the back porch. O’Grady said Mrs. Jeffie Mulligan, 21, answered their knock and admitted them to the home, and that in an immediate search of the premises they found a jar of marijuana. The latter find, they added, was made in the bathroom, where Baker’s wife Charlaine, 22, was taking a shower. The officers said they then went to The Haig, a nightclub at 638 South Kenmore where Mulligan and Baker were appearing with a jazz quartet. They arrested the two men as they stepped from the stage following their final performance of the night. They said Mulligan had 12 hypodermic marks on his arms and admitted the heroin found on the porch was his. He denied, however, as did Baker, any knowledge of the jar of marijuana found in the bathroom of their home. The officers said Mulligan admitted he used heroin, but only occasionally. They said he admitted that he had been “hooked” on heroin at one time, but then he quickly added that he had “kicked the habit” about three years ago. “Then about six months before I went to work at the Haig,” the officers quoted Mulligan as having said, “I had a run of bad luck . . . was out of work . . . and started to use it again occasionally to relax. “But when I do use it I get it when somebody gives it to me. I never buy the stuff.” In addition to being an accomplished baritone saxophonist, Mulligan also is known as a composer and arranger and two months ago was the object of an article in a nationally circulated magazine. Police said that Mrs. Mulligan, a bride of only three months, told them she was not involved in the use of narcotics and that she had never been aware that there were any narcotics around her home. Baker, according to police, is at present out on bail from a previous charge of possession of marijuana."

Carson Smith recounted the event in his interview with Gordon Jack.

"I remember arriving at the Haig one night to find that Gerry had eloped to Palm Springs with one of the waitresses, called Jeffie Lee Boyd. She was a friend of Dick Bock's, and I had tried to date her a few times, but I guess I wasn't her style. The marriage lasted for about a month before they had an annulment, and I could never figure it out, although I've heard several stories. We didn't know that Gerry was messing around with drugs, and one rumor was that he had gone down to Palm Springs to dry out and Jeffie was there to help. I don't know if I believe that or not, but it could be true, because it sure was a strange marriage! She was still working at the Haig when Gerry got busted, and shortly afterwards Arlyne Brown arrived on the scene from New York. She was the daughter of the great Lew Brown of the DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson song writing team, and she and Gerry had known each other for years. It seemed that within a matter of days Arlyne had taken over and become Gerry's manager, with the intention of showing him the way to a new life. She was a real New Yorker and, man, was she strong that woman! 

One night, two plainclothes detectives named Hill and O'Grady came into the Haig and sat down right in front of the bandstand for two whole sets. Chet pulled me aside and told me they were cops and Hollywood was their beat. Their great fame came from going around busting celebrities like Robert Mitchum and Lenny Bruce and, let me add, they were a couple of assholes. If the club hadn't been full, they would have arrested us there and then, but they waited until a quarter to two, when it was time to close the joint up. They herded us into the office and looked up our sleeves, checking for needle marks. I was bewildered, because I didn't know what they were talking about, but after checking Chet, Larry, and me, Gerry just broke down, saying, "I've been screwing around with drugs again," just like that. He didn't have to say a word, but he was like a beaten man. He took the cops to the house that he and Chet were renting in East Hollywood near Sunset Boulevard and Western, showed them his paraphernalia, and went off to jail in handcuffs. I know now that he was desperate to get away from the drug scene and that was the only way he knew how to do it. 

Gerry's lawyer kept the case bouncing around from court to court for a couple of months while we carried on playing at the Haig. By this time he and Arlyne were renting a tiny house in the Hollywood Hills. The night before his final court appearance, when-he fully expected to get the case kicked out for good, we all went up to Gerry's place for a little party to cheer him on. The next day the judge gave him six months at the Sheriff's Honour Farm, and that was the end of the first Gerry Mulligan Quartet. 

The Honour Farm was in Saugus, which is about thirty miles out of L.A. on the road to San Francisco, and I was Arlyne's ride when she visited Gerry. He would arrange for me to see one of the other prisoners, usually a musician, while he and Arlyne spent their hour together. We all expected Gerry to reform the quartet when he was released, and in the meantime, Chet and I got to play with Charlie Parker for a while. We also did some things on our own with Russ Freeman and Bob Neel, because Dick Bock was preparing Chet to become a bandleader, although Chet didn't want to be a leader. We were keeping fairly busy, not busy-busy, but hanging in there and paying the rent. We were both astonished to find that, on the day Gerry was released, Arlyne picked him up and took him right to the airport. Somebody said his final remark was, "Good-bye, Los Angeles, you will never see me again."

Gerry Mulligan was featured in an exchange regarding customer noise in the May 20 and June 3, 1953, issues of Down Beat. 

The Haig audiences as noted by Dave Brubeck in part one of this series were accustomed to socializing and enjoying conversations with friends while dining and drinking. This was particularly true in the 1940s when the tables were larger and spaced out to allow servers to wait on customers. The ambience was that of a cocktail lounge/piano bar where the music was provided as a background. Customers were encouraged to socialize, and the pianist was expected to engage the audience as well, take requests.

John Bennett made some changes when he acquired The Haig. Small "cocktail" tables were introduced. The emphasis was on selling drinks and dinner service was sidelined. The photo of the Laurindo Almeida/Bud Shank Quartet, shown below, illustrates the tight spacing between tables and how the audience in the row of tables next to the bandstand were a few feet away from the musicians. 

Gene Norman arranged for another recording session of Gerry's quartet on May 7, 1953. There is no record in the AFM files to confirm that a contract was drawn up for this session or for the January sessions that Norman licensed to Capitol Records. 

Dick Bock arranged for another recording session of Gerry's quartet with Lee Konitz at Gold Star Recording Studio on June 10, 1953, from 1:00 to 7:00 PM. Quartet members Chet Baker, Carson Smith, and Larry Bunker rounded out the quintet, this time with Gerry as leader. The additional sides captured were sufficient to fill out a 12" LP. Joe Mondragon is credited as being on bass on some selections, the contracts do not support this.

Several musicians sat in with Chet Baker to fill out the quartet when Gerry Mulligan was not present. Herb Geller recalled a three week stint while Gerry was away with his new bride, Jeffie. Stan Getz sat in during June and was recorded by Dick Bock.

The off night in May found Oscar Pettiford and Harry Babasin playing amplified cellos with Alvin Stoller, Arnold Ross, and Joe Comfort. Dick Bock was persuaded to record the quintet and set up a session at Gold Star Recording Studios on May 14, 1953. The session masters were sold to Imperial Records where it was released as a 45 EP. The Geller recordings might have followed the same path as Herb Geller's first record as leader was also on Imperial.

Harry "Sweets" Edison and Oscar Pettiford were also paired for the off night session in June with the same rhythm backing, Alvin Stoller, Joe Comfort, and Arnold Ross.

Oscar Pettiford and Harry Edison at The Haig.

Dick Bock was persuaded again to record, but without Pettiford's cello. The session took place at The Haig on July 1, 1953, from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM. The resulting album, "Sweets at The Haig" was the fourth 10" LP in the Pacific Jazz catalogue.

Other off night combos at The Haig included Teddy Charles on vibes, Gene Gammage on drums, Howard Roberts on guitar, and Curtis Counce on bass. Charles had recently relocated to California as A&R for Prestige Records.

Shorty Rogers and his combo, The Giants, opened at The Haig in September as noted in the notice in Down Beat. The off night entertainment was also drawing attention to The Haig, a combo with Laurindo Almeida and Bud Shank performing a Brazilian influenced meld of samba rhythms and jazz.

The Almeida/Shank quartet began their off night sessions in August. As noted in the Down Beat notice above, the new off night was now a Monday night. The quartet played August 17; September 14, 21, 28; October 5, 12, and 19, 1953. The extended gig affirmed the groups popularity with patrons.

The table in front of Laurindo Almeida was used as a music stand for his copies of the charts for the group. This photo illustrates the close quarters of the club and the intimacy of audience and musician. The mirrors behind the group allowed patrons to have multiple views of the musicians and provided an enlarged (and false) perception of the size of the room. The quartet recorded for Pacific Jazz the following month at Sound Stage Recording Studios. The 10" LP featuring Laurindo Almeida and Bud Shank was the seventh release in the 10" LP Pacific Jazz catalogue.

Shorty Rogers and His Giants continued to be the headline attraction at The Haig for the balance of 1953.

The photos that greatly enhance this presentation have been provided courtesy of Cynthia Sesso and the Roy Harte Jazz Archive.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Roy Harte Jazz Archive.  Please note that these photos remain the property of the Roy Harte Jazz Archive and are used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding their use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Haig - Part One

© James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved

The first major building to occupy the 3300 block of Wilshire Boulevard was the Gaylord Apartments, designed by the Walker & Eisen architectural firm in 1924. The apartments were named for Gaylord Wilshire who named the boulevard that bears his name. The vintage photograph below shows the surrounding area shortly after the building was completed.

The Evanston Apartments at 630 South Kenmore were built a few years later on three lots that commenced where the house outlined in red is shown at far right in the photo. The Brown Derby Restaurant was originally built at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard. It was moved in 1937 to 3377 Wilshire Boulevard, adjacent to the Gaylord Apartments, the red square in the above photo.

The vintage photo below from the 1940s shows the relocated Brown Derby next to the Gaylord Apartment building.

The photos of the Brown Derby, above, from the 1960s show the west facade of the Gaylord Apartments. Another vintage photo of the Gaylord Apartments from the late 1930s, below, was taken from the lawn of the Ambassador Hotel. The Evanston Apartments can be seen at the far right, and the neon sign of The Haig is visible just south of the Evanston Apartments.

The entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz cites some of the history of The Haig.

The Haig. Wilshire Boulevard, across the street from the Ambassador Hotel. In the 1930s this club was called the Haig Cocktail Lounge. Erroll Garner and other unaccompanied solo pianists played there in the 1940s, and during the 1950s it became a leading venue for West Coast jazz. Its publicity officer was Richard Bock, of the record company Pacific Jazz. It was small - a converted bungalow - and suited only to performances by small groups; many important jazz musicians active in Los Angeles at that time appeared, including Red Norvo's trio, Wardell Gray, Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet, and Curtis Counce's quintet (making its debut). Hampton Hawes, Warne Marsh, Mulligan and Lee Konitz, Bud Shank, and others recorded there. Jam sessions were held on Monday nights. The club closed on 4 April 1956.

Locations of the the Evanston Apartments and The Haig [1], the Gaylord Apartments and the Brown Derby [2], and the Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove [3] shown above on this vintage city map from 1954.

The Haig © William Claxton

Early History

Ray Cohen purchased a four room bungalow that was scheduled for demolition in the early months of 1932. He had it moved to lot 3, block 1, of Chapman Park Terrace in May of 1932. A building permit was issued on June 1, 1932, to build an addition to be used as a kitchen. The structure, now five rooms, was located at 638 South Kenmore Avenue, between Sixth and Wilshire.

The new owner, Mrs. Hazel James, employed the architectural firm of Plummer, Wurdeman, and Becket in February of 1935 to renovate the structure, patching the roof, new interior painting, and adding new door steps. Plummer, Wurdeman, and Becket specialized in designing restaurants and shops with their most notable projects including Clifton’s Cafeteria and the Pan Pacific Auditorium. After the passing of his partners, Welton Becket continued the firm as Welton Becket and Associates. One of Becket's most notable projects was the Capitol Records tower on Vine Street in Hollywood.

Mrs. James employed the Yutz Sign Company in May of 1936 to erect a neon roof sign advertising “The Haig - Dinners - Cocktails.” The building permit noted that the location functioned as a dining hall and cocktail bar. The original “living room” of the bungalow, 10 x 22 feet, was not large enough to accommodate the growing popularity of this new watering hole. Mrs. James secured a building permit in May of 1938 to build a 22 x 18 foot addition to the “living room” bringing the front of The Haig to the legal setback from the street.

Notices in Billboard confirm a variety of artists who performed at the club including: Ken Berry (singer-pianist) December 25, 1943; Walter Gross (pianist, composer of "Tenderly") December 11, 1948; Matt Dennis (pianist, composer) November 1947; and Ken Clarke (pianist) July 26, 1947. Erroll Garner's appearance at The Haig is confirmed by the photos below. Getty Images date Ray Whitten's photos as from June 30, 1947.

The photos of Erroll Garner shown at left and above with the guard rail surrounding the bandstand are credited to Ray Whitten. Clues that indicate this is The Haig include the framed art works seen on the rear wall. These same framed works can be seen in other photos taken at The Haig in the photo below of Dave Brubeck and His Trio, taken at The Haig in 1950, and in photos by Ross Burdick and William Claxton from 1952 that can be seen at the end of this post.

The carpet on the floor of the bandstand also resembles the carpet seen in other photos taken at The Haig. The mirror behind Erroll Garner is another indication that this is The Haig.

Photos taken in the 1950s by other photographers do not show the guard rail that must have been removed by John Bennett. The Garner photos also reveal seating that is not as cramped and the audience is not directed toward the bandstand. 

Ray Whitten and his partner, Charlie Mihn, were active photographers in Los Angeles during the 1940s and documented the jazz scene, most notably sessions for Ross Russell's Dial Records.

Whitten was also active as a photographer for Capitol Records capturing session photos of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Billy May, Gene Krupa, Herb Jeffries, and others.

The Erroll Garner and Matt Dennis engagements at The Haig gave patrons a taste of jazz piano, a departure from the cocktail lounge/piano bar fare that could be heard in nightclubs all over town. Patrons received a double dose of jazz piano in December of 1949 when Carl Perkins was booked for several weeks going into January of 1950.

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute - Ken Poston Director

The Ted Kovach Trio was most likely a piano trio that was the kind of act frequently booked into cocktail lounges and piano bars. Carl Perkin's jazz piano might have been more than the typical patron could handle or appreciate. The first ad in the Mirror/News for the Kovach trio announced their opening on January 27, 1950. No evidence exists regarding the group other than a mention in Billboard regarding Kovach's marriage in 1948. The ad below announcing the hold over is from February 3, 1950.

Red Norvo's Trio enjoyed several extended engagements at The Haig. His first trio with Tal Farlow and Red Kelly played The Haig in early 1950. The ad below is from March 17, 1950.

Red Kelly left the trio and was replaced by Charles Mingus. The new trio was featured on the cover of the August 11,1950 issue of Down Beat, and recorded by Dick Bock for Discovery earlier in May.

Dave Brubeck followed Red Norvo into The Haig in October of 1950 as reported in Down Beat in their October 20 and November 3, 1950 issues. When the Brubeck combo was booked into The Surf Club in 1951 an article in Down Beat quoted Brubeck: "At The Haig last year, where I played with the trio, they just looked curiously at us now and then and didn't even stop talking while we played. Here, (The Surf Club), they not only listen, but they actually applaud after every number. We even get requests. It's amazing!" 

Cal Tjader, Dave Brubeck, and Ron Crotty at The Haig © Photo by Bob Willoughby

The Down Beat "Los Angeles Band Briefs" is somewhat misleading in stating that it was the "Dave Brubeck Trio" taking over at The Haig. Prior to assuming the moniker "The Dave Brubeck Quartet" Brubeck called the group that included alto sax, bass, and drums, "Dave Brubeck and His Trio," not to be confused with his first combo that was billed as the "Dave Brubeck Trio" with piano, bass, and drums (bongos, vibes).


Red Norvo was slated to return to The Haig for an extended stay as announced in Down Beat in December of 1950. A later edition noted the J. C. Heard group was listed as appearing.

Ads for The Haig in 1951 have proved to be elusive, but the search continues. Bobby Short enjoyed an extended stay as this format seemed to be a favorites of The Haig regulars. The items below are from the Los Angeles Times edition of February and May of 1951.


In addition to newspaper ads, notices in Down Beat and Metronome magazines, the music played in nightclubs like The Haig, the Surf Club, the Lighthouse, and The Tiffany club was documented by jazz enthusiasts like Bob Andrews who recorded the music using his portable tape recorder.

Andrews moved to Los Angeles from Wisconsin in the late 1940s.  He became a jazz fan while in his teens and began to build his jazz collection of mainly 78 rpm records while still in high school. Andrews was also an amateur drummer and attended jam sessions around Los Angeles where he could sit in and participate.  He opened his first jazz record shop in the early 1950s in the south bay area of Los Angeles, fairly close to The Lighthouse Cafe that had a growing reputation for a straight ahead jazz policy.  Andrews’ shop, RECORD VILLE, also carried phonographs and the newest audio sensation, portable tape recorders. Andrews bought one of the top Pentron models for his own use and took it to clubs all over Los Angeles where owners allowed him to tape the jazz entertainment. Over a period of years Andrews amassed a tape library that captured the evolution of jazz as it was played in clubs ranging from The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach to the Tradewinds in Inglewood and the Surf Club and The Haig in Los Angeles.  Andrews also established a record label, Vantage Records, and released the first commercial recordings of Hampton Hawes and Pinky Winters among others. The Bob Andrews Collection is part of the archive at the Los Angeles Jazz Institute. The LAJI has provided some updates regarding recordings made at The Haig.

Andrews taped the Hampton Hawes Trio at The Haig on September 22, 1951. The trio included Harper Crosby on bass and Larance (Lawrence) Marable on drums. Andrews released the session on his Vantage Records label as VLP-1.

Album cover photo by Ray Avery

The Haig's owner, John Bennett, hired Dick Bock to handle publicity and booking for the club in the early part of 1952. Bock was a frequent presence at The Haig and other LA clubs and besides writing a few columns for Down Beat was at loose ends having been out of a job since his dismissal from Discovery Records when it was sold to a New York group of investors. Business was down and Bennett hoped that Bock could turn that situation around.

Lila Leeds was the featured act in March of 1952. Leeds reached Los Angeles headlines in 1949 when she was busted along with Robert Mitchum for marijuana possession. Mitchum spent six months at the Sheriff's Honor Farm and Leeds received a parole after serving a short sentence.

The ads below from March 10 and 17, 1952.

Lila Leeds returned to Los Angeles from Chicago where she had been performing in nightclubs. The feature with photo below was published in the September 22, 1950, issue of Down Beat.


On April 1, 1952, Martha Davis was booked for two weeks followed by Valaida Snow on April 15, 1952.

Martha Davis at the piano                                        Valaida Snow with her trumpet


Georgie Auld was booked to open in late April of 1952, and Beryl Booker followed Auld opening in the second week of May 1952. The booking of Auld and Booker can be attributed to Bock as both artists were represented on Discovery Records, Bock's old firm.

Georgie Auld                              Beryl Booker with Bonnie Wetzel and Elaine Leighton

The off night at The Haig was not a fixed day of the week. In some years it was Tuesday night, other years it was Monday night. Many clubs, including The Haig, featured jam sessions on Sundays. The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach was known for its Sunday jam sessions that would last until the early hours of Monday morning.

Paul Nero relocated to the west coast from New York in the 1940s. Paul Nero and Andre Previn were featured soloists in a concert program produced by Gene Norman and presented at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on July 28, 1948.

Paul Villepigue and Paul Nero met in New York where they became friends and business partners. Villepigue had also settled in Los Angeles and resumed his association with Paul Nero. Jack End was on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music and had worked with Nero on several occasions in concerts that combined elements of jazz and classical music.

The Tuesday night session at The Haig on May 20, 1952, was advertised as the Chamber Music Society of Lower Wilshire Boulevard presents Paul Nero - Violin, Paul Smith - Piano, Tony Rizzi - Guitar, Bob Cooper - Tenor Sax, Maynard Ferguson - Trumpet, Irv Cottle (sic) - Drums, and Stan Fletcher - Bass. The first ad for the event listed Conrad Gozzo and Red Callender in the lineup.

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute - Ken Poston, Director

Robert Scherman recorded the session and issued two tunes, "Cool Canary Blues" and "Sweet Georgia Brown," on his fledgling Skylark label as Jam Session, Skylark 11 LP (recently issued on CD as VSOP 132 CD), under the leadership of Paul Nero. The scant liner notes confirm that it was recorded "on the spot" without naming The Haig and the session has never entered the discography canon as being recorded on May 20, 1952. Scherman and Bock knew each other. Bock approached Scherman in March of 1952 to request that Scherman use his Skylark Records recording license to tape Art Pepper's first session as leader for Discovery Records of New York. Bock probably returned the favor, allowing Scherman to record at The Haig.

The following Tuesday, May 27, 1952, presented another jam session billed as the Chamber Music Society of Lower Wilshire Boulevard presents JAZZ CONCERT with Herbie Steward, Irv Cottler, Jimmy Rowles, and Joe Mondragon named in the ad.

Bob Andrews recorded another jam session on June 3, 1952. This session was issued on Jam Session Records 102, with the wrong date. Side one of the LP featured Paul Smith, piano; Gerry Mulligan & Pave Pell, tenor saxes; Joe Mondragon, bass; Ted Ottison, trumpet; and Billy Wilson, drums. Side two featured Jimmy Rowles, piano; GHerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Howard Roberts, guitar; Joe Mondragon, bass; and Tommy Rundell, drums.

Andrews recorded other combinations of artists who performed that night (June 3, 1952) including Gerry Mulligan (ts), Dave Pell (ts), Paul Smith (p), Joe Mondragon (b), Irv Cottler (d), and June Ford (vcl); and a trio with Willie Hawkins (p), Joe Mondragon (b), Earl Hyde (d).

The following Tuesday, June 10, 1952, Andrews was present in the club again and recorded the following group: Gerry Mulligan (bs), Jimmy Rowles (p), Howard Roberts (g), Joe Mondragon (b), Tommy Rundell (d), and Gloria Joy (vcl).

The Nero experiment did not survive beyond a couple of weeks. Paul Nero will be the subject of a future post to this blog that examines his career from the concert halls of New York to the jazz scene in Los Angeles.

When Gerry Mulligan began attending the off night sessions the musician in charge was Paul Smith. Gerry assumed this role later in the spring of 1952 and some of the musicians playing with Gerry were documented by Ross Burdick. The Haig had two mirrors behind the bandstand, one mounted on the back wall, and other mounted at an angle above that mirror. The mirrors gave patrons a variety of choices to view groups and gave a false sense of the size of the room. 

Marty Paich, Bob Whitlock, Gerry Mulligan, and Bobby White.

Gil Barrios, Bob Whitlock, Art Pepper, Alvin Stoller, and Gerry Mulligan.

The Burdick photos are not dated, but the presence of the piano is a good indication that the primary acts booked at The Haig during this period made use of the piano. When Red Norvo returned to The Haig in mid-July of 1952 the piano was put into storage.

The same ad appeared on July 18 & 25, 1952, for Norvo's trio.

The first newspaper ad to formally recognize the existence of the Gerry Mulligan Quartette appeared in the Mirror/News edition of August 19, 1952, a Tuesday. 

The Mulligan quartet continued to perform on Tuesday nights. Prior to the ad above, the quartet with Chet Baker, Bob Whitlock, and Chico Hamilton had recorded several tunes at Philip Turetsky's bungalow under the supervision of Dick Bock. Two of the tunes were rushed into production as a 78 rpm single and released as Pacific Jazz 601 in mid September of 1952.

Dick Bock accompanied the Mulligan quartet north to San Francisco where a week long engagement opposite Dave Brubeck and His Trio was booked for the first week of September at the Blackhawk. The ad below is from the Oakland Tribune edition of September 4, 1952.

Another Tuesday night jam session at The Haig was recorded by Bob Andrews and released on Jam Session 101 featuring Wardell Gray, Art Farmer, Howard Roberts, Shelly Manne, Joe Mondragon, Hampton Hawes, and Amos Trice. 

The September 9, 1952, session was also issued by Spain's Fresh Sound Records.

Mirror/News April 25, 1952

Earlier in 1952 Bob Whitlock was with the Vido Musso band that backed June Christy at an engagement at the Tiffany Club. Whitlock, the original bassist with the Mulligan quartet, opted not to accompany the quartet to San Francisco and rejoined Vido Musso. Carson Smith replaced him in the group.  Dave Brubeck at the time was under the impression that he was part owner of the Fantasy label and encouraged the Weiss brothers to record the group for the label. The four sides recorded at the Blackhawk were also rushed into production as 78 rpm singles.

The quartet's recording of "My Funny Valentine" received greater airplay than the Pacific Jazz single during the fall of 1952 on Los Angeles air waves.

After the Mulligan quartet returned to Los Angeles the Red Norvo Trio was booked into the Blackhawk. The ad below from September 6, 1952, announces that the Norvo group will open on Tuesday, September 9, 1952.

The Norvo trio alternated sets with the Vernon Alley Quartet as noted in this ad from the San Francisco Chronicle edition of September 13, 1952.

The Red Norvo Trio closed at the Blackhawk on Sunday night, September 21, 1952, and returned to Los Angeles to play at The Haig on September 24, 1952.

The Stan Getz Quartet replaced Red Norvo's Trio playing opposite the Vernon Alley Quartet for two weeks. Getz's group was then replaced by Eddie Heywood and his trio who alternated sets with the Vernon Alley group (note the spelling of Al Haig).

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet returned to San Francisco where they played opposite the Eddie Heywood Trio on Monday, October 20, 1952. Bob Whitlock accompanied the quartet, returning to his bass position with the group.

Ads for the engagement that lasted until Sunday night, November 8, 1952, made no mention of Chet Baker, instead highlighting the drummer with the group, Bobby White, who replaced Chico Hamilton who did not wish to leave Los Angeles for the engagement.

This "slight" by Gerry Mulligan (not naming Chet Baker in the group) was most likely one of the factors that motivated Chet to form his own quartet and record for Dick Bock in December of 1952 after the quartet returned to Los Angeles, and The Haig where they received headline billing at last. The ad below is from the Mirror/News edition of December 5, 1952.

Bob Andrews recorded another off night session on December 23, 1952. The group included Warne Marsh, Hampton Hawes, Joe Mondragon, and Shelly Manne. Andrews leased the tape to Don Schlitten where the session was issued on LP as Xanadu 151. Many of Andrews other taped sessions were leased to Schlitten.

Ross Burdick photographed the Gerry Mulligan Quartet numerous times at The Haig after they became the headline attraction, but the photos of William Claxton became the defining images of the quartet at The Haig.

Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Bob Whitlock, and Chico Hamilton.

This photo taken from the right side of the bandstand captured Chico Hamilton's brushes in motion along with his make shift bass drum (a tom-tom laid on its side - no bombs allowed). These photos show that tables were located on both sides of the bandstand as well as the very front. It was a cramped performance space. Covers slicks for the quartet's first Pacific Jazz 10" LP can be seen in both photos, pasted to the mirror behind the quartet.

Bob Whitlock, Chet Baker, and Gerry Mulligan.

This concludes our first part of the history of The Haig. Additional posts will examine the remaining years of The Haig from 1953 through 1956.

The photos that greatly enhance this presentation have been provided courtesy of Cynthia Sesso and the Ross Burdick Collection.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Ross Burdick Collection.  Please note that these photos remain the property of the Ross Burdick Collection and are used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding their use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.

I would also like to extend my thanks to Ken Poston, Director of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute and Desne Villepigue Ahlers for their assistance and research.