Tuesday, October 20, 2015





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

Jazz City patrons were treated to jazz vocals in February 1955 when the Chet Baker Quintet appeared at the club. Chet had introduced vocals in his sets after the successful introduction of this facet of his talents on his first vocal album, Chet Baker Sings, PJLP-11. Jazz vocals continued to be an attraction when Jackie Cain and Roy Kral joined the Conte Candoli Quintet at Jazz City in May of 1955.

The Al Belletto Sextet opened at Jazz City on July 1, 1955. The Belletto group was promoted by Stan Kenton who had recorded them in December of 1954 for his Stan Kenton Presents Jazz series on Capitol Records.

Anita O’Day with the Bud Lavin Trio opened at Jazz City on July 12, 1955, a Tuesday. Anita O’Day had several albums featuring her jazz stylings on Norman Granz’s Norgran label. Her appearance at Jazz City continued through July 21, 1955.

The Buddy DeFranco Quartet with Sonny Clark, piano; Eugene Wright, bass; and Bobby White, drums; opened at Jazz City on July 22, 1955. The quartet had several best selling albums recorded for Norman Granz.

During their stay in Los Angeles the Buddy DeFranco Quartet recorded again for Norman Granz with the additional of Tal Farlow making two quintet albums, Cooking the Blues and Sweet and Lovely.

Anita O’Day returned to Jazz City on August 5, 1955, to alternate sets with the Buddy DeFranco Quartet. The Buddy Rich Quintet featuring Harry “Sweets” Edison was booked to open the following Friday, August 12, 1955.

Buddy Rich was among Norman Granz’s stable of jazz artists and had several LPs in release that featured Edison in the lineup.

Buddy Rich and his Quartet (Nat Pierce on piano, Harry “Sweets” Edison on trumpet, Ike Isaacson on bass). From One Night Stand: The World of Lenny Bruce (1959).

The Buddy Rich Quintet closed their initial engagement at Jazz City on August 22,1955. The Lee Konitz / Warne Marsh Quintet opened the next day, Tuesday, August 23, 1955. Marsh and Konitz played together on Friday, August 19, 1955, at the Hollywood Bowl along with a stellar lineup that included Dave Brubeck, Buddy DeFranco, Billie Holiday, Pete Kelly’s Big 7, Andre Previn, Shorty Rogers, and Cal Tjader. The previous June they recorded an album for Atlantic with Sal Mosca, Billy Bauer, Oscar Pettiford, and Kenny Clarke.

The Konitz / Marsh Quintet alternated sets on the opening weekend of their run with the Four Freshman on August 26, 27, and 28. The Four Freshmen would be on the stand again the following weekend, September 2, 3, and 4.

The Four Freshmen were Capitol Records artists who had been brought to the label by Stan Kenton. They were one of the top jazz vocal groups to emerge in the 1950s.

The Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh Quintet ended their run at Jazz City, Monday through Thursday, September 5 through 8. The Dave Brubeck Quartet opened on September 9, 1955, appearing three days only, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet was profiled in an article for Life magazine in 1954 with a color photo spread by Eliot Elisofon. Paul Desmond, Joe Dodge, Dave Brubeck, and Bob Bates in a multiple exposure.

Carmen McRae opened at Jazz City on September 13, 1955. She was backed by the Kenny Drew Trio with Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Lawrence Marable on drums. McRase had recently been awarded “Singer of the Year” by Metronome magazine and was signed with Decca Records with several LPs in release.

McRae’s three week run ended on September 29, 1955.  Anita O’Day aand her trio returned to Jazz City on September 30, 1955, alternating sets with the Buddy DeFranco Quartet.

The Anita O’Day / Buddy DeFranco booking continued through the month of October 1955. The Buddy Rich Quintet featuring Harry “Sweets”Edison returned to Jazz City on November 4, 1955, for another ten-day run.

Maynard Sloate scored a coup when he booked the Chico Hamilton Quintet into Jazz City. The quintet enjoyed a long run at Strollers in Long Beach when they were signed by Dick Bock at Pacific Jazz. The Chico Hamilton Quintet became a major selling artist group for the label.

The Chico Hamilton Quintet performing at Strollers in Long Beach.

The original quintet included: Chico Hamilton, leader, drums; Buddy Collette, reeds; Fred Katz, cello; Jim Hall, guitar; and Carson Smith, bass. Chico’s quintet enjoyed a five week run at Jazz City from November 16 through December 8, 1955. (Above photo from a Tiffany Club engagement.)

Woody Herman formed a smaller aggregation of musicians in the fall of 1955 that was known as The Las Vegas Herd. It included Dick Collins and John Coppola, trumpets; Cy Touff, bass trumpet; Woody Herman, clarinet, alto sax, and vocals; Richie Kamuca, tenor sax; Norman Pockrandt, piano; Monty Budwig, bass; and Chuck Flores, drums. The Las Vegas Herd appeared at the Shrine Auditorium on December 3, 1955, as part of Irving Granz’s “Jazz a la Carte” concert series.

The reduced Herd recorded an album for Capitol a few days earlier that was released as Jackpot - Woody Herman and the Las Vegas Herd.

The Woody Herman Las Vegas Herd appeared three nights only at Jazz City, December 9, 10, and 11, 1955.

Anita O’Day and Buddy DeFranco returned to Jazz City on December 12, 1955, and closed out 1955 at the club. 

Jazz City advised patrons to make reservations for the December 31, 1955, program that included hats, noisemakers, and favors to ring in the 1956 New Year.

The already fierce competition among Los Angeles Jazz clubs got hotter when Zardi’s completed a remodel that expanded the capacity of the club that the owner’s renamed Zardi’s Jazzland. Jazz City had direct competition across the street from Peter Vescio’s Peacock Lane. Vescio frequently booked the same artists that appeared at Jazz City. Maynard Sloate scored a hit in January of 1956 when booked the Miles Davis Quintet into Jazz City.

The Howard Lucraft photo that greatly enhances this presentation has been provided courtesy of CTSIMAGES.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Howard Lucraft Collection.  Please note that this photo remains the property of the Howard Lucraft Collection and is used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding its use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

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

Barney Kessel opened Jazz City in October of 1954 and featured Art Pepper as a guest soloist for four weeks and then Zoot Sims for four weeks. Kessel continued to be the headliner until mid January of 1955 when Maynard Sloate hired Lee Konitz for a two week run at Jazz City. Konitz and his quartet, Jeff Morten, drums; Ronnie Ball, piano; and Peter Ind, bass played an extended gig at The Tiffany Club that ended mid January when the Bob Scobey group arrived. The Lee Konitz Quartet opened at Jazz City on Friday, January 14, 1955.

Lee Konitz headed back to the east coast after closing at Jazz City and recorded an album for Storyville Records in February, Lee Konitz in Harvard Square (Storyville LP 323).

Maynard Sloate and Joe Abrahams were disappointed with the draw they were getting on the modern jazz groups and as noted by John Tynan in his Down Beat Hollywood column...” Jazz City op Maynard Sloate, after mulling move to Dixie, signed poll winner Chet Baker and combo for four weeks opening Jan. 28.”

Chet Baker's quintet had been on tour with Phil Urso, Bob Whitlock, Bob Neel, and Al Haig. Paul Bley replaced Haig who did not accompany Chet's group when they returned to the west coast.  The photo below captures the quintet at the Loop Lounge.

Chet Baker recorded his first 12" LP for Pacific Jazz at the end of February and beginning of March 1955.  The first two sessions included Russ Freeman on piano, Red Mitchell on bass, Bob Neel on drums, Bud Shank on flute, Corky Hale on harp plus four cellists with arrangements by Marty Paich, Johnny Mandel and Frank Campo.  There were two sessions with this group at Western recorders on February 28 and March 1, 1955. A third session, also at Western Recorders, included Freeman and Neel plus Carson Smith on bass. 

Newspaper ad (above) from February 17, 1955, noting Chet’s quintet closing at Jazz City on February 25, 1955. Chet’s group may have departed earlier as newspaper ads announced that the Oscar Moore Trio would be opening at Jazz City on February 22, 1955, along with a new remote broadcast on KBLA, 1480 on the AM Dial.

The Oscar Moore Trio included Moore on guitar, Carl Perkins on piano, and Joe Comfort on bass.  Moore’s LP on Skylark (LP 19) included George Jenkins (uncredited) on drums, from a session at Radio Recorders on September 10, 1954.

Skylark LP 19 was a 10" LP release. The Oscar Moore Quartet album recorded on June 16, 1955, included Mike Pacheco on bongos (credited) on Tampa LP-20, a 12" LP release, and once again George Jenkins played on that session but was uncredited in the liner notes.

John Tynan’s Hollywood column did not mention the Oscar Moore booking at Jazz City, but his March 9 column confirmed that Maynard Sloate was departing from the “Modern Sounds” policy...

HOLLYWOOD - March 9, 1955
The Jazz Beat: Alto ace Bud Shank back from Australian jaunt with F. Sinatra and again on stand with Howard Rumsey's All-Stars at the Lighthouse, where we caught Bill Claxton shooting Lighthouse layouts for two national mags. And "Sleepy" Stein of KFOX (Long Beach, Calif.) now has all-jazz platter program going out from Lighthouse six nights a week (9-11 p.m. PST) . . . Well, it's happened. Jazz City, currently showcasing Chet Baker quintet (Paul Bley is Baker's new pianist), and heretofore dedicated to "modern sounds," comes up with Jack Teagarden & combo March 10. First time Big T. has played here since sister Norma came in as keyboarder. Mgr. Maynard Sloate's comment: "Means nothing except Teagarden is a big attraction and we had a chance to get him" . . . Red Norvo home again for what will probably be long stand at Castle Restaurant, smart Beverly Hills eating spot. Tal Farlow still on hand and new member is Monty Budwig, bass . . . Harry Babasin routs those rumors his Nocturne record firm is folding, points to strong new releases featuring Steve White and Lou Levy and says watch for Nocturne's new "Music in Hollywood' series starting with the Bobby Troup Trio's 12-inch LP.

Supper Spottings: Peggy Lee into Ciro's Feb. 23 . . . Perez Prado band, which blew them out at the Mocambo, is blowing them in at Crescendo right next door this deadline, and was held over through Feb. 29 . . . Sam Donahue (And His Billy May Band) follows current Less  El ear t  at Palladium  March  8, with Eddie Howard up for his first Palladium date April 5 . . . Freddy Martin, who recently added a vocal group. The Honey Brothers, continues at Cocoanut Grove with current headliner Marguerite Piazza . . . Ditto Skinnay Ennis at Statler Hotel with ice show that followed George Gobel for four-weeker starting Feb. 14.

Maynard Sloate knew Jack Teagarden from his days at the Susie Q running the Sunday jam sessions. The switch to a traditional jazz headliner allowed Sloate and Abrahams to gauge the draw that Teagarden could pull to the club compared to the modern jazz artists that had been featured until this point in time.

The interior photo of Jack Teagarden, below right, features a promotion for William Claxton’s JAZZ WEST COAST photography portfolio on the wall behind Teagarden advertising that it was available and on sale at Jazz City.

The previous fall Teagarden recorded an album for Bethlehem while his group was on the east coast.

The Jack Teagarden Sextet closed their stay at Jazz City at the end of the third week of April 1955. Maynard Sloate announced that he was going back to a modern jazz policy and was shopping around for a new sound.

The above advertisement from the Daily Mirror & News of April 16, 1955, noted that Teagarden’s group would bow out of Jazz City on the 22nd of the month.

The Conte Candoli Quintet with Conte Candoli, trumpet; Bill Holman, tenor sax; Lou Levy, piano; Leroy Vinegar, bass; and Lawrence Marable, drums; opened at Jazz City on April 22, 1955, along with hip monologist, Lord Buckley. Conte Candoli had been nick named “The Count” and Sloate used this moniker in the ad above that announced “The Lord Meets The Count.”

The double bill proved to be a crowd pleaser and John Tynan noted in his Hollywood column in Down Beat that “the cash register was ringing” at Jazz City.

Lord Buckley had a very successful reign in Hollywood jazz clubs as well as less salubrious establishments in the mid 1950s. His album for RCA Victor as well as his albums on Vaya Records cemented his reputation as the nation's hip monologist.

Conte Candoli's quintet included Bill Holman on tenor, Lou Levy on piano, Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Lawrence Marable on drums.  Ray's Avery's photo below captured Candoli and Holman during an engagement at Strollers jazz club in Long Beach.

The Conte Candoli Quintet that played Jazz City recorded an album for Bethlehem Records in the summer of 1955.

The Conte Candoli Quintet and Lord Buckley were joined mid May by the hip duo, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral. The triple bill is testament to the fact that Jazz City was drawing in an appreciative crowd who kept the cash register ringing through the end of May, 1955.

Bill Holman left the quintet in June and Conte Candoli continued the engagement at Jazz City as the Conte Candoli Quartet.

The Conte Candoli Quartet and jackie & Roy closed their duo engagement at Jazz City on June 30, 1955.  The ad below announced that the Al Belletto Sextet would be the next attraction, billed under the auspices of Stan Kenton who had recorded Belletto's group for the Stan Kenton Presents Jazz series for Capitol Records.

Jackie and Roy recorded an album for Storyville Records while in Hollywood, two sessions at Capitol Recording Studios on Melrose, July 14 and 15, with Barney Kessel, Red Mitchell, and Shelly Manne.

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