Back in the 30’s thru the 50’s Los Angeles, as you may or may not know, was one of the hippest places for jazz music. No, I am not talking about the West Coast Sound that we Los Angelinos are generally known for, I am talking Charles Mingus, Teddy Edwards, Dexter Gordon, Art Pepper, Eric Dolphy, Ernie Andrews, Gerald Wilson, Count Basie, the Duke and the list goes on. So many people fail to realize that, just like 52nd Street in New York Citay, LA had it going on as well. And, while looking at your Thomas Guide, if you find yourself on the corner of Central and 41st, put a red dot on the map because you are at the pulse! The blood that flowed through the veins, through the souls and through the doors of the jazz clubs in Los Angeles touches down right here.
Just like back in the day, the pulse was pumping the sounds of jazz music in the streets! Central Ave was thriving with music, people, food, arts, all in a rich celebration of the players, the history and our little corner of the jazz hemisphere.
This was the 9th annual celebration of Central Ave and the two day event was just what the city in the summer needed. The line-up for both days featured some of Los Angeles’s outstanding players including the Justo Almario Quartet; Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band; The Donald Vega Latin Jazz Project; Dwight Trible Band; Barbara Morrison Band; Nate Morgan Band; Cj’s Quintet; Ernie Andrews Band; Isaac Smith Expressions and The Gerald Wilson Orchestra and more.
I unfortunately missed the festivities on Saturday but, I heard that Justo was just impeccable, Dwight was in fine form and Barbara had them hollerin’ and sweatin’ the blues! I know for a fact on Sunday Nate Morgan had an incredible band and the music was as straight ahead as it gets. Ernie Andrew is the consummate classic old school “playa”, singing the blues and spreading his joy with the people. Isaac Smith was not there. He was on the road playing with Snoop Doggy Dog and could not get away but, his Expressions played a 45minute suite that he composed for the late great Teddy Edwards. The highlight, the man that everyone was waiting for, the one who played with Jimmy Lunceford, the one who wrote “Theme for Monterey, the one and only Gerald Wilson. Still as happy and energetic about the music as ever! His band played tributes to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and a few other pieces from our great leading jazz pioneers.