Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles 1921-1956

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
If the term "West Coast Jazz" conjures up images of cool blowing golden boys like Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Stan Getz, it's more than understandable. These were the artists who got the publicity, and the subsequent sales. Although the cool players deserved all their success, theirs is not the only jazz story to come out of Los Angeles. From the 1920s through the '50s, L.A. was a hotbed of African-American music -- it's this creative ferment that CENTRAL AVENUE SOUNDS focuses on. From transplanted New Orleans pioneers Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory to swing giants Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Nat King Cole, Lionel Hampton to bop potentates Charlie ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
If the term "West Coast Jazz" conjures up images of cool blowing golden boys like Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Stan Getz, it's more than understandable. These were the artists who got the publicity, and the subsequent sales. Although the cool players deserved all their success, theirs is not the only jazz story to come out of Los Angeles. From the 1920s through the '50s, L.A. was a hotbed of African-American music -- it's this creative ferment that CENTRAL AVENUE SOUNDS focuses on. From transplanted New Orleans pioneers Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory to swing giants Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Nat King Cole, Lionel Hampton to bop potentates Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon to R&B masters Johnny Otis, Big Jim McNeely, Roy Milton to bluesmen Jimmy Witherspoon, Charles Brown, Percy Mayfield, Pee Wee Crayton and a host of top-flight individualists Wardell Gray, Gerald Wilson, Lucky Thompson, Howard McGhee, this 4-CD set -- named for the main drag that housed L.A.'s best jazz clubs -- gives a panoramic view of a fertile music scene too long ignored. Split nicely between legendary performances, including Parker's "Night In Tunisia," Gordon's "Bikini," and Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love," and more obscure gems, CENTRAL AVENUE SOUNDS makes a great case for the "other" West Coast sound.
Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
In the great postwar migrations from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and points east and south, there was one spot that drew party people of every category and color -- Los Angeles' Central Avenue. Hot spots like the Club Alabam and the Jungle Room drew high-class Hollywood stars, factory workers, and ne'er-do-wells out to hear low-down music all night long. It was a time before jazz and blues were split into factions by marketing mavens, and Johnny Otis' Orchestra drew as much respect as Dizzy Gillespie's combo.

The breadth of that lively scene is captured in a four-CD set, CENTRAL AVENUE SOUNDS. It is an auditory supplement to the oral history project with the same title that was published last year. The music flows chronologically from a 1922 recording of New Orleans trombonist Kid Ory's Sunshine Orchestra to pianist Gerald Wiggins' Trio in 1956. The swing of Lionel Hampton's signature tune "Flying Home" is followed by T-Bone Walker's tortured blues "Mean Old World." Pee Wee Crayton's languid "Blues After Hours" gives way to Charlie Mingus' sophisticated "Mingus Fingers," and Big Jay McNeely's screaming tenor sax on "Nervous Man Nervous" moves on to Art Tatum's lyrical "Lover Man."

These disparate forces all fit together rather nicely because the musicians were of one mind. They arrived with big dreams, often carrying with them only a sack of clothes and the African-American cultural experience. But it was enough for Central Avenue, where the shape of your chops spoke louder than the color of your skin. And on CENTRAL AVENUE SOUNDS, bebop, jump blues, swing, and early rhythm and blues are all in.
All Music Guide - Cub Koda
Los Angeles is not usually seen as a hotbed of African-American musical creativity in the first half of the 20th century, but this deluxe box set deflates that misconception in a hurry. From 1921 to 1956 -- the time frame covered by the four discs of Central Avenue Sounds -- jazz of all kinds flourished on Central Avenue, L.A.'s main stem of sepia culture. Kicking off with the ultra rare 78 of "Ory's Creole Trombone" by Kid Ory the original recording finally speed-corrected to 85.3 rpm, the first disc moves effortlessly, showing who stopped in Los Angeles to record, who stayed, and who jazz's early pioneers were. Early sides from Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, Lionel Hampton, Lester Young, Lee Young, T-Bone Walker, Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, and the highly underrated Paul Howard Quality Serenaders make up the highlights. Disc two brings the early sounds of jump blues into the mix with sides from the Nat "King" Cole Trio, Hadda Brooks, Joe Liggins, Johnny Otis, and Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, as well as early bop from Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus. Disc three follows the bop and big band trail with seminal sides from Howard McGhee, Gerald Wilson, Dexter Gordon, Teddy Edwards, and Buddy Collette, with blues and jump from T-Bone Walker, Nellie Lutcher, Pee Wee Crayton, and Roy Milton. The final disc moves into the 1950s and shows just how fine the boundary between jazz and R&B truly was, with high-octane sides by Roy Porter's 17 Beboppers, Charles Brown, Wardell Gray, and Camille Howard, as well as honking sax showcases by Big Jay McNeely. There's some amazing music aboard this sumptuous set, and the whole shebang shines the spotlight on a strong and varied musical scene that hasn't been around the reissue block a million times. All kinds of jazz was played on L.A.'s Central Avenue and here are four discs that rightly showcase what a varied and interesting lot it all was.

Los Angeles is not usually seen as a hotbed of African-American musical creativity in the first half of the 20th century, but this deluxe box set deflates that misconception in a hurry. From 1921 to 1956 -- the time frame covered by the four discs of Central Avenue Sounds -- jazz of all kinds flourished on Central Avenue, L.A.'s main stem of sepia culture. Kicking off with the ultra rare 78 of "Ory's Creole Trombone" by Kid Ory the original recording finally speed-corrected to 85.3 rpm, the first disc moves effortlessly, showing who stopped in Los Angeles to record, who stayed, and who jazz's early pioneers were. Early sides from Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, Lionel Hampton, Lester Young, Lee Young, T-Bone Walker, Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, and the highly underrated Paul Howard Quality Serenaders make up the highlights. Disc two brings the early sounds of jump blues into the mix with sides from the Nat "King" Cole Trio, Hadda Brooks, Joe Liggins, Johnny Otis, and Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, as well as early bop from Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus. Disc three follows the bop and big band trail with seminal sides from Howard McGhee, Gerald Wilson, Dexter Gordon, Teddy Edwards, and Buddy Collette, with blues and jump from T-Bone Walker, Nellie Lutcher, Pee Wee Crayton, and Roy Milton. The final disc moves into the 1950s and shows just how fine the boundary between jazz and R&B truly was, with high-octane sides by Roy Porter's 17 Beboppers, Charles Brown, Wardell Gray, and Camille Howard, as well as honking sax showcases by Big Jay McNeely. There's some amazing music aboard this sumptuous set, and the whole shebang shines the spotlight on a strong and varied musical scene that hasn't been around the reissue block a million times. All kinds of jazz was played on L.A.'s Central Avenue and here are four discs that rightly showcase what a varied and interesting lot it all was.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/31/1999
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227587222
  • Catalog Number: 75872

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Ory's Creole Trombone (3:10)
  2. 2 Creole Song (2:45)
  3. 3 Get out of Here (2:45)
  4. 4 Blues for Jimmie Noone (3:05)
  5. 5 Someday, Sweetheart (3:05)
  6. 6 The Pearls (2:47)
  7. 7 Kansas City Stomp (2:54)
  8. 8 Mamanita (4:13)
  9. 9 Harlem - Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders (2:41)
  10. 10 California Swing - Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders (2:52)
  11. 11 If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight) (3:41)
  12. 12 Shine (3:25)
  13. 13 When It's Sleepy Time Down South (3:24)
  14. 14 Dixie Rhythm (2:34)
  15. 15 Body and Soul (3:08)
  16. 16 Tiger Rag (2:15)
  17. 17 Central Avenue Breakdown (3:04)
  18. 18 T-Bone Blues (3:16)
  19. 19 Jump for Joy (4:18)
  20. 20 Blues on Central Avenue - Freddie Slack Trio (2:38)
  21. 21 Benny's Bugle @@Lee & Lester Young's Orchestra (3:50)
  22. 22 Flying Home (3:14)
  23. 23 Mean Old World (2:54)
  24. 24 Jumpin' in the Groove (4:03)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Straighten up and Fly Right (2:25)
  2. 2 The Man I Love (3:21)
  3. 3 Body and Soul (3:20)
  4. 4 I Wonder (3:40)
  5. 5 The Honeydripper Pts. 1 & 2 (6:37)
  6. 6 Swingin' the Boogie (2:51)
  7. 7 That's My Desire (2:44)
  8. 8 Harlem Nocturne (3:01)
  9. 9 Driftin' Blues (3:15)
  10. 10 Tutti Frutti - Slim Gaillard & His Boogiereeners (2:46)
  11. 11 Laguna (2:43)
  12. 12 Soothe Me (2:58)
  13. 13 Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin' (2:36)
  14. 14 These Foolish Things - Lester Young (3:10)
  15. 15 R.M. Blues - Roy Milton & His Solid Senders (2:58)
  16. 16 Groovin' High (3:07)
  17. 17 Bugle Call Rag (3:09)
  18. 18 Ornithology - Charlie Parker Sextet (3:01)
  19. 19 A Night in Tunisia - Charlie Parker Sextet (3:03)
  20. 20 Jump Call (3:37)
  21. 21 Bedspread - Charles Mingus (3:04)
  22. 22 Pipe Dream - Lady Will Carr (3:15)
  23. 23 Smooth Sailing (2:36)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Dialated Pupils (2:33)
  2. 2 Up in Dodo's Room (3:11)
  3. 3 Crusin' with Cab (3:12)
  4. 4 Dissonance in Blues (2:57)
  5. 5 Mischievous Lady (2:32)
  6. 6 The Chase (6:48)
  7. 7 Chromatic Aberration (2:48)
  8. 8 Bikini (3:38)
  9. 9 I Thought About You (2:45)
  10. 10 Fine Brown Frame (2:56)
  11. 11 Stormy Monday (3:01)
  12. 12 Red Top (3:06)
  13. 13 Ain't Nobody's Business (2:55)
  14. 14 Big Fine Girl (2:31)
  15. 15 Blues in Teddy's Flat (3:03)
  16. 16 Teardrop Blues (2:57)
  17. 17 Hop, Skip and Jump (2:35)
  18. 18 So Tired (3:12)
  19. 19 It's April (2:54)
  20. 20 Collette (2:14)
  21. 21 Blues After Hours - Pee Wee Crayton (2:30)
  22. 22 Mingus Fingers (3:04)
  23. 23 These Foolish Things (3:18)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Sippin' with Cisco (4:55)
  2. 2 Gassin' the Wig (2:47)
  3. 3 Little Wig (2:38)
  4. 4 Double Crossing Blues - Johnny Otis Quartet (2:49)
  5. 5 Pink Champagne (3:01)
  6. 6 Move (9:46)
  7. 7 Please Send Me Someone to Love (2:54)
  8. 8 Black Night (3:08)
  9. 9 Money Blues (2:30)
  10. 10 Deacon's Hop (2:49)
  11. 11 Sweet and Lovely (3:15)
  12. 12 Farmer's Market (2:47)
  13. 13 Lover Man (2:21)
  14. 14 East of the Sun (2:44)
  15. 15 Thrust (2:50)
  16. 16 3-D (2:43)
  17. 17 Nervous Man, Nervous (2:33)
  18. 18 Too Marvelous for Words (3:00)
  19. 19 Lover Man (6:37)
  20. 20 The Champ (4:57)
  21. 21 De Silva Wig (4:31)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Charles Brown Track Performer
Percy Mayfield Track Performer
Big Joe Turner Track Performer
Dexter Gordon Track Performer
Wardell Gray Track Performer
Big Jay McNeely Track Performer
Charles Mingus Track Performer
Frank Morgan Track Performer
Jelly Roll Morton Track Performer
Kid Ory Track Performer
Art Tatum Track Performer
Lucky Thompson Track Performer
Gerald Wiggins Track Performer
Lester Young Tenor Saxophone
Ernie Andrews Track Performer
Blackbirds Track Performer
Hadda Brooks Track Performer
Cecil Gant Track Performer
Nellie Lutcher Track Performer
Slim Gaillard Track Performer
T-Bone Walker Track Performer
Solid Senders Track Performer
Louis Armstrong Track Performer
Benny Carter Track Performer
Nat King Cole Track Performer
Duke Ellington Track Performer
Little Esther Track Performer
Camille Howard Track Performer
Charlie Parker Track Performer
Roy Porter Track Performer
Jimmy Witherspoon Track Performer
Benny Carter & His Orchestra Track Performer
Dexter Gordon Quartet Track Performer
Gerald Wilson Orchestra Track Performer
Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra Track Performer
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra Track Performer
Roy Milton & His Solid Senders Track Performer
Teddy Edwards Quartet Track Performer
Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers Track Performer
Johnny Moore's Three Blazers Track Performer
Jimmy Liggins & His Drops of Joy Track Performer
Johnny Otis & His Orchestra Track Performer
Freddie Slack Trio Track Performer
Johnny Otis Quartet Track Performer
Buddy Collette Quartet Track Performer
Dexter Gordon Quintet Track Performer
Howard McGhee Sextet Track Performer
Lucky Thompson Quartet Track Performer
Charlie Parker Septet Track Performer
Slim Gaillard Quartet Track Performer
Wilbert Barranco Orchestra Track Performer
Wilbert Barranco Trio Track Performer
Joe Liggins & His Orchestra Track Performer
Technical Credits
Charles Brown Composer
Johnny Otis Composer
Jimmy Liggins Composer
Dizzy Gillespie Composer
Benny Goodman Composer
Dexter Gordon Composer
Wardell Gray Composer
Lionel Hampton Composer
James P. Johnson Composer
Big Jay McNeely Composer
Charles Mingus Composer
Lucky Thompson Composer
Gerald Wilson Composer
Eddie Edwards Composer
Nick LaRocca Composer
Irving Mills Composer
Cecil Gant Composer
Howard McGhee Composer
Slim Gaillard Composer
T-Bone Walker Composer
Jack Pettis Composer
Lew Brown Composer
Nat King Cole Composer
Henry Creamer Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Benny Harris Composer
Frank Paparelli Composer
Charlie Parker Composer
Avery Parrish Composer
Henry W. Ragas Composer
Tony Sbarbaro Composer
Elmer Schoebel Composer
Larry Shields Composer
Paul Francis Webster Composer
J. Mayo Williams Composer
Billy Meyers Composer
Harry Link Composer
Jack Strachey Composer
Ford Dabney Composer
Holt Marvell Composer
Sydney Robin Composer
Jessie Mae Robinson Composer
Benjamin Franklin Spikes Composer
Raymond Leveen Composer
Cecil Mack Composer
John Spikes Composer
Guadalupe Cartiero Composer
Harry Da Costa Composer
Johnny Moore's Three Blazers Composer
Eddie Williams Composer
Sid Kuller Composer
Dwight Davis Composer
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