Symposium to Celebrate West Coast Jazz


Jazz thrived in Southern California beginning in 1945, when clubs on Central Avenue and in Hollywood were presenting such greats as Charlie Parker, Art Tatum and Nat King Cole. Business stayed strong until the late ‘50s, when the number of happening clubs began to dwindle to a handful and the West Coast jazz scene began to dry up.

“It was great,” recalls Bill Holman, who was active during the ‘50s as a composer, arranger, tenor saxophonist and bandleader. “All of a sudden this West Coast jazz thing took off and it was a good time to be here. For a few years, it looked like jazz was going to go on forever,” he says with a laugh.

That robust era will be celebrated Oct. 27-30 when KLON-FM presents “Jazz West Coast,” a four-day symposium of concerts, discussions and films at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Redondo Beach and at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.


The formidable lineup of performers includes Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, Shorty Rogers, Buddy Collette, Gerald Wilson, Harold Land, Herb Geller, Charlie Haden, Bud Shank, Conte Candoli and Holman.

Among the 17 concerts at the event, which is produced by KLON’s Ken Poston, will be a look at Stan Kenton’s “Innovations in Modern Music” band from 1950-51, “Central Avenue Revisited” with Collette and Al McKibbon, and “The Lighthouse All-Stars Revisited.”

“That will be more like one of the afternoon sessions at the (Lighthouse) so we’ll use a lot of the musicians who played there, among them Jimmy Giuffre, Shorty (Rogers), Bud (Shank) and Conte (Candoli),” Poston says.

In addition, the bash will host two premieres: saxophonist-composer Geller’s musical “Playing Jazz,” roughly based on his life; and a work by Holman for his orchestra.

Tickets for the four-day event, priced at $250, are on sale now through KLON. Information: (310) 985-5566.

New Venues: Artists who like a backbeat and employ R&B; and pop aspects in their music now have two more rooms to ply their wares: Joseph’s Restaurant and Lounge (6531 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles) and Deja Vu Jazz & Blues Bar & Lounge (224 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale).

Joseph’s, located in the structure that was part of the Hungry Tiger and then Reuben’s chains, has an intimate lounge where owner Joseph Abraham presents contemporary jazz artists such as saxophonist Sonya Jason and guitarist Phil Upchurch, who performs tonight and Saturday. Saxman Paul Russo currently performs Sundays, Jason on Wednesdays, and there’s a jam session on Tuesdays. No cover for music Sundays through Thursdays, when shows start at 9 p.m. (except Sundays, 8 p.m.). Cover varies for Friday and Saturday shows, which are at 9:30 and 11 p.m. Menu features steaks and seafood. Information: (310) 645-2891.

Deja Vu, located in the Charles Billiards complex, presents a variety of music, with jazz on tap two to three nights a week. “We like jazz, because people come to listen,” says Jack Guiragosian, Deja Vu’s manager. The 90-seat room hosts singer Ann Farnsworth on Saturday at 9:30 p.m., and guitarist Doug MacDonald on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Continental cuisine is served. No cover for music, but a two-drink minimum is enforced. Information: (818) 547-3947.

Critic’s Choices: Walter Norris, one of the true masters of modern jazz piano, is in town for his yearly sojourn from his home in Berlin. He’ll give the keyboard a good going over tonight and Saturday at the Club Brasserie in the Hotel Bel-Age, (310) 854-1111, and join trumpeter-singer Jack Sheldon for a quartet at Catalina Bar & Grill on Monday, (213) 466-2210. . . .

Patrice Rushen offers her zesty version of acoustic trio jazz tonight at Lunaria, (310) 282-0502, while Cecilia Coleman’s effervescent quintet plays tonight and Saturday at Atlas Bar & Grill, (213) 380-8400.

The B Sharp Jazz Quartet plays Saturday, 5-6 p.m., at the Americas Stage, African Marketplace and Cultural Faire, Rancho Cienega Park, 5001 Rodeo Road. Free, $1 donation suggested. Information: (213) 237-1540.