It may have been news to many that there was a trace of jazz left anywhere on AM radio, but that doesn’t make a report from Los Angeles easier to take. Here’s the lead paragraph from Kirk Silsbee’s story in today’s L.A. Times.
A silence has descended on Los Angeles’ AM radio band. On April 2, KABC’s longtime morning man, Doug McIntyre (pictured), acquiesced to his management’s request that he no longer program jazz. Although he hosts a current events show 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays, McIntyre represented the last vestige of AM jazz, with his variety of big band bumper music, full songs and on-air interviews of jazz personalities.
The station apparently sees jazz as hindering its bid for a wider audience. In its place, rock music now serves as McIntyre’s bumper music.
To read the whole story of the corporate karate chop to jazz, go here.
Staying with Los Angeles, archivist Jim Harrod has a new blog devoted to the history of Pacific Jazz, the Southern California label that did much to make west coast jazz famous. The two installments so far profile Richard Bock, who founded the label. They cover Bock’s early involvement with Discovery Records, his work at the club called Haig and the advent of Pacific Jazz. There are photographs of Dizzy Gillespie, Art Pepper, Hampton Hawes and others, pages from PJ catalogs and lots of record labels, like the one on the right, that are likely to induce ripples of nostalgia. To see Harrod’s most recent post, click here. Scroll down to part one to get to the early history.
Before Bock moved to Los Angeles, before west coast jazz became a category, there was plenty of substantial jazz activity on the lower left coast. On the periphery of much of it, and sometimes at the center, was the pianist, guitarist, singer and protohipster Slim Gaillard (1916-1991). He had a duo, Slim and Slam, with bassist Slam Stewart. In 1938, the success of their “Flat Foot Floogie” made them famous on radio and jukeboxes. If you can’t bring Gaillard to mind, think “vout” and “oroony,” words that enriched the language. Gaillard moved to L.A. in the early 1940s, appeared in several movies and played in clubs including Billy Berg’s. His musicianship and verve attracted artists beyond the arena of novelty and comedy in which he primarily operated. They included Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, who appeared as guest soloists on a few of Gaillard’s recordings, including this one.
Here is Slim Gaillard as guest performer on a television program, presumably in L.A. If you have more information about it let us know by way of a comment.
Finally in this west coast wig bubble, here’s a link to a piece from Oregon Music News, written by old pal Jack Berry, who was desperate for a column idea.