Yesterday’s post about Charles Lloyd’s birthday brought this communiqué from vibraharpist and pianist Charlie Shoemake.
Thought you and your readers might get a chuckle out of this 1957 photo of Charles Lloyd and Charlie Shoemake appearing at the Lighthouse in a college jazz festival. The other players were George Stearns on bass and Don Joham on drums, two talented youngsters who eventually left music. The photo is now life-sized on the wall of the Lighthouse.
L to R: Stearns, Lloyd, Shoemake, Howard Rumsey, Joham
You know, back in 1957 Los Angeles was teeming with clubs where young up- and-coming musicians could play. Such a place was the Red Feather in South L.A. I was part of a house rhythm section that played there every night of the week. Charles Lloyd, who was a student at USC then, came often to sit in. One night he told us that the Lighthouse was having a college jazz festival and since he didn’t have anybody at USC who could play, asked if we would we play with him and represent USC. We did. Besides us, that festival had Charlie Haden, Les McCann, Mike Wofford, Johnny Guerin, Donald Sleet, and many more young players who went on to make their names in the jazz world. The L.A jazz scene back then—like the rest of the word, I guess—was VERY different.
By the way, the photo was taken by none other than the great drummer Stan Levey, who was then a member of the Lighthouse All-Stars. (Years later, Stan and his wife Angela became two of Sandi’s and my closest friends).
To my knowledge, Shoemake and Lloyd have never recorded together. Shoemake and Sandi—Mrs. Shoemake—have. Here they are, with Bill Holman conducting at the recording session for the 1991 Shoemake-Holman album Strollin’ .