The Jazzcat

The 9th Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival

by on Aug.03, 2004, under News


Additional Photos

Short video Clip of Gerald Wilson and the crowd

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.


Many a lover of the music shared friendship, music and a

great time on Central Avenue

on this fine weekend in July. Jose Riso and James Janise, of the jazz station

here in Los Angeles,

were on hand as the Masters of Ceremonies. Central Avenue will never lose it’s

importance or be forgotten. The spirit of the music lives on forever. You and I

will never let it die!

LeRoy Downs

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