April was designated Jazz Appreciation Month in 2001 by John Edward Hasse, curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. By 2002, it became an official annual event which celebrates jazz’s heritage and history as well as the current jazz scene that lives on to this day. This year’s theme celebrates women in jazz and this year’s featured musician is Ella Fitzgerald, in honor of her centennial birthday.
I currently work at a local library and suggested we put up a few Jazz Appreciation Month displays for the month of April. As such, I was in charge of creating the displays.
(Pictured here: first row, L to R – The Creole Palace nightclub in San Diego, Nordskog Recording Studios in Santa Monica, The Palomar Ballroom in Hollywood; second row, L to R – record label for Jazz Man Records, record label for the Spikes Brothers’ Sunshine label; third row, L to R – bassist Don Tosti, Johnny St. Cyr, Kid Ory, and Louis Armstrong playing on Disneyland’s Mark Twain Riverboat, Paul Howard’s Quality Serenaders.)
Early jazz history in Southern California was the topic of my undergraduate senior thesis, which I completed in June 2016. My thesis examined the history of early jazz in four distinct regions of Southern California: Downtown & South Los Angeles, Westside Los Angeles, Disneyland in Orange County, and San Diego. In the future I’d like to delve into even more regarding Southern California jazz, such as jazz in Hollywood films, and there is a lot more about women present in Southern California’s classic jazz scenes, jazz at the Disneyland Resort, and jazz in San Diego that I’d like to further research. As such, I plan on revisiting and building upon this research topic even more in my future studies.
Listen to the playlist HERE
Tracklist and information about the tracks:
It was a music very characteristic of its time, forever preserving the sound of Jazz Age Chicago on shellac records. But the Jazz Age could not live forever and Chicago’s role in the development of jazz could not always keep stranglehold of its power on the music. Jazz, especially, is a music that always moves, always evolves. And when the music moves on, it takes on a new form, it transforms into something new and something more timely for the new era.
And while it is a simple fact that change is inevitable and that pop culture will always shapeshift to better fit the times, this common fact of nature is not the lone force that brought the demise of Chicago-style jazz. Rather, alongside this natural change there were specific factors, societal and musical, that contributed to the fall of the Chicago-style and the rise of swing.