AS A JOURNALIST, I was lucky enough to spend lots of time with Buddy Collette, the jazz composer, bandleader and woodwind player who was also a native to this shapeshifting place, Los Angeles. I learned so much from Buddy about L.A. and its music scene. He was instrumental in helping to integrate the Local 47 Musicians’ Union. As well, he spent decades performing in clubs and classrooms, educating new generations about jazz and the role of Central Avenue in that story.
Jack’s Basket Room
Buddy was the first person to introduce me to Jack’s Basket Room. He referred to it “Jack’s Basket.” It was an after-hours club on South Central Avenue. Low key, large room with a simple stage where local musicians as well as those who were traveling through town, would stop by for a gig. One of the first stories Buddy told me over lunch at Nibbler’s (“Where every table is a booth”) was about Charlie Parker’s famous post-Camarillo gig at Jack’s. He was in attendance. Sitting down in front. If you were in town and were a musician, you needed to be there to bear witness.
Up until a few years ago, the shell of Jack’s still stood. You could drive by it and imagine what it was like to see a cluster of musicians lingering outside hoping to hear the great Bird let loose.
My new piece about the club and what happened with the building is now up at Alta. Click here to see what the old spot looked like and read Buddy’s words about what it was like to sit there and be transported by the music.
ANTHONY WILSON is a guitarist and composer and a native Angeleno, who has always dug deep into his creative reserves to ask big questions and explore new territory. I’m deeply impressed by his fluidity and openness to the blind curves of creativity.
Anthony Wilson taking CicLAvia Break at Union Station
For his new work, Songs and Photographs, Wilson created an “album” in the purest sense: A collection of musical compositions and photographs meant to be taken as a whole and that travel across space and through moods.
I reviewed the collection for KPCC’s The Frame. As well, you can read the text, which went up on here on LAist this week.
Wilson will be performing this Monday evening. For more information and reservations, click here.
THIS WAS incredible news! The in-depth essay I researched and wrote for this beautiful box set, won the Best Album Notes Grammy yesterday. I am still over the moon, especially because it was a project that set its larger goal as getting all three nights — and all sets — of Redding’s run at the Whisky A Go Go that April 1966 in pristine listening shape for the world to hear.
Redding was poised to take the next big step in his career and looked at L.A. as not a stepping stone but a launching pad. These recordings reveal his enthusiasm, prowess and charm.
Here’s a little more here about the set.
And this from the LAT about the Grammy win.
THE OTHER big news really came out of the blue.
I wrote the album notes for the fancy re-issue of Otis Redding Live at the Whisky A Go Go and got the news that the essay received a Grammy nomination. To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I’m really happy that it puts Redding’s legacy in the spotlight. Truly gone too soon.
Here’s a short reaction interview that appeared on the Angel City Press site.
Awards announced this year in New York City, January 28.
THIS IS way back to a Los Angeles of beautiful memory. KCET hosting Leon Russell in “The Homewood Sessions”
Shelter People & Wrecking Crew. Safe Journey.