Barney Kessel Plays ‘Carmen’ // Barney Kessel (Contemporary S 7563)

It's Sunday, which means West Coast Jazz. Last week, a reader left a comment on a post mentioning (requesting?) Barney Kessel, a guitarist severely associated with all things West Coast. His comment brought on the realization that I haven't really spotlighted him at all in the many years I've run this humble blog, which is [...]

The Perfect Sunday Morning Soundtrack

As I write this, Vince Guaraldi's classic album 'Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus' is spinning on the turntable. "Moon River", to be specific. Guaraldi always did dig a good Mancini tune. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Some context is in order. For years now, I've gravitated towards playing that special brand (some would say [...]

Mort Sahl, The Jazzman’s Comedian

Yesterday, October 26th, the world of comedy lost one of its more original and trailblazing members when Mort Sahl passed away. At 94 years old, he had certainly seen a lot, and his acerbic wit and style of comedy was directed not only at daily observations and absurdities but at political figures. From the beginning [...]

Boss Sounds! // Shelly Manne (Atlantic SD 1469)

Driving a few miles north of Hermosa Beach, humming "Appointment In Ghana" as you motor along the Pacific Coast, you find yourself in Los Angeles, the first major city on your jazz journey. Being that this is the capitol of Southern California and its jazz mecca, there's almost too many options to choose from. LA [...]

The Jazz Crusaders At The Lighthouse // The Jazz Crusaders (Pacific Jazz PJ-57)

Leaving Laguna Beach for another beach, you travel almost an hour north towards to Los Angeles to the beach town of Hermosa Beach. Well, it's supposed to be about an hour, but the traffic makes it more like an hour and a half. Pulling into the parking lot of The Lighthouse Cafe, you hear the [...]

Lighthouse At Laguna // Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-Stars, Barney Kessel, & Hampton Hawes (Contemporary C3509)

If there's one thing that I and the Raggy Waltz staff love more than Brubeck and Desmond, it's starting blog series. Well, here's another one, inspired by the forced Coronacation we're all on. Here in the United States, at least, we're still under travel restrictions and social distancing regulations. As such, I thought it would [...]

The Chico Hamilton Special // Chico Hamilton (Columbia CL 1619)

Marching right along with the special Black History Month celebration, here's an album that I got early in my record-collecting career and one that shows how musically diverse black Americans could be, even in one style of music like jazz. In other words, here's an album from a fellow Californian and musical innovator, Chico Hamilton. [...]