Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Jazz in the Modern Era" Turning 10

We take a lot for granted in Southern California.
We take the weather for granted. We take the ocean for granted.
And we take it for granted that in our midst we have a group
of legendary musicians and artists that play a music called jazz.
Chet Hanley

For the past decade, professor and historian Chet Hanley has been literally putting these words to music. He had hosted over 250 episodes (many of them 3 hours long) of Jazz in the Modern Era, (now archived on YouTube), a college curriculum course and jazz music television show broadcast from the campus of Cal-State Dominguez Hills (Locally, it airs Tuesdays, 9:00 - 10:30PM on Time-Warner Cable Channel 36, and online). And Chet's in good company: cornetist Bobby Bradford once taught at the Dominguez-Hills campus in the late-60's-early 70's. JITME viewers are encouraged to call in to speak with in-studio guests and discuss their favorite selections or artists.

Chet Hanley (L) with the great bassist John Heard
[photo courtesy of The Jazzcat]

Chet has featured jazz musicians, club owners, photographers, promoters, writers, historians and collectors from all over the country. But what makes his show so special is its documenting of the Southern California jazz scene: the show's archives amount to a massive treasure trove of local jazz history from Central Avenue to Leimert Park. Here's a recent show with the brilliant bassist Roberto Miguel Miranda:

Many of the writers, collectors and historians who stop by bring along rare performances of jazz greats, which makes it a terrific window into the tributaries of the SoCal jazz underground, who trade their wares they way Dave Matthews fans trade live bootlegs. And then there's Chet, an urbane and genial host with an encyclopedic knowledge of not just jazz history but poetry, boxing, photography and art. And, true to jazz, the show often goes in unexpected directions, like the time funk great Rick James made a call in to the live broadcast to argue a small point...or Big Jay McNeely phoning in to confirm that he wasn't dead.

Chet with childhood friend Jeffrey Winston on the JITME set.
Together, they have hosted the Leimert Park Jazz Festival
and 72 live oral-history interviews at The World Stage
[photo courtesy of The Jazzcat]

No comments:

Post a Comment