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Come On Down To Central Avenue: Jazz In Mid-20th Century L.A.

Central Avenue 1940s

Central Avenue: the "main stem" of L.A.'s African-American community in the 1940s.

In this program we explore the sounds of the mid-20th-century Los Angeles jazz scene with historian Steve Isoardi, editor of the oral history book Central Avenue Sounds.

Jam sessions, bebop, r & b, big bands, visits from Hollywood celebrities; as the center of African-American culture in L.A., Central Avenue had it all. We'll hear the music of artists such as:

  • Dexter Gordon
  • Howard McGhee
  • Hadda Brooks
  • Charles Mingus
  • Gerald Wilson
  • Lionel Hampton

and other jazz greats who got their start on the Avenue or spent significant time there. With Mr. Isoardi as our guide, we'll also take a verbal stroll through the vibrant streets of the Central Avenue neighborhood circa 1945.

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