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Jazz's Memory Lane

September 25, 1987

As a chronicler of pop music and the local jazz scene for the Los Angeles Mirror-News during the decade of the '50s, and for The Times' Calendar section for a while later, Zan Stewart's article on jazz clubs was a trip down memory/melody lane ("All This Jazz," Sept. 19).

It brought back reminders of all the clubs mentioned, as well as some others fondly remembered, such as:

-- The Oasis on Western at about 36th, which periodically booked top jazz attractions. The small room with its low ceiling was a perfect place to hear Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars (Earl "Fatha" Hines, Barney Bigard, Trummy Young, Jack Teagarden), but one risked temporary deafness when Stan Kenton unleashed his roaring dissonance.

-- The Swanee Inn on La Brea, which hosted the Nat King Cole Trio (in pre-stardom days) and where Slim Gaillard and his trio showed they could be more innovative and listenable than he was on the dippy "Cement Mixer" novelty for which he was best known.

-- A number of supper clubs, including the Encore on La Cienega at Melrose, the Saratoga in Hollywood, the Melody Room on the Sunset Strip and a spot in the San Fernando Valley which distant memory seems to recall as the China Trader.

-- The Red Feather at 88th and Figueroa streets which booked vocalists primarily.

Trios dispensed tasty jazz around this circuit, led by such distinguished performers as Georgie Auld, Bobby Troup, Mel Henke and including one of the all-time combos blending the artistry of Red Norvo on vibes, Tal Farlow on guitar and Charlie Mingus on bass.

ROGER BECK

Sherman Oaks

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