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Jazz West Coast

November 12, 1994

As one of the white males over age 50 who thoroughly enjoyed the four-day Jazz West Coast program, I want to commend Don Heckman for his comments about the inadequate participation by minority musicians, especially African Americans ("Jazz West Coast Could Use a Little Color," Nov. 3). The overwhelming whiteness of the program was so apparent it would have been a real oversight had Heckman not made note of it.

Sitting in the audience, I was reminded of two adults taking my jazz history class who stunned me when they said they had never before realized how significant African Americans have been in the development of this music. For all the fine accomplishments at this jazz convocation, an important opportunity was missed that I found ironic, considering the major contributions African Americans have made to jazz in general and on the West Coast in particular.


Beverly Hills


Heckman misses the whole point. Audiences over 50 and mainly white went to reminisce about those days of "cool" West Coast big-band music. We went because we wanted to hear it exactly "like it was." We went because we are Stan Kenton fans. We went to hear and see the original band members playing the original charts.

That's the way it was.

I attended the Eric Clapton concert at the Forum recently. The audience was mainly white and over 30. I didn't hear anyone ask why there weren't any Latinos, blacks or Asians in the band.


Los Angeles

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