If the term "West Coast Jazz" conjures up images of cool blowing golden boys like Chet Baker
, Gerry Mulligan
, and Stan Getz
, it's more than understandable. These were the artists who got the publicity, and the subsequent sales. Although the cool players deserved all their success, theirs is not the only jazz story to come out of Los Angeles. From the 1920s through the '50s, L.A. was a hotbed of African-American music -- it's this creative ferment that CENTRAL AVENUE SOUNDS focuses on. From transplanted New Orleans pioneers (Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory) to swing giants (Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Nat King Cole, Lionel Hampton) to bop potentates (Charlie Parker
, Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon) to R&B masters (Johnny Otis, Big Jim McNeely, Roy Milton) to bluesmen (Jimmy Witherspoon, Charles Brown, Percy Mayfield, Pee Wee Crayton) and a host of top-flight individualists (Wardell Gray, Gerald Wilson, Lucky Thompson, Howard McGhee), this 4-CD set -- named for the main drag that housed L.A.'s best jazz clubs -- gives a panoramic view of a fertile music scene too long ignored. Split nicely between legendary performances, including Parker's "Night In Tunisia," Gordon's "Bikini," and Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love," and more obscure gems, CENTRAL AVENUE SOUNDS makes a great case for the "other" West Coast sound.