Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jazz CD Stores Are Alive and Well in Los Angeles

I am traveling this week on business so was not going to try to write an entry, especially given that I am traveling with my iPad and not my portable computer, which makes it harder to type an entry. But my Zagg keyboard is fabulous, and so is my trip through the independent music stores of LA.

I only have two evenings to prowl, so I made a point to find the two stores I knew best, Rockaway Records in Silver Lake and Amoeba Music in West Hollywood. And both are alive and well, a welcome change from my recent posts bemoaning the fates of Bleecker Bob's and Melody Records.

First I was in Silver Lake last night, and prowling the store I found a few discs to add to my collection. Rockaway Records has been in business since 1979 and sells new, used, and collector albums, cds, and other related music items. Evidently a lot of the business is centered around the collector merchandise, but the collection of vinyl and cds, both old and new, is excellent in all types of music. I spent $ 24.40 tax included, and purchased:

o Corea and Hancock, the second release from their famous duo concerts in 1978. This is the Polydor recording, which is very hard to find, and cost all of $ 2.99
o Claudio Roditi, Milestones, on Candid, with Paquito D'Rivera and Kenny Barron, recorded live at Birdland in 1990
o Bud Shank, This Bud's for You, on 32 Records, again with Kenny Barron, and also Ron Carter and Al Foster
o Frank Morgan, Listen to the Dawn, Antilles Records, 1996, with Kenny Burell, Ron Carter, and Grady Tate
o Misha Alperin, North Story, ECM, 1997

Tonight I hit Amoeba Music, the third store in the Amoeba family, which began in Berkeley and San Francisco before opening in West Hollywood. The store is a madhouse -- huge, with huge selections in every conceivable music genre. Vinyl and cds, new and old, were in every department. The Jazz section was huge and well stocked for almost any musician of note in particular, and with both old and new recordings for each. I spent $ 65.88 on 14 cds, or on average less than $ 5.00 per CD:

o Ella Fitzgerald, The Best of the Songbooks, Verve
o Jamie Ousley, A Sea of Voices, a 2012 disc dedicated to environmental causes
o Diana Krall, When I look in Your Eyes, Verve
o Elio Villafranca Quartet, with Eric Alexander, Dafnis Prieto, Yosvany Terry, Celba Tree Music -- Great sidemen with a piano leader, $ 2.99.
o Portico Quartet, Isla, Real World Records, 2009 -- A British group I am interested in hearing, and for a cost of $ 1.99, why not?
o Wessell Anderson, The Ways of Warmdaddy, Atlantic Jazz, 1997 -- Had to buy this. He is an outstanding alto and educator, and I met him on a flight from Detroit to New York and enjoyed talking with him.
o Martin Speake, The Journey, Black Box Records -- I have a lot of Martin Speake, who is a pretty well known sax player in the US and very well known in the UK where he is from. This sounds like it will be interesting -- his sidemen are playing Indian instruments including sitar and tabla.
o Marcus Printup, Nocturnal Traces, Blue Note, 1998 -- A nice trumpet player with a piano trio playing a number of standards
o Cecil Payne and Duke Jordan, Brooklyn Brothers, Prevue, 1974 -- With these two cats and Sam Jones and Al Foster, how can I miss?
o The Al Cohn and Zoot Sims Quintet, You and Me, Verve Master Edition -- Originally Mercury from 1960, another one that seems a sure thing.
o Clipper Anderson, The Road Home, Origin 2012 -- I am not sure this is even out yet but I had read good thinges already about it. Piano trio with a couple of vocals and added percussion on some tracks. I have a lot of good recordings from Origin and like the label.
o Vincent Herring, The Days of Wine and Roses, Music Masters 1996 -- A very under the radar player with great talent. Cyrus Chestnut on piano. A nice selection of standards.
o Denny Zeitlin and David Freisen,Live at the Jazz Bakery, Intuition 1999 -- I have a lot of Zeitlin and like them all, so why would this be any different?
o Joe Harriott, Killer Joe, Giant Steps Records -- Joe Harriott is a UK legend, a Jamaican- born alto sax virtuoso who unfortunately left us too soon. I am looking forward to hearing him on this compilation, which includes quartets, trios, and a number of big band recordings on which he was featured. He is credited with inspiring the new generation of players in the UK. This was my big purchase -- a two disc set for $ 9.99!

And I saw so much more. This is a greaat place for a treasure hunt for anyone living or visiting LA, and a must stop. I also enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with browsing with others, which you only get at a physical, non-internet setting. I heard of other stores as well to explore on my next visit, so the record store is alive and well in L.A.!

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