The nightclub space at 5510 Hollywood Boulevard remained empty for ten months after Maynard Sloate closed Jazz City in March of 1957. It resumed operation as a jazz club in February of 1958 when it opened the doors as Jazz Cabaret. The new promoter of the club, Carl Greene, had the musical murals painted over to provide a neutral background for canvases by local artists. The ad lib columns (in quotes) in Down Beat usually made mention of what was happening at the new club, and Greene bought ad space in the Daily Mirror and News to announce jazz artists appearing at the new club.
The May 30, 1957 issue of Down Beat published a short article regarding the closing of Jazz City.
“One of Hollywood’s most prominent nitery operators has denied that sagging business forced him to sell out Jazz City, one of the west’s top booking spots for small jazz groups until it closed March 21.”
“Maynard Sloate, now part owner with Joe Abrahams and Gene Norman in the plush Crescendo, declared that biz was booming right up to closing night. “The only reason we sold out,” he said, “was that we wanted to put all our efforts into running the Crescendo. The closing of Jazz City has been interpreted as one of the real blows to jazz in the city. This is not true. Besides, the club never did hurt, and one of the main reasons was that we never got out of our depth in the prices of the acts we bought.”
“Sloate said he considered it would take about a year for jazz to “get back on its feet in the city,” and at that time, he continued, partner Joe Abrahams and he would “probably reopen Jazz City in another location.”
“NITERY NOTES: Welcome back, Jazz City—now known as Jazz Cabaret—at the same olde stand, Hollywood & Western. Booking is handled by David Axelrod, who signed the Buddy Collette quintet to open. Oscar Peterson trio, Diz’ small group, etc., come in later. Cabaret’s policy: No admission; no cover; no minimum. Whe-e-e-e-e!!”
“Sonny Rollins soon may come ‘way out west again to work the new Jazz Cabaret. Booker Dave Axelrod was dickering with the tenor man as we went to press . . .”
Sonny Rollins did come to the West Coast in 1958 for an appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Played gigs at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco.
Chico Hamilton had some new faces in his quintet at the beginning of 1958. The cornerstone of the quintet’s sound, Fred Katz on cello, departed the group for an offer from Decca to function in an A&R capacity for the label. The quintet’s multi-reed man, Paul Horn, was also reported in Down Beat to have left the quintet with Eric Dolphy taking his place. The Buddy Collette Quintet remained the feature attraction at Jazz Cabaret through February until the first of March when the Chico Hamilton Quintet settled in for a three week engagement. Art Pepper frequently dropped by on Thursdays when Howard Lucraft was hosting Jazz International. Pepper was the featured combo in June with vocalist Adele Francis.
Shelly Manne and His Men followed the Chico Hamilton Quintet engagement in late March and in April vocalist Ruth Price was added to the bill. Shelly’s current line-up included Stu Williamson, Charlie Mariano, Russ Freeman and Monty Budwig.
Like Art, Man
“Fine art paintings are becoming increasingly familiar as decor in some of the better jazz rooms on the west coast. The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, has long featured original oils, mostly by Rodney Bacon; during The Tiffany’s last days as a jazz club, many paintings were hung in exhibition.”
“Extending this alliance between painting and jazz, both the Lighthouse and Hollywood’s Jazz Cabaret club are now initiating regular exhibitions with the aid of professionals in the art gallery field.”
“Guiding light behind the Cabaret’s art program is painter Rod Alger, whose work has been shown at various locations in the Los Angeles area. Alger wants the Cabaret “. . . to be a showcase for the talents of a group of artists to which I belong. Our paintings are directly influenced by jazz music,” he explains, “and we trust they point in the same esthetic direction.”
“The basic idea behind our exhibition at the Cabaret,” he continues, “is simply for artists to be shown in as many diversified places as possible while keeping the prices of the pictures as low as possible.” Paintings at the Cabaret range in price from around $40 to $100.”
“Among the artists currently exhibiting at the club are Alger himself, Anthony Scibella (whose huge Nothin’ But Trouble And the Blues abstract dominates the bandstand), Rick Vallin, Saul White, Charles Newman, Alan Francis, Sam Dixon, and David Axelrod.”
“NITERY NOTES: The alive-and-kickin’ Church Marlowe band plays four nights a week at the Club Sirocco on Lankershim . . . Carl Greene, operator of Jazz Cabaret, where Shelly Manne and His Men opened March 26, may set aside Monday nights to audition “Jazz Stars of The Future.” Groups judged best by audience ballot may win an engagement at the spot . . . Cosmo Alley introduced Tuesday evenings of poetry and jazz with Bob Dorough, piano; Bill Holman, tenor; Ralph Pena, bass, and Dennis Budimir, guitar, providing the music. Frank Evans reads the poetry selections April 22 . . .”
“NITERY NOTES: Recession or no, the town’s back to three jazz rooms—Jazz Cabaret, Terri Lester’s Jazz cellar, and the Vermillion Jazz club. The cabaret is the only spot on a six-night schedule, though. Terri Lester’s jumps till 5 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.”
“Get to the Cabaret early Thursdays for Howard Lucraft’s stereo jazz tape recital till 9 p.m. After that, it’s live stuff on the Jazz International weekly program . . . And by all means make the swinging La Chris club on S. Avalon, where Jimmy Robinson, trumpet; Harold Land, tenor; Ernie Crawford, piano; Dave Bryant, bass, and Frank Butler, drums, brighten the nights. This group should be recorded.”
“NITERY NOTES: Harry Babasin’s Jazzpickers opened April 22 at the Ventura Inn (on Ventura Blvd.) with Dempsey Wright featured on guitar and fiddle . . . The Barney Kessel quartet seemed set at press-time to open at Jazz Cabaret April 23. Jazz International continues at the spot Thursday nights . . . Tenorist Teddy Edwards joined the Jazz Disciples at the east L.A. Digger. The rhythm section comprises Harry “Dutch” Pons, piano; Bob Whitlock, bass, and Joe Ross, drums . . . The Four Freshmen currently are doing a quickie at the Crescendo. Their nine-day stint began May 9.”
“The Mel Lewis-Bill Holman quintet (with Jack Sheldon, Jimmy Rowles and Wilfred Middlebrooks) opened Terri Lester’s Jazz Cellar on Las Palmas April 25 for a month. Terri sells jazz and classical LP’s in the lobby . . . Roy Sannella’s new Royal Room, within spittin’ distance from Terri Lester’s, started a new policy featuring Joe Darensbourg’s Dixie Flyers Monday through Saturday; Sunday Charleston Nights with Bob McKracken and afternoon dances Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with Pat Brady’s trio . . .”
“Paul Bley brought his quartet back to the Hillcrest (on Washington, near La Brea) while he cuts another LP for GNP Records. Working the room through May and June will be Bley, piano; Dave Pike, vibes; Charlie Haden, bass, and Lennie McBrowne, drums . . . Pianist Joyce Collins’ trio (Bob Berteaux, bass; Gene Estes, vibes and drums) returned to Palm Springs’ Desert Inn.”
“NITERY NOTES: Bluesy Barbara Dane went into the 400 Club . . . The Virgil Gonsalves sextet from San Francisco followed Hampton Hawes’ trio into Jazz Cabaret the 15th, making the stand its first Hollywood appearance. Hawes possibly was scheduled to return the 29th supplemented by Harold Land’s tenor.”
The Gonsalves sextet was getting good press during their engagement at San Francisco’s Blackhawk. The sextet included Danny Patiris on tenor, Mike Downs on trumpet, Terry Hilliard on bass, Arthur Fletcher on piano and Bobby Fuhlrodt on drums.
The Art Pepper Quartet appeared briefly at Jazz Cabaret with vocalist Adele Francis, an engagement that missed being noted in the ad lib column.
“H. Lucraft’s Thursday night Jazz International bashes continue to grow apace. . . Paul Horn-Fred Katz quintet returned to the Digger the 23rd and 24th. Curtis Counce’s quintet was due into the east L.A. spot the 30th and 31st. . . Calvin Jackson’s facile piano is being well supported by Don Payne’s bass at the Keynoter on Santa Monica Blvd. Jackson is now music director on KNXT-TV’s Dress Blues Sunday jazz show. . . Piano picker Jess Stacy moved into Pappy’s at Rodee Rad and La Cienega.”
“JAZZNOTES: The Hi-Lo’s blast off for Europe Sept. 14. They’ll play three weeks in England followed by gigs in France, Sweden, Italy, and Germany including an appearance at the Stuttgart festival Oct. 20.”
“Lennie Niehaus and Bill Perkins broke in their new quartet at Howard Lucraft’s Jazz International at Jazz Cabaret where they were booked for a couple of weeks. Red Kelly is the bassist and Jack Davenport, the drummer; in addition to playing reeds, Lennie doubles piano . . .”
“While groovy Ernestine Anderson worked Jazz Cabaret in a two-week starter engagement, the singer cut a stereotape date for Dave Hubert’s Omegatape aided by Buddy Collette, Red Callender, Gerry Wiggins, and Dick Marx. Her Mercury album, Hot Cargo, recorded in Sweden with Harry Arnold’s band, is now in release.”
Ernestine Anderson’s engagement at Jazz Cabaret stretched into July. She was initially backed by the Leroy Vinnegar Quartet when she opened at the club in mid June. The Buddy Collette Quintet replaced the Vinnegar combo at the end of June. Vinnegar’s quartet during this time included Teddy Edwards, Walter Norris and Ron Jefferson.
Anderson was the featured vocalist on Bobby Troup’s Stars of Jazz television program on June 30 where she was backed by Gerald Wiggins and two members of Cal Tjader’s Quintet, Al McKibbon and Willie Bobo. Stars of Jazz was a popular program with Los Angeles jazz fans and her appearance on the show was a motivating factor in her extended stay at the club.
Curtis Counce’s Quintet had recently recorded an album for the Dootone label with Rolf Ericson, Harold land, Elmo Hope and Frank Butler. The last combo to back Ernestine Anderson in mid July was Shorty Rogers and His Giants. Shorty had also appeared on Stars of Jazz on the June 2nd program with his big band. The Giants included Richie Kamuca and Mel Lewis, regulars on Shorty’s big band during this time.
“NITERY NOTES: Terry Lester is proving that you don’t have to sell booze to do a good jazz club business. Nonetheless, she’s got a beer license upcoming soon. The very swinging house group is at Terri’s Jazz Cellar Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, Mike Davenport’s Sunday afternoon teen bashes are still going strong . . . Howard Lucraft is presenting poetry and jazz readings by actor Gregg Roman as part of his regular Thursday night Jazz International meetings at Jazz Cabaret where the Buddy Collette quintet just closed a successful two-weeker.”
“NITERY NOTES: Jazz Cabaret, reduced to operating Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (with Sunday buffet dinner in the early eve), scheduled the Curtis Counce quintet with Harold Land. Thursday’s Jazz International meetings, helmed by Howard Lucraft, continue to draw well . . . Gerry Mulligan may open at the Sunset Strip’s Largo sometime in August. If it happens it may stir new jazz interest in that part of town.”
David Axelrod’s background in music was gained while he was growing up in South Central Los Angeles where jazz and rhythm & blues permeated the neighborhood. The Jazz Cabaret job afforded Axelrod the opportunity to make lasting friendships with jazz musicians who would foster his career in music. One of his first successes was recording Harold Land and Dupree Bolton on the Hi-Fi Jazz album, The Fox.
Carl Greene cut back his hours of operation in June setting up a four day operation schedule from Thursday through Sunday. Additional cuts were made with the Thursday night limited to Howard Lucraft and his Jazz International program with the occasional collegiate group featured for live entertainment. The Buddy DeFranco Quintet was booked for a two week run at the club in mid August.
“NITERY NOTES: The Royal Room succumbed; the place just couldn’t make it with Dixieland . . . So, the Nappy LaMare-Ray Bauduc Riverboat Dandies transferred to Happy Koomer’s 400 Club—just in time to save the place from the strippers . . . Rolf Ericson’s new quintet opened at Terri Lester’s Jazz Cellar, playing Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The personnel: Ericson, trumpet; Walter Benton, tenor; Lorraine Geller, piano; Bill Pickins, bass; Will Bradley Jr., drums . . . Booking uncertainty seems to be the order of the evening at Jazz Cabaret. Groups play weekends only, plus Howard Lucraft’s Jazz International Thursdays, but are not booked far enough in advance to be listed in this space.”
“NITERY NOTES: Rolf Ericson’s quintet continues at Terri Lester’s Jazz Cellar where beer is now on tap. Operation was cut to Friday and Saturday eliminating Mike Davenport’s Thursday Cellar Jazz Society . . . Jess Stacy found a new piano stool at Nicky’s Harlequin, 224 S. Beverly Dr., BevHills . . . Jim Thornton’s powerful verse is proving to be a main attraction at Howard Lucraft’s Jazz International meets at Jazz Cabaret on Thursday eves. Whatever group happens to be on stand supplies the jazz background . . . The swap deal between Hollywood’s Hotel Vermillion and Long Beach’s Lafayette has S. Manne traded for B. Shank weekends.”
Shorty Rogers and His Giants followed Buddy Collette’s engagement on September 18 for a three week stay at Jazz Cabaret until they were replaced on October 9 by the Gerald Wiggins Trio. Singer Sherri Rogers performed with Shorty’s group, an impromptu and unadvertised bonus for patrons that evening. Shorty Rogers Giants included Richie Kamuca on tenor sax, Buddy Clark on bass, Mel Lewis on drums and Pete Jolly on piano.
“Recent appearances of the Modern Jazz Sextet from Houston, Texas, at Howard Lucraft’s Jazz International sessions in Jazz Cabaret attracted some attention. Average age of the collegiate sidemen is 19 years . . . Reedman Bill Green took a group into Ollie Jackson’s Club Intime with Marl Young, piano; Billy Hadnott, bass, and Melvin Young, trumpet . . . ADDED NOTES: Don Bagley’s new Dot album features young French hornist, Tony Loy. Shelly Manne and Jimmy Rowles round out the personnel.”
David Axelrod booked another combo to follow Gerald Wiggins’ month long gig at Jazz Cabaret. The Jimmy Giuffre 3 with Bob Brookmeyer and Jim Hall were the featured instrumental group on Bobby Troup’s Stars of Jazz on the October 27 program. Giuffre’s trio had previously appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival on October 4th where Bobby Troup was the emcee for the Saturday night performances.
“DOTTED NOTES: Jazz International, which swings each Thursday night at Jazz Cabaret, is running a contest among the faithful, the prizes being a pair of free three-day-and-night ducats to Monterey’s bash.”
“NITERY NOTES: Jack Rose and Tommy Bee of KBLA’s Voice of Jazz took over booking the groups for the Vermillion Jazz Club. Their first offering: a quintet comprising Dexter Gordon, tenor; Joe Gordon, trumpet; Walter Norris, piano; Max Bennett, bass, and Richie Goldberg, drums.”
“IN PERSON: The Stan Kenton band is set to play the Crescendo during Christmas and New Year’s . . . Looks like Shorty Rogers’ Giants will remain the permanent group at Jazz Cabaret Thursdays through Sundays. Richie Kamuca is now Shorty’s tenor man . . . Thanks to unceasing nightly promotion over KBLA’s Voice Of Jazz, the Sunday Jazz Scene at the Strip’s Renaissance has become the session of the week. Bob Dorough’s Jazz Envoys is the anchor group . . . Pianist Freddie Gambrell and bassist Ben Tucker are in their fourth month at the Sticky Wicket in Santa Cruz, 74 miles from San Francisco . . . Jonah Jones’ only west coast appearance was at a Concerts, Inc., concert with the Dave Brubeck quartet and Buddy Collette quintet at Santa Monica Civic auditorium the 14th.”
“IN PERSON: Only jazz club left in Hollywood area, Jazz Cabaret, still operates on a four-night-a-week policy, with a name group chosen at the last moment . . . Rene Touzet returned as regular band in the Crescendo . . . You can catch the Four Freshmen on the Jazz for Moderns tour during the entire month of November anywhere between Boston, Mass. (Oct. 31), Iowa City, Iowa (Nov. 12), and Philadelphia, Pa. (Nov. 23).”
Shorty Rogers closed out the club that ceased operation at the end of December 1958.