The Pacific Jazz label was founded in June of 1952 by Dick Bock and Roy Harte. At the time Dick Bock was handling publicity and off night entertainment at The Haig, a small night club off Wilshire Boulevard at 638 South Kenmore. Bock had worked for Albert Marx’s Discovery Records from 1948-1951 where he would frequently visit the mailing address for the label at 6207 Santa Monica Boulevard, actually a pressing plant that handled all of the production for Discovery Records. After leaving Discovery Bock went back to Los Angeles City College and became an occasional contributor to Down Beat magazine where he would run into Roy Harte when visiting the building where the west coast office of Down Beat and Roy Harte’s drum shop were located.
Born New York, New York, May 27, 1924. Roy began drum lessons at age 10, and became a protege of Dave Tough at 13. While in high school Roy played drums with Muggsy Spanier and Dizzy Gillespie. After high school Roy went on the road and played drums with: Dick Norman Orchestra, Jerry Winner Orchestra, Henry Jerome Orchestra, Muggsy Spanier Orchestra, Jerry Wald Orchestra, Bobby Sherwood Orchestra, George Paxton Orchestra, Billie Holiday Orchestra, Boyd Raeburn Orchestra, Billie Rogers Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Ike Carpenter Orchestra, and the Stan Kenton All-Stars.
Roy Harte settled in Los Angeles in 1948 and opened his first drum shop at 6104 Santa Monica Boulevard. The west coast offices of Down Beat magazine and the Art Whiting Recording Studio were located in the same building at the corner of Gower and Santa Monica Boulevard. Roy’s new shop was an agent for W. F. L. Drums, Slingerland Drums, Gretsch Drums, Leedy & Ludwig Drums, Premier Drums, K. & A. Zildjian Cymbals.
Roy settled into studio work in addition to operating the drum shop and teaching drum rudiments, he recorded with: Vido Musso, 1947; Ziggy Elman, 1948; Les Brown, 1949; Dave Pell, 1949; Nappy Lamar, 1950; Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1950, 1951, 1952; Cliffie Stone, 1950, 1952; Kay Starr, 1951; Tennessee Ernie Ford & The Dinning Sisters, 1951; Tennessee Ernie Ford & Helen O’Connell, 1951; Stan Freberg, 1952; Skeets McDonald, 1952; Jimmy Bryant & Speedy West, 1952; Ella Mae Morse, 1952; Tex Ritter, 1952.
At one point Roy was so busy with studio work that he kept a basic drum kit at several recording studios so that he could respond to a call quickly.
I asked Roy about the distinctive Pacific Jazz logo that was introduced on the first PJ recordings. Roy said that he bought a stencil set from a dime store and composed the logo using that typeface. Roy could not recall what the stencil set or typeface was called and searches to match this typeface to known examples have failed.
In the spring of 1952 Roy Harte moved up the street to 6124 Santa Monica Boulevard where he and his partner, Remo Belli, named the new shop DRUM CITY. The first Pacific Jazz “office” was located in a converted practice room. As the label expanded the upstairs apartment would be turned into offices for Pacific Jazz and the affiliate branches of the label, Harbock for music publishing, Linear Publications for music score publishing, the west coast offices of Down Beat magazine (Roy Harte had persuaded Charlie Emge to move from the building at Gower and Santa Monica Boulevard at the same time that Roy moved) and in 1954 the offices of Nocturne Records would be upstairs as well when Roy and Harry Babasin launched their label.
The first part of this post covers all of the 78 RPM singles issued by Pacific Jazz including a drum demonstration single that Roy produced and the first pop single that was issued on the Pacifica label.
The second part covers the 45 RPM singles issued at the same time carrying the same release number preceded by a 45- as seen in the catalogue pages covering these releases.
Another partner in the new enterprise was Phil Turetsky, a trained CPA who also recorded live jazz in his spare time. The release on Pacifica features his wife, Michael Raine.
THE 45-600 SERIES – PART ONE
Not all releases on 78 RPM singles were issued as 45 RPM singles. The Al Haig Trio 45 single was not issued nor was the 45 EP that continued to be listed in Pacific Jazz catalogues.
AL HAIG TRIO 45-626 NOT ISSUED
CLIFFORD BROWN ENSEMBLE 45-627 LABEL IMAGES NEEDED
Over time I hope to post labels of every Pacific Jazz / World Pacific album that was released by the label. The next post will cover the 10″ LPs released by Pacific Jazz including the label of the Al Haig Trio that was pulled from release by Dick Bock.
There are some gaps in the collection and it is hoped that this publication will be seen by other PJ/WP collectors who can assist in filling those gaps. Contributors will be acknowledged for their additions to complete this listing of PJ/WP labels.