News & Updates — Los Angeles

Bruce Palmer / Sept 9, 1946 - Oct 1, 2004

Bruce Palmer / Sept 9, 1946 - Oct 1, 2004

One of the great left-field albums came from former Buffalo Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer, with his seemingly unmarketable (at the time) Eastern-tinged folk-jazz oddity The Cycle Is Complete, released in 1970 on Verve to little fanfare and nearly no promotion. Palmer's only album as a leader, he was given complete artistic control only for him to come up with an unexpected psychedelic improvisational (almost in the realm of "spiritual-jazz" a la Pharoah Sanders) spacey folk record with members of Kaleidoscope, Caribbean percussionist Big Black and young Rick James (billed as "Rick Matthews"). Verve had no idea what to do with...

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Art Farmer / Aug 21, 1928 - Oct 4, 1999

Art Farmer / Aug 21, 1928 - Oct 4, 1999

Happy birthday to the great trumpet and flugelhorn player of bop and beyond, Art Farmer! A player of precise control and elegant brightness, he had a long and distinguished career that was creatively giving til the end. He grew up in Phoenix and tried out several instruments: piano, violin, tuba and cornet before settling on trumpet as a teenager. He started making his name on the Los Angeles scene of the '40s, working with his bassist twin brother Addison Farmer, Sonny Criss, Jay McShann, Roy Porter, Johnny Otis, Benny Carter, Gerald Wilson, Big Joe Turner, etc. In the early '50s...

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Sky Saxon / Aug 20, 1937 - June 25, 2009

Sky Saxon / Aug 20, 1937 - June 25, 2009

One of the great figures in early psychedelic rock, Sky Saxon and his band The Seeds were very influential on the West Coast garage rock scene. From Salt Lake City (govt name: Richard Marsh), he moved to Los Angeles and started recording doo-wop under the name of Little Richie Marsh in the early '60s before forming a band called The Soul Rockers. The Seeds started in '65 and "Pushin' Too Hard" was a big hit in '67. In the '70s he started hangin' with Father Yod and Source Family, producing music for the cult. Shortly before his death he collaborated with...

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Roy Porter / July 30, 1923 - Jan 24, 1998

Roy Porter / July 30, 1923 - Jan 24, 1998

Bop drummer Roy Porter was a heavy cat on the West Coast scene of the late '40s, famously recording with Charlie Parker and leading an forward-pointing big band that featured young musicians such as Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Art Farmer and others. Drugs destroyed his career but his '70s mini-comeback material remains sought after by funk collectors. A Colorado native, he went to college with Kenny Dorham in Texas. He was touring with Milt Larkin in '43 and landed in Los Angeles. His first recordings were with Howard McGhee in '45. In '46 he recorded with Bird for Dial (among...

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Eric Dolphy / June 20, 1928 - June 29, 1964

Eric Dolphy / June 20, 1928 - June 29, 1964

Has anybody ever said a bad thing about Eric Dolphy? One of the most respected jazz artists, even if he is not exactly a household name to casual jazz fans, any serious jazz head loves him, as well as every single musician that ever came into contact with him. He was known to give his last dollar to struggling musicians in gestures of kindness and compassion. He even gave so much to the groups he worked in that his own career as a leader was woefully brief. He was an amazing composer, improviser, alto saxophonist, flautist and pioneered the use...

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