Check out insidejazz.com This site plays live jazz from all over the west coast and will give you an insight to different genre of jazz from the area
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Check out Shelly Manne and His Men Play Peter Gunn - the original version on the Contemporary label. Fantastic mid-sized combo playing Henri Mancini tunes that were written for the show. It's an early stereo recording that rivals anything you'd hear produced today. Truly a great, under-appreciated album. Even the ojc reissue cd sounds pretty good.
Zoot Sims "Hawthorne Nites" , "The L.A Four";Laurindo Almeida, Ray Brown, Shelly Mann, Bud Shank. Possibly Howard Rumsey's "Lighthouse Allstars";Shorty Rogers, Maynard Ferguson, Rolf Ericson, Stu Williamson, Conte Candoli, Milt Bernhart, Bob Enevoldsen, Frank Rosolino, Jimmy Giuffre, Bob Cooper, Bud Shank, Hampton Hawes, Marty Paich, Claude Williamson, Sonny Clark, Shelly Manne, Max Roach, Stan Levey, and guests Miles Davis and Chet Baker were among the participants. The music was essentially bebop with some cooler-toned performances, particularly the ones starring Cooper on oboe or English horn and Shank on flute.
That should be a good start.
Even John Tynan,the West Coast editor of "Downbeat" magazine referred to West Coast Jazz as "effete" in his liner notes for the 1958 HI FI release by Harold Land "The Fox".So called "West Coast Jazz" took a lot of abuse in the 50's when all that was hip and vital to the art came through Gotham and never made it past the Lincoln tunnel.There were tons of original and imaginative groups and sessions that come under this catch all phrase.You might have never had the Ornette Coleman piano less quartet without the amazing Jimmy Giuffre quartet recordings with Jack Sheldon for Capitol some five years earlier.And those first Ornette recordings were made in California.
The two labels that really created the sound were Contemporary and Pacific Jazz,and interesting to note,unlike Blue Note and Prestige to the East,these two West coast labels afforded the musicians pretty much complete freedom to follow their muse.So though the sounds to the west were mostly by white artists fed from the orchestras of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton,they were far and away more "creative" than the easterners.Eric Dolphy with Chico Hamilton on bass clarinet years before he stood toe to toe with John Coltrane,did that in L.A.
Still,there was always this nagging arrogance of the East being hipper than the West.There was not a guitarist in Jazz who could match Barney Kessel in the 50's,a fixture on the Contemporary label.
Chet Baker- Gerry Mulligan quartet,The Lighthouse allstars,Shelly Manne and his Men,the Chico Hamilton quartet,Art Pepper...on the Black side Teddy Edwards and Howard McGhee,Hampton Hawes and Harold Land with a young,white bass player named Scott lafaro, years before New York and Bill Evans.
John Graas and his french horn Jazz,the oboe and bassoon and instruments that hard bop easterners turned their nose up at.There was no sand in these guys ears, there just isn't enough time,or space to give them their deserved praise.
1. Lighthouse Allstars: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xhoward+rumsey.TRS0&_nkw=howard+rumsey&_sacat=11233
2. Chico Hamilton: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=howard+rumsey&_from=R40&_osacat=11233&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR3.TRC1.A0.H1.Xchico+hamilton.TRS0&_nkw=chico+hamilton&_sacat=11233
3. Bob Cooper: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=jackie+%26+roy&_from=R40%7CR40%7CR40&_osacat=11233&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR1.TRC0.A0.H0.XBob+Cooper.TRS0&_nkw=Bob+Cooper&_sacat=11233
4. Jimmy Gifureehttp: //www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=Bob+Cooper&_from=R40%7CR40%7CR40%7CR40&_osacat=11233&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xjimmy+gifufree.TRS0&_nkw=jimmy+gifufree&_sacat=11233
5. Cal Tjader: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=jimmy+gifufree&_from=R40%7CR40%7CR40%7CR40%7CR40&_osacat=11233&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1311.R1.TR6.TRC3.A0.H1.Xcal+tj.TRS0&_nkw=cal+tjader&_sacat=11233