Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I was around when Pepperdine was called George Pepperdine College (at 79th and Vermont in LA) and when cool jazz was call "Progressive" jazz. That was a long time ago. But it was where and when my love of jazz began. GPC was very small at that time - I think probably about 900 students. Bunches of us would head out to the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach or Shelley's Mann Hole and hear the most wonderful music. It was the time of Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers, George Shearing.... and a perhaps less-known but dearer to my heart artist, Chico Hamilton.

The summer that I was falling in love - the summer of 1954 - my future husband and I would go down to The Strollers' Club in Long Beach and sit for hours listening to the Chico Hamilton Quintet and Fred Katz, the fantastic cellist who played with him then. I probably shouldn't have been let into that Club, as I was not yet 20, but I suppose management looked the other way. They could tell that I only drank Cokes! So between having the Los Angeles Jazz scene during the school year and the Strollers' club during the summer, I grew to embrace those wonderful sound that even now I hear in my head.

There also was a bowling alley in Long Beach out on East Pacific Coast Highway just before you went down the hill and around the Circle which featured some jazz artists. One time we stopped in there to hear a young new singer that was advertised as an upcoming artist. She was very good, and after we asked her to sing "My Funny Valentine" for us -and she did - she came to sit with us on a break. We had a nice chat and we told her we were sure we'd be hearing more from her down the line. Her name was Vicki Carr.

I have always considered it lucky that I chose GPC for my college years, because in addition to giving me a good education, it made possible my close affinity to a jazz form that I still love, in all its iterations.

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