“We take a lot for granted in Southern California. We take the weather for granted. We take the ocean for granted. And we take it for granted that in our midst we have a group of legendary musicians and artists that play a music called jazz."
For the past six years, professor and historian Chet Hanley has been literally putting these words to music. He had hosted over 150 episodes (many of them 3 hours long) of Jazz in the Modern Era, a college curriculum course and jazz music television show broadcast from the campus of Cal-State Dominguez Hills (Locally, it airs Tuesdays, 9:00 - 10:30PM on Time-Warner Cable Channel 36, and online). And Chet's in good company: cornetist Bobby Bradford once taught at the Dominguez-Hills campus in the late-60's-early 70's.
Chet Hanley (left) with Leroy Downs
JITME viewers are encouraged to call in to speak with in-studio guests and discuss their favorite selections or artists. Chet has featured jazz musicians, club owners, photographers, promoters, writers, historians and collectors from all over the country. But what makes his show so special is its documenting of the Southern California jazz scene: the show's archives, once they are completed and available online, will amount to a massive treasure trove of local jazz history from Central Avenue to Leimert Park. (Many of the writers, collectors and historians who stop by bring along rare performances of jazz greats, which makes it a terrific window into the tributaries of the SoCal jazz underground, who trade their wares they way Dave Matthews fans trade live bootlegs.) And then there's Chet, an urbane and genial host with an encyclopedic knowledge of not just jazz history but poetry, boxing, photography and art. (Think Tavis Smiley without all that flash and flummery.) And, true to jazz, the show often goes in unexpected directions, like the time funk great Rick James made a call in to the live broadcast...
Currently, the most recent season of "Jazz in the Modern Era" is available on the Cal-Sate Dominguez Hills website. It's a bit buried in the maw, so we'll give you some quick guidelines for access to the online archives:
(1) Go to the Cal-State Dominguez Hills website: http://www.csudh.edu/
(2) On the top right-hand side of the homepage, click on the "Quick Links" and scroll down to click on "Distance Learning."
(3) You should be on a page with the title "DominguezOnline." On the left side, click on "Online-TV Archives."
(4) Click on the link: "IDS 336 Jazz in the Modern Era"
(5) A pop-up page should appear, titled "Index of /jazzS08"; below is the list of shows to watch. We'll let you know (when Chet lets us know) when all 168 episodes will be available.
Tonight at 8pm at the World Stage in Leimert Park, Chet and his compadres Jeffrey Winston and Clint Rosemond, will be hosting World Stage Stories, a live oral history interview with various luminaries and legends (oops, there's that word again) of the loCal jazz scene. Tonight, to commemorate of the birthday of pianist/bandleader Horace Tapscott (April 6 -- Happy B-Day, Aries!), fellow historian Steve Isoardi, author of the invaluable books Central Avenue Sounds, the Tapscott bio Songs of the Unsung, and The Dark Tree: Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles, will stop by for a lively chat.