Thursday, July 23, 2009

AccuJazz News: Roll-Out Continues With "Modern West Coast"

I'll be honest: there's a lot less music playing on this new Region channel than the last one, but there's still a lot. The thing about "West Coast Jazz" is that the term doesn't have an exclusively regional connotation, but a stylistic one, too. It's not uncommon for musicians to describe a song as having a "West Coast Jazz" feel. It's interesting that the music coming from California in the 1950s was so distinct that the region became synonymous with a sound. That's certainly not the case with today's West Coast jazz. Today's West Coast jazz offerings display a great deal of diversity, and very little of it conjures the classic cool jazz sound of Chet Baker or Chico Hamilton.

AccuJazz has long had a Cool Jazz channel. It used to be called "West & Cool," but I changed it to "Cool Jazz" for the relaunch of the site earlier this year in anticipation of the region channel at hand. The purpose of this channel is to give a broader view of the music from that part of the country, including lots of newer music from people like Charlie Haden, Nels Cline, Scott Amendola, John Clayton and Jenny Scheinman. And don't worry, I've included some of the classic West Coast stuff by folks like Art Pepper and Gerry Mulligan, too.

Go ahead and listen to the channel, and let me know what you think! FYI: the icon for the channel you see is a photo from outside the historic Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach. It was a hub of the West Coast scene in its '50s heyday, but it looks like they don't offer up much jazz anymore. I guess the image isn't totally apropos for a "Modern" west coast channel, then, but that's OK. Personal note: my family used to vacation in Hermosa Beach when I was younger, and I remember walking by the Lighthouse many times, long before I knew that I should care about its rich history.

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