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This week on Night Lights L.A. jazz historian Steve Isoardi joins us for "One More You Wrote Through Us: Horace Tapscott." In 1961 pianist Horace Tapscott turned down a chance to have a high-profile career with the Lionel Hampton band and spent the next several decades in Los Angeles, leading several community-jazz bands and doing his best to extend the mentoring and teaching tradition that he had experienced growing up during the glory days of L.A.'s Central Avenue era. The underground jazz scene that he helped to create and sustain--a vibrant, multi-arts mix of culture, politics, and African-American values--has now been documented in Isoardi's new book, The Dark Tree: Jazz & the Community Arts in Los Angeles. We'll hear some previously unissued music by Tapscott and UGMAA (Union of God's Musician and Artists Ascension) and the Pan-Afrikan People's Arkestra (from a CD included with the new book), along with solo and trio Tapscott piano recordings and a collaboration with Black Panther activist Elaine Brown. "One More You Wrote Through Us: Horace Tapscott" airs Saturday, February 24 at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville. It also airs Sunday evening at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. The program will be posted, along with 12 extra interview clips not used in the show itself, Monday afternoon in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "Alice Coltrane, Ascending."
This week on Night Lights it’s Come On Down to Central Avenue as we explore the sounds of the mid-20th-century Los Angeles jazz scene with historian Steve Isoardi (editor of the oral history book Central Avenue Sounds). Jam sessions, bebop, r & b, big bands, visits from Hollywood celebrities—as the center of African-American culture in L.A., Central Avenue had it all. We’ll hear the music of artists such as Dexter Gordon, Howard McGhee, Hadda Brooks, Charles Mingus, Gerald Wilson, Lionel Hampton, and many other eventual jazz greats who got their start on the Avenue, or who spent significant time there…. and we’ll verbally stroll through the vibrant streets of the Central Avenue neighborhood circa 1945 with Mr. Isoardi. “Come On Down to Central Avenue” airs Saturday, February 17 at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 10 p.m. EST Sunday, February 18 on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. (WNIN-Evansville is doing their spring fund-drive this week and will air our spring funder, "Bop! Go the Big Bands.") The program will be posted late Monday in the Night Lights archives. Next week: Steve Isoardi joins us again for "One More You Wrote Through Us: Horace Tapscott."