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Friday, September 21, 2012


STARS OF JAZZ - JULY 16, 1956 - SHOW #4

COMMENTARY © James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved

The TV Guide copy for the fourth Stars of Jazz program noted that Shelly Manne was the featured instrumental jazz artist, no mention of Corky Hale or the artist who would appear on the program and execute a work of art while Shelly Manne & His Men performed BEA’S FLAT (a Russ Freeman composition) in the background. 

Edmond Kohn’s art work had recently been featured in a series of jazz albums released by Pacific Jazz Records as part of their “West Coast Artist” series that had been conceived by Dick Bock and William Claxton.  Other well known West Coast artists who were featured in the Pacific Jazz "West Coast Artist" series included Robert Irwin, Keith Finch, Sueo Serisawa, Vito (a Los Angeles based sculptor) and John Altoon.  A complete discussion of this series can be found at the Jazz Research blog devoted to a complete labelography of the Pacific Jazz / World Pacific line. 

Shelly Manne’s combo that appeared on this program had recorded two LPs for Contemporary Records that featured the original “Men” in the combo, Stu Williamson on trumpet and valve trombone; Charlie Mariano on alto sax; Russ Freeman on piano; Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Shelly on drums.  Shelly Manne & His Men performed a blues to open and close the show plus BERNIE’S TUNE and DOXY by Sonny Rollins in addition to BEA’S FLAT.  BERNIE’S TUNE was performed at a very fast tempo in an arrangement by Jack Montrose.

Bobby Troup’s script to introduce Corky Hale would be frowned upon today with its “oh gosh, girls can play jazz as well as men” tone (it was probably frowned upon then as well).  Bobby mentions several notable women in jazz before introducing Corky who plays A FOGGY DAY on harp accompanied by Howard Roberts on guitar followed by a rendition of IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU with Corky doing a vocal while backing herself on piano.  Corky would be on Stars of Jazz again in mid August when she accompanied Billie Holiday on piano.  When Lady Day appeared at Jazz City when in Los Angeles, Corky accompanied her at that gig as well.  Bobby Troup noted that Corky had recently cut an album for the Gene Norman Presents label.  Corky had also appeared on vinyl previously backing KItty White on a Pacific Jazz, Pacifica label release.

Stars of Jazz had been given a four week trial and would be cancelled if they could not find a sponsor to underwrite continued production of the show.  Executive Producer Pete Robinson approached Woody Woodward who had recently published a book on jazz with Peterson Publishing’s Trend Books division entitled JAZZ AMERICANA.  The publisher agreed to donate 200 copies to Stars of Jazz to help promote the book and hopefully to generate interest in the TV series by having viewers write to the station to receive one of the 200 donated copies of the book.  Bobby Troup ended the show with a plug for the book and announced that the first 200 viewers who wrote to the station would receive a free copy of the book.

Charlie Mariano, Russ Freeman, Shelly Manne


Corky Hale


The photos that greatly enhance this presentation have been provided courtesy of the Ray Avery Estate.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Ray Avery Photo Archives.  Please note that these photos remain the property of the Ray Avery Estate and are used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding their use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.

(some of the script pages are missing unfortunately)

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