You are on page 1of 1

CITY

OF

Q UA RTZ

jazz and its canvass counterpart (New Yorks abstract expressionists had already acknowledged bebops seminal influence on their work), as well as what might be labelled late surrealism in both art and film - that is to say, for the Los Angeles hipster generation that came of age in the late 1940s and 1950s - there was little alternative but to form temporary communes within the cultural underground that burgeoned for almost a decade. One of the qualities shared by these diverse groups was their concern for critically reworking and re-presenting subcultural experience - a quality that made them the first truly autobiographical intelligentsia in Los Angeles history. For Coleman, Dolphy, and other local jazz guerrillas, that shared existential ground was Black Los Angeless distinctive Southwestern blues tradition. Coleman had started his musical career honking out heavy, if slightly unorthodox, blues riffs in Texas and Louisiana juke joints, later playing the emergent R&B sound that synthesized blues and swing. Los Angeles in the late 1940s, with the greatest number of independent studios, was the capital of R&B recording, while Central Avenues dazzling Main Stem offered an extraordinary spectrum of jazz, blues and R&B, dominated by musicians from the Southwest circuit of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Lousiana (the region that had sent the most Black migrants to work in the West Coasts war plants). However, with the slow decline of the Central Avenue scene, partly as a result of police antipathy to race mixing in the clubs, and with Black musicians excluded from lucrative studio jobs, the music of the younger ghetto jazzmen became leaner and harder, seeking through introspection and experiment to fashion a hegemonic alternative to the deracination of the cool jazz played in beach nightclubs.116 In 1961, after Coleman, following Dolphy, had left for New York, the pianist and composer Horace Tapscott founded the Union of Gods Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA) and the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. Like the similar jazz collectives organized by Sun Ra and Roscoe Mitchell in Chicago, UGMAA communalized and utopianized the struggle for free music - striving simul taneously to become a performance laboratory, peoples school, and local cultural arm of the Black Revolution.117 The art counterpart to the jazz underground (although never with such radical aspirations) was the informal cooperative organized by a score of younger artists during the late 1950s around Edward Kienholzs and Walter

64