Long-time Jazz Society Ends 66-Year Run

The Southern California Hot Jazz Society, whose origin goes back to 1949, finally succumbed to the ravages of age in announcing that it would cease holding monthly meetings and would instead join with the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Society for their second Sunday of the month sessions in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Considered the second oldest jazz club in the United States, SCHJS came into being when Floyd Levin promoted the idea of forming a jazz society on his Jazz on Parade radio program. The group’s first public event was held in September 1950 to raise funds for a marker for Jelly Roll Morton’s grave at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles. (Admission was 50 cents.) The late Jack Widmar (SCHJS president 1988-2015) called the club’s Sunday gatherings “the Church of Jazz.” According to K.O. Eckland’s Jazz West, the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club was founded in 1962. Paul Goldman is its current president.

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Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag in 1989 and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we grew to become The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles of today's top musicians are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, Jazz Beat Encore: More Notes on Classic Jazz contains 43 more! Lew taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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