Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle

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9780912365923: Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle
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Vintage photographs and 24 contemporary portraits capture the style and flavor of Jackson Street and its jazz legacy. Based on extensive interviews with jazz musicians, this significant new volume documents the smokey rooms, Prohibition antics, wartime parties, and unforgettable riffs that characterized great moments in Pacific Northwest jazz. Also available in hardcover: $35, ISBN 0-912365-86-2

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Review:

In jazz, as in so many arts, journeymen (and journeywomen) gravitate toward Manhattan, the proving ground and graveyard of the music world. But most of them get their start in local scenes, which tend to remain undocumented along with the players who populate them. In Jackson Street After Hours, Paul de Barros takes a meticulous, affectionate look at one such scene that thrived in Seattle during the 1940s and 1950s. Part of the fun comes from seeing legends--say, Ray Charles or Quincy Jones--in their pre-legendary state, scrapping for a decent gig. But even better are the oral history bits, like the one in which Ernestine Anderson discovers her true vocation: "When I went to audition at the Eldorado Ballroom, the piano player asked me what key did I do these two songs that I knew in. I automatically said C. It turned out to be the wrong key. So I improvised around the melody, because my grandmother had told me that if I wanted to be a professional singer, once you start singing, you don't stop. When I finished, one of the musicians told me I was a jazz singer."

From Library Journal:

Seattle receives little mention in jazz histories, but journalist de Barros argues that it's a fertile ground for jazz talent. His exhaustive chronicle outlines the careers of Seattle musicians who achieved fame (Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, and vocalists Ernestine Anderson and Mildred Bailey) and the many who remained local (including bassist Red Kelly, pianist Jack Perciful, and "Junior" Raglin). The interviews with musicians provide a rich perspective on local jazz history, including the effects of racism on musicians' careers. There are few if any other studies of jazz of the Northwest; this one sets an example for historians of regional jazz to follow. It will prove useful to researchers and will please readers familiar with the Seattle area.
- Paul Baker, CUNA Inc., Madison, Wis.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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