The short-lived Los Angeles Jazz Festival made up for its brief life with its array of huge jazz stars. The first festival in 1959 was a big enough success for the promoters to try it again the next year, and this poster is a re-creation of one used to promote that second annual event.
While the bill featured several West Coast acts — both stylistically and geographically — it was a broad spectrum of styles and artists who ultimately appeared at the Hollywood Bowl in June of 1960.
Duke Ellington was entering his last great period of creativity, and brought along such long-time stalwarts as Johnny Hodges, Sam Woodyard and Cat Anderson. Miles Davis brought his transitional quintet, one that had just seen John Coltrane leave for a career as a leader, but he was replaced — at least for a few months — by the great Sonny Stitt.
Stan Kenton and Gerry Mulligan both brought big orchestras, although Kenton’s — of course — was larger, if not necessarily more interesting. Horace Silver brought one his great bands, and Sarah Vaughan — in her absolute prime — was a major draw.
The bill was rounded out by Benny Carter leading an all-star aggregation, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, and talk-show host, songwriter and comedian Steve Allen moonlighting in his alter ego jazz pianist persona. Popular jazz-inflected vocalists the Four Freshmen and Ernestine Anderson filled out the program.
This is a re-creation of the actual poster used to promote that weekend’s performance, and it’s a great souvenir for those of you lucky enough to have attended. It’s also a great gift for any jazz lover.