Music » CD Reviews

Various Artists

Savoy on Central Avenue (Savoy Jazz)


Jazz fans, take note: Here is an affordable, rollicking two-disc collection of Los Angeles-based recordings, circa the late '40s and early '50s, that permanently eradicates two long-held myths -- that everything interesting in the genre at the time was happening in the Big Apple, and that all West Coast jazz from that era was detached or "cool."

If all you know about California jazz is the sound of Chet Baker, you're in for a jolt. There is nothing disengaged, for instance, about Roy Porter and His Orchestra, and their blaring and surrealistic "Gassin' the Wig." Johnny Otis and his band deliver similar musical chaos on "Preston Love's Mansion" and "Wedding Boogie." And if names such as Porter and Otis do not carry the instant recognition that other jazz gods might, that is exactly the point. Savoy on Central Avenue brims with half-remembered talent that went missing only because the jazz intelligentsia of the day fixed its collective gaze on the N.Y.C. skyline.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.