Jazz4us Inc.
JAZZ : America's Original Art Form
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A Message from Wayne

I feel fortunate that I grew up during a very active period for jazz.  Much of what we classify as jazz today was really the pop music of the time when I was in my teen years. In the 1940's you could turn on the radio at anytime and hear one of the classic big bands or entertainers like Nat King Cole, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, or Frank Sinatra. Every restaurant or bar had a jukebox that played tunes of what we know as jazz today. We treasured our music recorded on 33, 45 and 78-rpm records.

In the mid 1950's, when I was in college, a major advancement occurred in the sound of recorded music. I can vividly remember the day that I went to a friend's apartment and for the first time heard Hi-Fi sound on a 33rpm vinyl recording. I was in awe of the incredible enhancement in the sound of the recording. Soon after that I built my own Heath Kit Hi-Fi since nothing was commercially available to consumers. My first LP record was "Fontesa" by the Modern Jazz Quartet on the Atlantic label. This is still a favorite of mine, even today. Dave Brubeck, Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Jerry Mulligan, Fats Waller, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and other great artists were added to my collection as quickly as was affordable to a starving student. I feel fortunate to have heard many of the great jazz artists in live concerts and dance ballrooms that were so popular then.

Hi-Fi soon became available commercially and then evolved into Stereo. By then I was employed and could afford to keep up with the technical advancements that gave us the ability to enjoy the music of our choice. Sadly, as recorded music became popular, the big bands and live jazz performances were declining and it became difficult to find live jazz. During this period there were some nightclubs that featured jazz that were very important in keeping jazz alive and available to the jazz community. One of these in particular was the Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach, California. The entertainment there was booked by the legendary, Howard Rumsey. I didn’t live in California at that time, so I was unfortunate to never have attended even one of those great evenings. I am so honored that some years ago I met and became very good friends with Howard. I am also honored that at 95 years old he attends the concerts that we produce in Orange County, California. Here's a tip: Ken Koenig produced a DVD about the history of West Coast Jazz and the Lighthouse Cafe. You can find "Jazz on the West Coast: The Lighthouse" on Amazon. It features interviews with Howard about those Lighthouse years. This DVD is a treasure that every jazz lover should own!

In 1975, the company where I was employed transferred me to Orange County, California as their Western Sales Manager. One night, when my niece and her husband from Chicago were visiting me, we ate dinner at a local Japanese restaurant. After dinner, as we were leaving the restaurant, we passed by the bar area and heard sound of live jazz being played. I felt compelled to check it out and found that it was a concert produced by Jack Wood. From that time on I was once again hooked on live jazz. The name of the Japanese Restaurant in Huntington Beach was Kikuya. I lived within blocks of it and it became my regular hangout for several nights a week. The management even reserved a special table just for me. Jack Wood booked the music at Kikuya and he brought outstanding talent there on a regular schedule. I was fortunate to personally get to know so many great musicians by attending the concerts at Kikuya.  There were legends in the field of music such as Chuck Niles, Buddy Childers, Joe Masimino, Andy Simson, George Gafney, and George Van Epps that sat at my table and shared anecdotes. They have all passed on now, but what wonderful memories they have left me with.

Unfortunately, after many years of jazz entertainment at the Kikuya, the restaurant closed. After remaining closed for several years it reopened as Cavallino's. Cavallino’s presented jazz for several years before it too closed due to management difficulties. There was a short time when the "S" restaurant in Westminster also presented jazz.

During the years at Kikuya and Cavallino's I became very well acquainted with the performing musicians and I consider so many of them good friends. Luther Hughes and Llew Matthews have offered me valued advice related to our concerts.

The closing of Kikuya, Cavallino's, and the "S" left a big void in my life. There were concerts, like those presented by Joe Rothman and John McClure, the summer concerts at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, and concerts presented by Merle Kreibich at In House Music. There didn’t seem to be any venues that presented jazz on a regular schedule, locally, in Orange County. I felt that there was a need for another regular jazz venue somewhere near where I live in Costa Mesa. I also felt bad about the fact that we have so many highly talented jazz musicians in our area, and so few places for them to perform.

I wanted very badly to find a way to provide more work for the musicians and to provide listening pleasure to others and to myself. I also had some ideas about the structure of concerts that I would like to hear.

One day in June of 2011, I met my good friend Phil Gurley at a bar in Costa Mesa named the Westside Bar and Grill. When I walked into that bar I was struck by how perfect the layout would be for jazz concerts. Providence prevailed and I soon was talking to the management and arranged for the first concert to take place there on August 15, 2011. The concert was a success and created a following of very loyal jazz patrons. My heartfelt THANKS to all of you!

In November of 2012 the Westside Bar and Grill closed and we moved our concerts to the Newport Beach Tee Room. The Tee Room had seating restraints that would not allow us to accommodate more patrons.  We desperately needed a new venue to accommodate the jazz patrons to continue with the scheduled concerts.  We feel that we have now found a new and lovely venue and are very fortunate, through the efforts of Sue Conner, in holding our first concert at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Corona Del Mar, California. The following concerts will be held in the early evening on Sundays. 

My love of jazz inspires me to try to do more to promote America’s only original art form.  To this end, I have assembled a talented Board of Directors to work towards some of our initial goals.  A few of these goals include 
  • Providing more work for today’s outstanding jazz musicians with a possible Midwest tour in the fall of this or next year.   
  • Finding ways to expose and educate the youth of today to jazz as well as showcase young talent.
  • Assist rising jazz musicians in any way possible. So many musicians have great musical talent but lack in business proficiency. I would like to find a way to offer them business training and guidance. 

Jazz4us Inc. has been created as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to achieving these goals. However, the most important ingredient in our success will be your continued support for live jazz. Thank you for being with us!