Diggin’ the Blues

Back in the 40s South Los Angeles used to be known for its Jazz scene. Considered the West Coast’s Harlem, this neighborhood saw venues like Club Alabama (on Central Ave. & 42nd St.) feature some of the best Jazz had to offer at the time. Back then, de facto and de jure segregation shaped the city’s neighborhoods. The Central Avenue neighborhood became a scene because places like the Dunbar Hotel was one of the only locations where traveling Black musicians could find lodging during stays in Los Angeles. Yes, even when they came West for gigs in Hollywood.  Local musicians that set themselves apart in this scene include Charles Mingus, Chico Hamilton, and even Charlie Parker (for a brief period).

Despite the objects that make evident its contemporariness, I like the timelessness quality of this shot. To begin, it’s shot on film, so you get some grain and the blacks and silvers are fabulous. Add the subject’s form and energy and you get a winning combination.  I figure she’s got a little more than coffee in that mug. I love the look of outrage coming from the lady on the left. A one in a million moment of the second she decides to cut loose.

The best part of the shot is the lady to the left checking out the dancer from head to toe with a little disdain.

— JMG

Shot on Illford 400 with Canon EOS Rebel.

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