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Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment

Frankly Jazz: Three Preserved Episodes

Trumpeter Gerald Wilson
May 6, 2021 - 4:00 pm

Note: this is a one-time live screening.

Premiering on Los Angeles’ KTLA Channel 5 in 1962, the tragically short-lived local television series Frankly Jazz offered viewers powerhouse live performances by some of the best West Coast jazz musicians of the day. Hosted and co-produced by noted disc jockey Frank Evans (and sharing the eponymous title of his popular L.A. radio show as heard on KRHM-FM), Frankly Jazz took up where Bobby Troup’s Stars of Jazz ABC-TV series left off in 1958—providing a ‘60s-era, new frontier soundtrack to the City of Angels, with stark modern visuals to match. Recorded on black and white videotape from a bare soundstage draped in noir shadows and cigarette smoke, host Evans schooled Saturday evening television audiences on the sacred world of jazz with an unshakable, laid-back cool, effortlessly dropping deep musical knowledge and keeping it real with his hip trademark sign-off, “later.”

The Archive presents three episodes of this obscure local music TV series, as preserved from recently acquired, original 2 in. master videotapes featuring legendary artists such as Gerald Wilson, the Jazz Crusaders and Sammy Davis Jr. The performances will be introduced by jazz musician and educator Ray Briggs, Ph.D., Jazz Studies Department Chair for the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where he teaches courses in jazz history and ethnomusicology.

Program curated and notes written by Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Archivist.

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding from the John H. Mitchell Television Preservation Endowment. 

Frankly Jazz: The Jazz Crusaders and Mary Ann McCall

Record date: 8/3/1962

KTLA. Producers: Frank Evans, Gary Markas. Director: Gary Markas. Host: Frank Evans. Musicians: Wayne Henderson (trombone), Wilton Felder (reeds), Joe Sample (piano), Victor Gaskin (acoustic double bass), Stix Hooper (drums), Mary Ann McCall (vocals).

Frankly Jazz: Gerald Wilson Big Band

Record date: 12/5/1962

KTLA. Producers: Frank Evans, Gary Markas. Director: Gary Markas. Host: Frank Evans. Musicians: Gerald Wilson (trumpet, leader); Al Porcino, Robert Knight, Jules Chaikin, John Audino, Fred R.Hill (trumpets); John Ewing, Bob Edmondson, Louis Blackburn (trombones); Buddy Collette (flute, alto sax); Joe Maini (alto sax); Teddy Ed-wards, Henry Grant (tenor sa)x; Jack Nimitz (baritone sax); Jack Wilson Jr. (piano); Jimmy Bond (acoustic double bass); Mel Lewis (drums).

Frankly Jazz: Sammy Davis, Jr. and Victor Feldman

Record date: 10/19/1962

KTLA. Producers: Frank Evans, Gary Markas. Director: Gary Markas. Host: Frank Evans. Musicians: Victor Feldman (vibraphone); Jimmy Rowles (piano); Bob Whitlock (acoustic double bass); Kenny Dennis (drums); Sammy Davis, Jr. (vocals).

B&w, total program running time: 85 min.

Preserved from original 2 in. videotapes. Video transfers at DC Video. Engineering services by David Crosthwait. Special thanks to Greg Lewerke and Stan Lewerke. Musician credits from Jazz on the Screen: A Jazz and Blues Filmography by David Meeker.