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Saturday, April 7, 2012


The first Pacific Jazz 10” LP, PLJP-1, (Bock got it right on the label that reads PJLP-1) literally put Pacific Jazz on the map.  This initial release sold so well that the pressings eventually numbered in the thousands. One of the record shops in Los Angeles that specialized in jazz was Ray Avery's Rare Records.

"Record Roundup" on South La Cienega

Ray Avery’s “Record Roundup” was originally located across the street from the Pan Pacific Auditorium.  When Ray’s three month rental period expired he moved his log cabin jazz record shop to South La Cienega, shown above.  Ray liked to quip, “I got my start in a log cabin, just like Abe Lincoln.”

In the summer of 1952 Ray moved to a larger store front at 6631 Hollywood Boulevard.  Ray recalled in an interview that the first Gerry Mulligan Quartet record on Pacific Jazz sold so quickly that he would have to make several trips a week to California Record Distributors to pick up more stock.

Ray Avery’s Rare Record Shop was the jazz record mecca in Los Angeles.  If Ray didn’t have the record, it probably was not available.  Ray knew just about everybody in the jazz community and everyone in the jazz community knew Ray, or if they were new in town, they would soon. Ray had a standing invitation from Dick Bock to attend Pacific Jazz recording sessions.  Ray was an avid amateur photographer and his photos would often appear on record covers and in jazz publications. 

Pacific Jazz would release its first 12" LPs early in 1955.  The record industry began to adopt the new 12” LP format and the 10” LP line would soon be phased out by Pacific Jazz.  Dick Bock decided to move the remaining stock out and reduced the retail price to $2.99.

This promotion was so successful that Bock considered keeping the 10” LP in the line and an article in the June 25, 1955 issue of Billboard confirmed this plan. 

But when Turetsky ran the figures Bock realized that Pacific Jazz could not stay with the $2.99 retail and maintain the desirable margin of profit, so the 22 10” LPs listed below constitute the entire output of Pacific Jazz in this format.

PJLP-18 was pulled from production and the only tracks from this New York session that appeared on Pacific Jazz were on the 78 RPM release.  A planned 45 single and 45 EP were never released.  This was around the time that Pacific Jazz was moving toward adopting the 12” LP format and Bock wanted Al Haig to come to the west coast so that additional tracks could be recorded to fill out a 12” LP.  Haig agreed, but wanted Bill Crow and Lee Abrams to come to Los Angeles as well.  Bock countered that Los Angeles had abundant drummers and bassists who could fill in the rhythm section.  Haig was adamant, so was Bock, the release was pulled from production.

All label images © EMI Capitol Music

(All label images © EMI Capitol Music

The next post, later this month will cover the Jazz West Coast (JWC prefix series) and the Mark IV (PJM & WPM series).


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