Black L.A. 1947: Jazz Musicians Outraged by Esquire Jazz Book for 1947

Feb. 13, 1947, Jazz Concert at the Shrine Auditorium
Feb. 13, 1947: Coming to the Shrine Auditorium – Esquire Award winners Lester Young, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Lucky Thompson, Benny Carter, Dodo Marmarosa, Barney Kessell and Vic Dickenson.

Feb. 13, 1947, Esquire Jazz Book

Feb. 13, 1947: Esquire magazine began an annual poll in 1943 to select the leading American jazz musicians. But in 1945, Arnold Gingrich, one of Esquire’s founders, left the magazine in a falling-out with Publisher David A. Smart.

In Gingrich’s place, the magazine hired Ernest Anderson, a publicist for Eddie Condon, to run the poll. An article on the magazine’s website by Alex Belth says Anderson “made a mockery of it by ostensibly turning it a press release for Condon, a white, middlebrow bandleader who had never previously been mentioned in Esquire’s jazz coverage. The panel of experts resigned en mass in protest and the jazz poll came to a halt.”

Note: The microfilmed copy of the Los Angeles Sentinel is missing the first section.


In 1949, Gingrich ran into Smart on a street corner in New York. Smart asked him to return to Esquire and in 1952, he became publisher and vice president.

Feb. 13, 1947, Esquire Jazz Book

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, African Americans, Music and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Black L.A. 1947: Jazz Musicians Outraged by Esquire Jazz Book for 1947

  1. E. Yarber says:

    With so many more media outlets today, it’s hard to realize how big a deal Esquire was in the jazz world at this time. There were trade papers like Down Beat, but Esquire was a major outlet at reaching the sort of affluent hipster audience Playboy would later snag. I have a commercially-released CD somewhere of one of Esquire’s marathon radio concerts of the 1930s with an all-star group of musicians. No wonder the players were so outraged when the magazine swung toward PR instead of swinging.


  2. E. Yarber says:

    Don’t have time to compare the two recordings, but you’re probably right. It’s from 1944 and the performers are the same. The CD notes say the concert was recreated from V-Discs of the individual numbers.

    Another disc I came across while seeking the Esquire concert has a 1937 episode of Saturday Night Swing Club, with Edward R. Murrow introducing Django Reinhardt live to the US via shortwave from Monmartre. Too bad it’s not at Archive… it’s worth seeking out just to hear Murrow shout, “Swing it, America!”


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