Dear Gang: Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle contained an homage to Chronicle Columnist Ralph J. Gleason, a seminal Bay Area, later, nationally and internationally known Jazz and Rock critic. A small reference indicates that Gleason got his start with the Chronicle because a Dixieland jazzman, Kid Ory, came to his attention through the renewed interest in the man's music, raised by Orson Welles' radio shows featuring Ory.
Here is the pertinent portion:
"In September 1945, Gleason, who spent the war years working for the Office of War Information, booked the old Dixieland jazzman into the Stuyvesant Casino on New York's Lower East Side. The following year, Gleason and his wife, Jean, moved to San Francisco to produce concerts by New Orleans tailgate trombonist Kid Ory, then living in Los Angeles, only recently rescued from obscurity and his job in the poultry business by appearances on the Orson Welles radio program.
"Gleason soon found sympathetic ears at The Chronicle in executive editor Scott Newhall and managing editor Gordon Pates, music fans whose taste tended toward Earl Hines and Edith Piaf, respectively. He started at $15 per review. In 1950, they hired him full-time, about the same time he started contributing regularly to the bi-monthly bible of jazz, Downbeat magazine. By 1954, the Gleason family and its three children could afford a modest home on busy Ashby Avenue in Berkeley's Elmwood district."
If you are interested in Jazz, perhaps Welles' promotion of it on radio and elsewhere is worth exploring. We have not discussed this aspect of Welles' contribution recently.
Should you like to read the entire article on Gleason, here is the URL:
Seasons Greetings, all!