Oral Histories

Interview of Marshal Royal

Jazz saxophone and violin player.
Central Avenue Sounds: Marshal Royal
Central Avenue Sounds Oral History Project
African American History
Biographical Note:
Jazz saxophone and violin player.
Isoardi, Steven L.
Royal, Marshal
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Steven L. Isoardi, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., Government, University of San Francisco; M.A., Government, University of San Francisco; M.A., Political Science, UCLA; Ph.D., Political Science, UCLA.Isoardi prepared for the interview by consulting jazz histories, autobiographies, oral histories, relevant jazz periodicals, documentary films, and back issues of the California Eagle and the Los Angeles Sentinel.
6.1 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
Interviews in this series preserve the spoken memories of individuals, mainly musicians, who were raised near and/or performed on Los Angeles's Central Avenue from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s.
Early interest in music; Samuel Browne; racial makeup of Royal's neighborhood and schools in 1920s Los Angeles; father, Marshal Royal Sr., earns a living performing at private parties and clubs; performs at taxi dances; builds and races hot rods; organized crime and gambling ships during Prohibition; first black-owned buildings in the Central Avenue neighborhood; Curtis Mosby; studies music at Jefferson High School; learns to play the clarinet, ukulele, and saxophone; uncle, Ernest Royal; enlists in the United States navy and is assigned to the navy band; performs with Duke Ellington's orchestra; reasons for not joining Ellington's band; joins Curtis Mosby's band; Frank Sebastian's Cotton Club; racial makeup of Central Avenue's clientele; performs with Les Hite and his band; Lloyd Reese; Venice, California, in the thirties; changes in the Los Angeles club scene during the thirties, forties, and fifties; American Federation of Musicians, Local 767; tours in the South with Lionel Hampton's band; purchasing a home in an all-white neighborhood; the decline of Central Avenue in the fifties; traveling in South Africa.