Oral Histories

Interview of Minor Robinson

Jazz drummer.
Central Avenue Sounds: Minor Robinson
Central Avenue Sounds Oral History Project
African American History
Biographical Note:
Jazz drummer.
Isoardi, Steven L.
Robinson, Minor
Persons Present:
Robinson and Isoardi.
Place Conducted:
Robinson's home in Los Angeles, California.
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.
Processing of Interview:
Kathleen McAlister, editorial assistant, edited the interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Whenever possible, the proper names of nightclubs were checked against the articles and advertisements in back issues of the California Eagle. Words and phrases by the editor have been bracketed.Robinson reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names and made minor corrections and additions. Alex Cline, editor, prepared the table of contents and interview history.Rebecca Stone, oral history assistant, assembled the biographical summary.Jeffery Chow, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
3.8 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.
Family moves from the Central Avenue area to Watts in 1928; first musical experience playing drums in elementary school; attends Jordan High School; Buddy Collette, the Woodman brothers, and other musicians in Robinson's neighborhood; Charles Mingus; music venues in Watts; racial composition of Los Angeles neighborhoods in the 1930s; Joseph Louis Lippi; Lloyd Reese and his rehearsal band at the American Federation of Musicians Local 767; early professional engagements; nightclubs on Central Avenue; after-hours clubs and jam sessions; Thomas "Papa Mutt" Carey; racial discrimination in the American Federation of Musicians Local 47; Robinson is drafted into the army; Central Avenue after World War II; the Stars of Swing; Robinson accepts employment as a street maintenance supervisor for the City of Los Angeles; the increasing difficulty in making a living as a musician; nightclubs in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s; westward movement of jazz clubs and the decline of Central Avenue.