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Jazz

Here's Where Five Jazz Legends Are Buried in L.A.

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Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 3:45 AM

click to enlarge SJ O'CONNELL
  • SJ O'Connell
Everyone's always saying that jazz is dead -- at least since the fuzz shut down New Orleans' Storyville in 1917 -- but jazz will never die. Musicians on the other hand can, do and have.

And quite a few jazz legends are buried in L.A. In fact, it's pretty surprising how many pivotal stars have their final resting place here, in plots ranging from glistening grassy lawns to dusty disarray.

Ella Fitzgerald (Above)

Inglewood Park Cemetery

In 1960, Fitzgerald released an album entitled "Let No Man Write My Epitaph." Hopefully, when she passed away in 1996 years later, she got her wish with the simple plaque emblazoned with a perfect fourth in an odd key. That plaque hangs in a serene second floor hallway in the Inglewood Park mausoleum that pipes in classical music amid the Pine-Sol smeared tiles. (Just down the hall are blues legends Charles Brown and Lowell Fulson.) The "First Lady of Song" lived well in Los Angeles, soaking up the Beverly Hills lifestyle and accepting the adoration bestowed upon her. She died peacefully at age 79.

click to enlarge SJ O'CONNELL
  • SJ O'Connell
Art Tatum

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery

Art Tatum is recognized as one of the greatest pianists who ever lived. His lightning quick fluidity and bottomless wit have never been matched. After making his name in New York, he spent his final years in Los Angeles. Often with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon under his arm, he played things on the piano that convinced many musicians to quit entirely.

His physical self-destrucitiveness never got in the way of his art, but the largely blind virtuoso died of kidney failure at the age of 47. He was buried near downtown at Angelus Rosedale but was moved in 1991 by his widow to Forest Lawn Glendale. His stone remains at Angelus Rosedale and is adorned with a snippet of a Gershwin melody. Despite the empty grave, this is one of the better kept markers in an otherwise dusty cemetery dotted with empty beer bottles.

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