homefilmmaker | contact us



Santa Cruz Swings: A history of jazz in Santa Cruz


Santa Cruz Swings: A history of jazz in Santa Cruz chronicles the flourishing jazz scene in a small California coastal city.  Jazz took hold in Santa Cruz ballrooms during the swing era in the 30s and proliferated in many small clubs during the 40s and early 50s in the form of bebop. The jazz scene solidified in the 70s with the creation of a groundbreaking jazz program at the local community college and the founding of the Kuumbwa Jazz Center featuring world-class jazz.

Through the use of archival photographs, video footage, television performances and interviews, this story is vividly told by those who lived it. We meet local jazz musicians of all ages, up and coming students and some younger players who have moved on to international fame. Also included is the 2006 gathering of more than 50 Santa Cruz jazz musicians on the Santa Cruz wharf for a landmark photo session in the tradition of the Great Day in Harlem photograph.

Santa Cruz Swings is the story of the burgeoning jazz scene in one small California city.  The well documented jazz histories of larger cities often overshadow the stories of small town jazz scenes.  Ken Koenig, filmmaker of the widely acclaimed Jazz On The West Coast: The Lighthouse, puts the spotlight on the various factors and individual contributions responsible for the ongoing success of jazz in a small city.

Now you can watch Santa Cruz Swings on Youtube (absolutely free!)


RoseKing Productions  


Developed and maintained by Lisa Rose