Unique in its ability to stand apart from the Western European tradition of musical composition, Jazz allowed performers to express themselves in a manner that illustrated their own personal approach to music. It was music that swung, and during the 1940s “Little Harlem,” became a popular attraction to Hollywood Celebrities and upper class residents.3 All along Central Ave, one could find multiple jazz joints such as The Downbeat Club which hosted some of the most recognized jazz artist in modern history. Black artists such as Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, and Buddy Collette who helped transform music from the Swing era to Bebop, West Coast Jazz, and ultimately Fusion Jazz.4
In 1997 the California Legislative Assembly introduced and passed Bill ACR 78 designating that special markers be erected to commemorate small business owners. Among those selected was Willard H. Murray, a leading community member who established the preservation of Jazz as an Art form at California State University, Long Beach and garnered funding to improve district schools, including the Compton Unified School district, for which he fought for the improvement of conditions within the community. 5 It now stands as a reminder of a historic site that once fostered the diversity found within Jazz music.