Tag Archives: Sounds of Crenshaw

Terrace Martin’s Los Angeles: Why His Versatile Jazz Sound Is Perfect for California

Terrace Martin

A hijacked white big rig filled with hazardous material slowly hulks down the 10 East with California Highway Patrol in hot pursuit. Just off Crenshaw sits Terrace Martin, his frequent collaborator Adam Turchin, and myself. We’re passing a joint inside the living room of his brother’s home studio, instinctively transfixed by that most innately Southern California spectacle: the televised car chase. Just another sunny day in L.A.

“Everybody has recorded over here. Kendrick. Wiz Khalifa. Everybody. This is our little bat cave… our honeycomb hideout and personal quarters,” Martin breaks the silence, one eye on the screen, waving his arm about the house.

The interior is filled with scattered guitar cases and trophies, plaques, bikes, and a Sherman Clay piano. A small recording nook contains keyboards and a computer. A Bernie Sanders sign remains on the front lawn.

“I’ve been doing music here since I was young,” he continues. “I stayed over here recording… I lived here.”

If Joan Didion accurately claimed that the city burning is Los Angeles’ deepest image of itself, the car chase represents its most disturbing nightmare. A lingering threat seared into the metropolitan subconscious from OJ in the White Bronco to the suicides that have happened multiple times on live television. The insurrections of 1965 and 1992 were both sparked by car chases that led to savage police brutality. In the world’s entertainment capital, the television networks have long realized this is the cheapest reality show. So when a chase breaks out, every channel instinctively locks in, and by some cultural quirk, we’re compelled to watch and silently hope that the driver somehow escapes.

Continue reading