(An almost complete) HOWARD RUMSEY's LIGHTHOUSE ALL-STARS Discography
Howard Rumsey.... in the spotlight.
A FOGGY NIGHT AT THE HERMOSA BEACH LIGHTHOUSE
The kind of life I have is so much greater than the average person’s – I’m close to a creative thing that’s exciting and beautiful to behold.
You get the feeling that if the whole world could experience it, there’d be a lot less trouble. I guess that’s why, after 30 years, I’m still so hung up on it ( Howard Rumsey ( in an 1979 interview with Leonard Feathers ( The Passion of Jazz Aides & Abettors) p. 167))
The Lighthouse Café - Hermosa Beach ( mid 1950s)
In the 1979 interview Howard Rumsey looks back to his 30th anniversary in the night club business. From 1949 up to 1972 he was the manager of the famous Lighthouse café in Hermosa Beach (California) and from 1972 up to 1979 he exploited the Concerts by the Sea, a club, in fact a mini-theater, on the pier in Rodondo Beach, California. Most of us will remember Howard Rumsey from the period that he was the director of his Lighthouse All-Stars and the leading source of inspiration for the west coast jazz scene during the 1950s and 1960s. I wrote about that in a previous blog titled Lighthouse All-Stars
A few weeks ago I found at a second hand book market a pile of jazz LP’s and although it contained a lot of records, you could easily label as "rubbish", I found a 25 cm Contemporary LP titled Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-Stars Vol. 5 In The Solo Spotlight ( Contemporary C2515 ). Both the cover as the record were in excellent condition, so …………. It made my day.The record contained six tracks, all with typical titles: Howard, Claude, Bud, Coop, S & B and Stan; a great challenge to find out what the meaning is for these rather weird titles. Well, I guess, most of you will understand how these titles were born, if you learn that the musicians of this all-star group were: Howard Rumsey, leader and bass player, Bud Shank, alto saxophone; Bob Cooper tenor saxophone; Stan Levey drums; Claude Williamson piano; Stu Williamson trumpet and Bob Enevoldsen valve trombone. Mind that the subtitle is In The Solo Spotlight, so I hope the penny has dropped. Thanks to the liner notes by Dick Williams, entertainment editor of the Los Angeles Mirror we know a bit more about the period this recording session was made: August 1954. Some 400 people were turned away at a little beachfront jazz bistro in Hermosa Beach called “The Lighthouse” last Saturday night. Several hundred others, who arrived early, managed to sandwich themselves inside. …… And lately, the nightly fog along the coast has been as thick as spider webs in a haunted house. What’s the lure? Last night I found out when I wandered down through the mists to the foot of the Hermosa pier. The Lighthouse is the home of an exceptional jazz group known as Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-Stars. In the last six years they have built the place into the top citadel of jazz on the south coast. ( Dick Williams – liner notes)
One For Buck: Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars in the Frankly Jazz TV-program ( early 1960s)
In the Leonard Feather interview Howard explains how it all started. Tiring of travelling ( Howard Rumsey toured a decade with Vido Musso and Stan Kenton ), I decided to settle in Southern California.
Howard Rumsey looked back to his 30th anniversary in the night club business. The most important thing I’ve learned is that the management or the owner must avoid, at all costs, interfering with the music. If you leave the artists alone to do their own thing, the sounds can come alive and express their natural strength, but if someone comes between the music and the audience, it withers and dies like a fragile flower.
(Dec. 1954)(Feb. 1955)(Mar 1955)
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