JFS #169 The Howard Rumsey Interview



The iconic jazz clubs in our countries history stretch from coast to coast. There was The Both/And and Jazz Workshop in SF. The London House in Chicago, Lennie's on the Turnpike in Boston and Smalls Paradise in Harlem.

These clubs captured the essence of swing music, the lighting, the intimacy- that visceral feeling of collective unison between bandmates and their devoted patrons.

Slowly though in the age of rock palaces and the switch from acoustic to electric instruments these clubs faded away.

One though did not. It was in Southern California but not LA. You needed to drive out to the sandstone of Hermosa Beach to frequent this club and so many of the musicians from Henry the Skipper Franklin to Gene Perla to Kenny Burrell played at this venue. Cats like Buster Williams recorded with The Crusaders at this club - so did Elvin Jones and Grant Green and Joe Henderson.

Others like Ramon Banda would come as a veritable kid to watch Mongo Santamaria.

This club was the link from be-bop to post-bop. From Chet Baker to Sonny Rollins to Chico Hamilton. Loyalists,  smack addicts playing three sets a night that left the audiences ears ringing as they headed out into the salty air of the Pacific.

My guest today was the artistic director of the Lighthouse All-Stars. It Started with Teddy Edwards and Hampton Hawes, passed on to Shelly Manne and Shorty Rogers and continued with Bud Shank and Max Roach. The fusing of these groups coincided with Lester Koenigs Contemporary Record Label which gave identities to those who played melodic invention before the digital age.

When improvisational swing began to fade in the early 1970s my guest took over Concerts by the Sea in Redondo Beach which carried on the traditions of the Lighthouse featuring Cal Tjader and Jim Horn, Woody Herman and Dizzy Gillespie.

My guest was born in 1917, is an accomplished pianist in his own right playing on albums with the aforementioned Baker, Stan Kenton and Miles Davis. He has seen, heard, felt and contributed to our countries cultural heritage by giving opportunities to those who wanted to further the connection between the known and the unknown.

Howard Rumsey, welcome to the JFS



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