Howard Rumsey

It is with sadness we regretfully announce the recent passing of Howard Rumsey (November 7, 1917 – July 15, 2015).   However as the owner of KJAZZ Radio UK and Howard share a family connection.  This page serves the memory of this Californian icon of jazz.  This one is for you Howard. Born in Brawley, California, Rumsey first began playing the piano, followed by the drums and finally the bass. Howard RumseyAfter jobs with Vido Musso and Johnny Davis, Rumsey became part of Stan Kenton‘s first band. Rumsey soon left Kenton after an argument. He played with Charlie Barnet and Barney Bigard before taking a short hiatus from music. Following this absence from music, Rumsey returned to the Los Angeles jazz scene to form the group the Lighthouse All-Stars. For most of the 1950s this group played each Sunday at the Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach. During its lifetime, the Lighthouse All-Stars were one of the primary modern jazz institutions on the west coast, providing a home for many Los Angeles musicians. In early 1949, Rumsey was in search of a playing job and came across the Lighthouse Club on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, which he felt would be an ideal place to play music. The Lighthouse was built in 1934 as a restaurant named Verpilates. In 1940, the business changed hands, and under new ownership it was turned into a Polynesian-styled club named the Lighthouse, primarily serving merchant seamen. In 1948 the club was sold to John Levine. After convincing Levine to permit the playing of jazz in the club, Rumsey played his first show on Sunday 29 May 1949, to immediate success.

The Lighthouse All-Stars A Californian Original

The first Lighthouse All-Stars was a group made up of Los Angeles musicians who had been a part of the Central Avenue scene in the 1940s, including Teddy Edwards, Sonny Criss, Hampton Hawes, Frank Patchen, Bobby White and Keith Williams. This band lasted for a time before Rumsey changed personnel to feature a new wave of players. The second edition of the Lighthouse All-Stars featured Jimmy Giuffre, Shorty Rogers, and Shelly Manne. The success of this group soon landed them with a recording contract for Les Koenig’s Contemporary Records. Not only were the Lighthouse All-Stars recording for Contemporary, but many of the members of the group were also leading sessions for this same label. After Rogers, Giuffre and Manne left together in 1953 for a job at The Haig, Rumsey had to recreate his band yet again. This third edition featured Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Rolf Ericsson and Max Roach. This band took part in a historic recording on 13 September 1953, Roach’s first show with the group, which would feature both Chet Baker and Miles Davis, along with Russ Freeman and Lorraine Geller. With the eventual breakup of this edition, the chairs were filled by various other notable musicians throughout the following years. In his book West Coast Jazz, author Ted Gioia claims to have listed over seventy-five musicians who were once members of the group. By the early 1960s interest in jazz in Los Angeles had greatly faded and the group came to its demise.


So is Paul Rumsey the founder of KJAZZ Radio UK related to Howard Rumsey?  He was certainly asked this question a number of times when he lived in Torrance California. He became curious so he asked his Aunt.  It appears according to her that a Great Grandfather of Paul Rumsey married twice and had the same number of children with different wives.  Howard Rumsey was from one marriage and the other marriage produced the line Paul Rumsey is related to.  There was indeed a Howard Rumsey who was Paul Rumsey’s Great Uncle.  He played music too and apparently played live on LA Radio in the early part of the 20th Century. Well that’s the story anyway.



 A Selection of Howard Rumsey & The Lighthouse All-Stars Work.

A portion of this page was created from text on Wikipedia