"The All-Stars had always been somewhat unaffected by the cool jazz ethos prevalent on the coast. This was hard bop plain and simple . . ."
Starting as a pianist, then switching to drums, Howard Rumsey focused on the bass after a musician friend told hi there was a shortage of solid players on that instrument. After completing a year at Los Angeles City College, Rumsey landed a choice job with Vido Musso's band, soon following it with a lengthy stint with Johnny "Scat" Davis.
When former Musso sideman Stan Kenton decided to form his own band, Rumsey immediately signed on as bassist. The Kenton ensemble proved to be a huge success, quickly parlaying its local following of college and high school students into a dedicated radio audience from coast to coast.
He incurred a rapid departure from the ensemble when he was literally heaved off the bandstand by Kenton after an onstage disagreement. Upon leaving Kenton, Rumsey worked for several first-class bandleaders, including Charlie Barnet and Barney Bigard.
--TED GIOIA, West Coast Jazz
The personnel of the All-Stars in this album is the current group appearing now with me at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach. I'd like to tell you a little about them.
Bob Cooper is the veteran, having been with us about four years. "Coop" has been very active and dedicated during this period. He has not only contributed much outstanding material to our library, emerging as one of the nation's leading composer-arrangers in his field, but he has also developed into an instrumentalist of great stature. Whether he is playing English horn, oboe or tenor saxophone (which he plays exclusively on this album), "Coop" displays a standard of musicianship that truly reflects his sincere approach to the subject. We think of Bob as a California product, but he is really a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Frank Rosolino, trombonist, has been with us almost two years, and a happy two it has been. Funny Frank is from Detriot, Michigan, and he comes from a musical family. Trombone is his instrument, but, believe me, he could, in a very short time and with very little effort, play good string bass, drums, piano or what have you. His playing and his personality have an infectious quality that never fails to penetrate a person completely.
Conte Candoli rounds out the front line of our group, playing trumpet as only he can. "Count," as his friends call him, comes from Mishawaka, Indiana and one reason he plays so well is because of his vast experience. He has been playing with good bands since his high school days and has developed into the kind of trumpet player who can play excellent lead, play an inspired solo, and add that exciting sound you like to hear when the band reaches its dynamic peak.
Stan Levey, our drummer, has been a member of the All-Stars since the days of Max Roach, who followed Shelly Manne. I'd say he had his work cut out for him, following these two wonderful drummers. Here are a few facts for the record: Stan is from Philadelphia and he appeared on the West Coast first with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in '45. He has been with the All-Stars longer than any other drummer, three years, during which time he has been "Mr. Consistency" himself. That means he hasn't missed a performance or failed to give a swinging one during that time.
Sonny Clark, pianist, is the junior member of the group, having just completed his first year. He is twenty-four years old, comes from Pittsburgh, and has already appeared in Europe with Buddy DeFranco. Sonny is very talented, shows promise as a composer-arranger, besides a great approach to his instrument. We feel he is the new-comer who bears watching.
Isn't it interesting that although we are known as a West Coast group and appear only at the Lighthouse, barely a hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean, I'm the only "native" in the line-up? It seems my one consolation is that with all these good musicians moving out here it won't be many years before their children grow up and will be ready to take up where we leave off.
--HOWARD RUMSEY, from the liner notes,
Music For Lighthousekeeping
A selected discography of Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars.
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