posted by Robert J. Carmack
The Lighthouse Café is a nightclub located at 30 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, California. It has been active as a jazz showcase since 1949 and, under the name “The Lighthouse”, was one of the central West Coast jazz clubs from the 1950s through the late 1970s. Purely talking Jazz years, It has been a long time, since I personally use to frequent these digs as a very young budding saxophonist growing up in the early 1960s Los Angeles. Listening to two jazz stalwarts on the radio at the time in KBCA FM 105.1 & the KNOB “JAZZ KNOB” out of Long Beach. hipster Jocks ruled the radio waves back then LA. Tommy Bee, Jammin’ Jai Rich, Rick Holmes, Chuck Niles, Les Carter, Tollie Strode with “Slow traffic to the right” , “while travelin’ in my Electro-Magnetic Bag.”
AllMusic rated the album with 4 stars noting: “Feel is what dictates the material and its execution on this set, without unnecessary attention paid to crowd or recording apparatus. This is one the most intimate jazz shows captured on tape during the 1960s. It gives record buyers the sound of a band in full possession of their considerable capabilities, celebrating them in a relaxed environment, playing their own brand of grooved-out ’60s jazz”. I actually had the opportunity to catch this very lively and “Funky as it wanted to be band” ,to borrow a catch-phrase from the era describing the feel and sound of the times. Borrowing heavily from the fresh pop culture and songs the crusaders were able to marry the hard bop edginess and the approachable groove-based chart-topping style. Jazz Crusaders were starting to dominate the west coast appeal and the young fans like myself. I was all of 17 in the fall of 1967, when this was recorded, but released in early 1968.
The best part about growing up in the early 60s and loving live jazz , You could actually go see who was playing the music you heard on radio. Because of the policy for “under -21” fans who obeyed the rules and “maintained their cool” under the fire of the electrifying bands that appeared at the beach venue.. IMHO, You might as well considered the Crusaders the House band, they appeared hundreds of times over the years, but recorded almost all of their most classic of all records with that great Lighthouse crowd over the microphones too. All of which gave it that “Flavor” like a great Gumbo meal. I would be here all day trying review all the great music from the pen or horns of Jazz crusaders, starting in 1962 , one could catch the very best in music, bar none, and be on the “hippest scene” while doing it at the Lighthouse.
I invite you to pick up a copy of this great album or whatever choice of media format is today vinyl, CD or downloads. GET IT!!
Join me ,along with some very special musicians in Los Angeles June 22 Friday night at 9pm as we turn back the clock 50 years and perform the best of the jazz crusaders: the early years up to late 70s. I have culled simply the best compositions and recordings for the featured band Crusader Legacy 5 Plus.. hand-picked stellar musicians for this event at the World Stage Performance Gallery 4321 Degnan Blvd. L.A. California 90008 – $25 –
Go online at http://www.eventbrite.com under title of Street Life: The Magic and Music of the Jazz Crusaders ….
- “Ooga-Boo-Ga-Loo” (Stix Hooper) – 6:39
- “Eleanor Rigby” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 7:32
- “Native Dancer” (Buster Williams) – 8:52
- “Never Had It So Good” (Joe Sample) – 7:15
- “The Emperor” (Williams) – 8:50
- “Impressions” (John Coltrane) – 6:12
- “Cathy the Cooker” (Wayne Henderson) – 6:22 Bonus track on CD reissue
- “Shadows” (Williams) – 4:03 Bonus track on CD reissue
- “Tough Talk” (Henderson, Hooper, Sample) – 8:01 Bonus track on CD reissue
- “Third Principle” (Wilton Felder) – 8:45 Bonus track on CD reissue