Jazz is here to stay, Lighthouse Cafe owner Hennessey promises
by Kevin Cody
Lighthouse Cafe owner Paul Hennessey said this week he will make good on his promise in March, at the start of the pandemic, to reopen his live music club “better than ever.” Recent social media reports indicated the legendary downtown Hermosa Beach jazz club had been sold and would no longer be a live music venue.
Hennessey said he has partnered with new investors, with the understanding that the club’s long history as a jazz club, and more recently a punk and original music venue, will continue.
He said the new investors plan interior upgrades, but no changes to the Lighthouse’s historic, brick exterior or to the neon lighthouse sign atop the building.
There will be one significant change, Hennessey said. “We’re adding air conditioning. That will make the dancers happy, assuming people are ever allowed to get close enough in public to dance at nightclubs again.”
Throughout its early jazz years, the club’s dutch door was left open, filling Pier Avenue with music. In more recent years, the club has been required to keep the dutch door closed to comply with the city noise ordinance.
The Lighthouse established its reputation as the birthplace of West Coast jazz in the late 1940s when the club’s manager Howard Rumsey, a bass player, formed the Lighthouse All-Stars. The club’s jazz history was celebrated in the 2015 movie La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
Hennessey purchased the club in the early 1980s and expanded the music to include local punk and rock bands. Sunday brunch jazz performances, organized first by jazz arts and recording veteran Ozzie Cadena and then by his wife Gloria, continued until the start of the pandemic.
Hennessey said he will resume the jazz brunches. ER
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