Howard Rumsey

Howard Rumsey may have played the first electric bass to be recorded on a jazz recording.  While performing with Stan Kenton’s first orchestra in the early fall of 1941, Howard was asked by the bandleader to experiment with a new electric bass.  The instrument had no name on it and Howard was never sure who made it, but it produced a unique sound, something Kenton was looking for.  Howard recalled the instrument to have been rather crude and the amplifier was unable to project the low notes without quickly distorting, but he recognized it to be a pioneering instrument that was later enhanced by several companies including Ampeg.  Howard went on to become one of the leaders of the West Coast style of jazz as well as the LA jazz scene as bandleader at the celebrated Lighthouse club.  He also created and produced a series of jazz performances on the beach in LA and can be heard on hundreds of recordings.

Interview Date:
March 10, 2009
Date of Birth:
November 7, 1917
Deceased Date:
July 15, 2015
Job Title:
Musician

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