Monday, January 8, 2018


Rudolph Onderwyzer

     If I had to characterize my first impression of college, I would have to be honest and say that my matriculation to George Pepperdine College, which took place in the fall of 1953, was the real beginning with my love affair of Progressive Jazz.  

     I did not know of Mr. Onderwyzer, who over time was the owner of three jazz clubs - Shelly's Manne Hole, The Lighthouse, and Hop Singh's.  But what I did learn yesterday is that it was he who brought the venues into being featured progressive Jazz in Los Angeles.  It was new, and trendy, and cool, and it touched my soul then and has stayed there for well over sixty years.  

     I was lucky that my college was so close to these venues.  I saw musicians like Shelly Mann, Charlie Bird, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Cal Tjader, Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Chico Hamilton, Herbie Mann, Freddy Katz - and others make music that is still my choice of listening pleasure.  I'll venture to say that there are many others beside me who still feel that cool jazz running through their veins.

     Mr. Onderwyzer later was aware of the changes in the music market, and when the cool jazz market changed, he retired as a Jazz club owner.  

    I did not know of Mr. Onderwyzer until his picture and bio ran in the Los Angeles Times yesterday announcing his death on October 10, 2017.  I wish I had been able to tell him what an impact his life and love of music has made in my life. His family, should they accidentally stumble over this blog as they nose around online, will understand my feelings for Rudolph Onderwyzer and it is true, as his obituary ends with.. "He will be remembered by not only his children, but all the people whose lives his Jazz clubs and the music touched. You will be missed, Rudolph Marco Onderwyzer.  Rest in Peace."

      Mr. Onderwyzer really is not an "Immortal Nobody."  He definitely is a Somebody, but I just didn't know it.  

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