Chet Baker in Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach in the 1950s was a focal point for what was being called "West Coast Jazz." One of the key participants in that "cool" movement was trumpet player Chet Baker. The following is from "As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir," written by Baker, and published by St. Martin's Griffin in 1997:

"Hermosa Beach is usually sunny with just enough ocean breeze to keep it from ever getting really hot. We lived up on 16th Street, up the hill from Pacific Coast Highway, for nearly four years ..."

"I became disenchanted with school during my junior year at Redondo High. I cut lots of classes and spent nearly every day on the beach or along the cliffs of Palos Verdes diving for abalone ..."

"I had to quit El Camino in the middle of my second year. My music teacher told me I'd never make it as a musician, and as I never desired to be an English teacher, I quit ..."

"Hermosa Beach in the summer of '50 was jumping with hundreds of beautiful young things lying all over the place and guys walking up and down the Strand, flexing their muscles and talking hip ... but inside the Lighthouse on Sundays was the best, with the beautiful people coming in the wet suits, sitting along the bar or at a table, sipping beers and digging the music. The only drawback was a big, dumb plainclothes cop, who would come in and stand around to see if there was anyone he could fuck with ..."

(April 4, 2003)

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