Philadelphian tenor saxophonist Larry McKenna holds what may be, if not a unique distinction, then certainly a rare one of having played with both Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet. In a career spanning six decades he's played with many other leading jazz figures besides but only occasionally has he stepped out as a leader on a recording session. From All Sides is only his fourth CD in all these years. Nevertheless, 74-year-old McKenna's wonderful form on this collection of originals and standards reasserts his credentials as one of the finest balladeers and interpreters of a tune since tenor saxophonist Lester ...read more
Larry McKenna's tenor saxophone playing is addictive. It's like driving a Maserati: you're probably going to want to take it on the road again and again, because it is so elegant and finely engineered. A product of the late swing band era (he did a turn with Woody Herman), McKenna has kept rigorously on a course that started with Lester Young and culminated with Stan Getz. He has honed that genre to such perfection that today he provides the gold standard.In this album, McKenna takes his Maserati for a spin that involves a degree of risk. He gathers ...read more
Limerick Jazz Festival Various Venues Limerick Ireland September 26-29, 2013 There's a lot to be said for laying strong foundations. By the time the Limerick Jazz Society got it together to put on the city's inaugural jazz festival in 2012 it already had 30 years experience of hosting local and international jazz acts. That's three decades building relations with venues and sponsors, local and national musicians and media, volunteers and supporters, and of course the Limerick public. Even before the first festival took jazz in Limerick to the next level, however, the ...read more
Larry McKenna QuartetJanuary 17, 2012Arch Street Meeting HousePhiladelphia, PAThe Philadelphia jazz scene is well known for its reverence of jazz tradition. Compared to the constantly shifting modern scene of New York City, and the experimental projects produced by the current European scene, Philadelphia musicians are often seen as living examples of the preservation of jazz tradition. No one embodies this principal more meticulously than saxophonist Larry McKenna.McKenna is perhaps the most quintessential of Philadelphia's native jazz musicians, has worked with several jazz legends throughout his lengthy career as both a ...read more
Philadelphia-based tenor saxophonist Larry McKenna is known for his gorgeous sound, the unparalleled beauty of his balladry, and his fluid, bebop-inspired improvisations. Profile showcases McKenna at the height of his interpretive and improvisational powers.Profile consists of a well-chosen set of familiar and lesser-known standards, and originals. It's a blowing session anchored by a heavyweight rhythm section: pianist Tom Lawton never ceases to amaze with his abundant technique and endless stream of ideas; bassist Kevin MacConnell underpins the session with his ringing sound, rock-solid time, and flawless intonation; and drummer Dan Monaghan combines sensitivity and responsiveness with a propulsive ...read more
Tenor saxophonist Larry McKenna could well deserve a place among giants like Lester Young, Stan Getz, and Zoot Sims as a lyrical player whose artistry, precision, and interpretive capacities almost always exceed expectation. As Philadelphia DJ Bob Perkins states, in his liner notes to McKenna's Profile, With Larry, the quality goes in before the McKenna name goes on."
A highly sought after and experienced musician--touring with Woody Herman and accompanying vocalists including Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, and Frank Sinatra--McKenna has settled into a quiet life performing mainly in the Philadelphia area. The city is blessed to have a ...read more
Larry McKenna is a master tenor saxophonist. He has resided in Philadelphia all his life, and so is best known in that city, although he has been on the road a number of times, in particular with the Woody Herman band, and musical insiders everywhere know his work. His CDs as a leader include My Shining Hour (EPE, 1996), It Might As Well Be Spring (Dreambox Media, 2001), and 4 Brothers 7 (Jazzed, 2007), the latter with Frank Tiberi and two other sax alumni from the Herman band. Each of these recordings are masterpieces that show what magic ...read more