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K. Lawrence Kemp

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it's music that touches the soul I was first exposed to jazz as a child when my Dad would play records of the Dukes of Dixieland and Chris Connor. Then as a high school senior we went to see Benny Benack play at the Riverboat Room at the William Penn Hotel after our Senior Prom in Pittsburgh. I met Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Shew, Ross Barber of the 4 Freshmen, Karyn Allison, Walt Harper, Harold Betters, . The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson's Orchestra in the mid-1970s at the Harmar House near Pittsburgh, Karyn ALlison's shows between 2000 and 2005, I saw her twice and meeting her was a treat. I also liked the shows by Richard Groove Holmes and Ray Bryant which were in intimate night clubs. The first jazz record I bought was Maynard Ferguson's first album on Columbia in 1970 followed by a Ramsey Lewis and a Gene Ammons My advice to new listeners listen to a variety of different musicians and styles of jazz. Or whatever else you have in mind. I've been fortunate to see and hear the musicians live as well as collect a massive library of recorded jazz from Dixieland through the present time. For a couple of years I was even paid a salary to play jazz and talk about it.

My Favorites

  1. Maynard Ferguson- Trumpet Rhapsody
  2. Kenny Burrell-Guitar Forms
  3. Karrin Allyson-Sweet Home Cookin'
  4. Oscar Peterson- Broadway
  5. Rick Gallagher-Sweet Potato Eyebrows
  6. Houston Person-Personified