Take Five With Larry Tamanini

Take Five With Larry Tamanini

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Meet Larry Tamanini:
Larry Tamanini is a professional musician with lots of experience in various high-level musical settings.


Teachers and/or influences?
My primary teachers for learning guitar have been Pat Martino, Dennis Sandole and Tom Giacabetti. Like most musicians, I have many influences. My big four on guitar are Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino and Kenny Burrell. Some other instrumentalists that I cannot leave off this list are Dexter Gordon, Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, Don Patterson, Kenny Kirkland and Jimmy Smith.

Some of my favorite musicians are drummers—namely, anything with Billy Higgins, Byron Landham, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Dannie Richmond and Mickey Roker.

I am a huge Weather Report fan and love the music of Steely Dan, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones; I also really dig the blues, including Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Freddie King, B.B. King. Bill Sims, Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
Initially hearing a lot of organ group records got me hooked on the music. Seeing photos of how slick the musicians looked was also a big influence. What really made me want to pursue the music was two big experiences: the first was meeting Pat Martino; the other was setting foot inside Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, in Philadelphia. I haven't been the same since.

Your sound and approach to music:
My approach to the music changes as does my sound, I have always favored an earthy and bluesy sound that swings; that seems to be the basis for my overall aesthetic. My approach varies, depending on the setting, but I try to be a supportive team player and I always want to add to the overall vibe of what's happening.

Your teaching approach:
Everyone is different, you have to find what sticks—as long as you can play good time, that is a good foundation.

Your dream band:
Wow, this one is tricky. I have been blessed to share the stage with Joey DeFrancesco and Byron Landham, and it doesn't get any better than that, even though I did play with Joey and Billy James once. My dream band in a straight-ahead setting would be Billy Higgins, Kenny Kirkland, and Steve Swallow, on upright. I would be in over my head but I would love every grooving quarter note. For an organ group it would have to be Billy James and Don Patterson

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
One time, at Ortlieb's, the tail piece on my guitar split and my instrument was shattered. Luckily, Todd the bartender lived around the corner and I finished gig on his Strat. Thanks again, Todd.

Favorite venue:
Hands down, Ortlieb's was the best.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
I am very proud of the way my first album turned out; it was made under much duress, but everyone that helped me with the album seemed to believe in the music and gave 110%. I am proud of the work I have done for Mark Adams, Kathy Sledge's Brighter Side of Day and Rhenda Fearington's album as well.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Trying to be an honest player and maintaining my musical roots.

Did you know...
The first session I ever went too was at Chris' Jazz Café, and I was so freaked out I couldn't get my guitar in tune, so I punk'd out from sitting in.

CDs you are listening to now:
Dexter Gordon, Gettin' Around;
Keith Jarrett, My Song;
Stanley Turrentine, This Guy's in Love with You;
Grant Green, Iron City; Joe Henderson, Live at the Lighthouse.

Desert Island picks:
Dexter Gordon, Gettin' Around;
Don Patterson, Holiday Soul;
Horace Silver, In Pursuit of the 27th Man;
Jimmy Smith, Prayer Meetin';
Weather Report, Sweetnighter.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Jumbled, with a tad of Facebook-it is.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Jazz is an aural and oral tradition; we need more emphasis on being mentored by seasoned players.

What is in the near future?
Hopefully all of the above. I am always writing and looking forward to my next project.

By Day:
Crime fighter.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Photo Credit: Dan Loeb

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