Tag Archives: Larry McKenna with strings

LARRY McKENNA INVITES US TO DREAM (SILAS IRVINE, JOE PLOWMAN, DAN MONAGHAN: Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, May 22, 2022)

What follows is the center, the heart, you might say, of the LARRY McKENNA WITH STRINGS project, one that is making progress towards completion. So when you hear the quiet interludes in this performance, you may imagine them filled with strings, English horn, harp, and more — arrangements by Larry and Jack Saint Clair.

But when I was sitting in the studio at Rowan University on May 22, 2022, marveling, I didn’t feel the need to imagine anything. Larry; Silas Irvine, piano; Joe Plowman, string bass; Dan Monaghan, drums, invited me to make myself comfortable in a dream in sound, and I am so grateful.

I am not an insistent person, but I insisted that I be allowed to share this interlude, this dream-vision in sound and textures, so that my readers could come along as well.

DREAMSVILLE, incidentally, is by Henry Mancini, and first appeared as part of the music for the television series PETER GUNN. But there’s nothing noir about the quartet’s interpretation:

Isn’t that lovely?

I can’t wait for the project to reach fruition.

May your happiness increase!

“YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OF YOUR CHAIR SOMETIME”: LARRY McKENNA with STRINGS (World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, October 12, 2021)

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that October 12 has not come yet, so before someone writes in to explain my error, I am announcing an event that will take place in slightly more than two weeks from this evening. And it concerns this man, seen in the photograph above, the wondrous tenor saxophonist Larry McKenna. Here’s what he sounds like:

Now, imagine that sound backed by a different (but equally splendid) jazz rhythm section, and a string ensemble of three cellos, one violin, one English horn doubling oboe, one flute, arrangements by Larry and by Jack Saint Clair, the latter of whom will also be conducting.

Yes, you don’t need to imagine, but you do need to attend the event in real time as it is taking place at World Cafe Live, 8:30 to 10:30 PM, Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The WCL is located at 3025 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19104 — not far from the 30th Street station. (I’ve been there: it was a very welcoming place.)

The price is $35.00 per ticket, and it is general admission: you can buy tickets and read about Covid-19 protocols here. Yes, you will have to show proof of vaccination; yes, you will be expected to wear your mask except when eating or drinking.

Yes, I am attending. Yes, I will bring my video camera, but even I — who prides himself on the possibilities of video-recording — will say that a video is not the same as being there in person. And, no (the first no!) the event is not being streamed, nor is it a seven-night engagement, and the WCL is not the size of Carnegie Hall, so, to quote the oracle Patrick O’Leary, “You snooze, you lose.”

And: before the virus changed the landscape, there were always a thousand reasons to stay home, and we know them well. Given the virus, there are more reasons. But: to me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Perhaps it is to you also. And, in case you want to know the source of the aphorism, “You have to get out of your chair sometime,” c’est moi. I hope to see you there — for beauty’s sake.

May your happiness increase!