Photos by Andrea Canter, JazzInk
We had a wonderful Chet Baker show
at Jazz Central, which was filled to
capacity. Most of the audience was
new to Jazz Central. There were many
magical moments, like Richard reading
his poem about Chet over Steve
channeling Chet on trumpet on My
Funny Valentine, my voice accompanied
only by Greg on bass on How Insensitive,
Steve and Richard ending Night and
Day with an unaccompanied duo trumpet
and sax improvisation, Rosie’s high 5's
while African drumming, trading 4's on
There Never Will Be Another You, and
ending the night with Dean’s explosive
drumming on Summertime in a fast 7/4.
Because the response was so positive,
there will be more Chet shows. Stay tuned.
= = =
Last week the Larry McDonough Quintet
performed the music of Chet Baker. What
= = =
Andrea Canter, JazzInk
January 18, 2015
Larry McDonough devoted more of his
performance to vocals tonight, paying
tribute to Chet Baker at Jazz Central for
an overflow crowd. Enjoyed a thematic
show on the Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz
Central and especially since this is one
theme that has not been sung to death!
Between Larry and Steve, the talents of
Chet Baker were well covered.
= = =
Tonight (Thursday, Jan. 15) at Jazz Central in
Minneapolis: “Chet — The Beautiful Music and
Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker.” If you
saw “Let’s Get Lost,” Bruce Weber’s harrowing
film about 1950s jazz trumpeter and singer Chet
Baker, you know that Baker was a horrible human
being. But he was movie-star handsome in his
pre-junkie days, and he sure could play the
trumpet and sing. Pianist/composer Larry
McDonough can sing like Chet, quiet and cool,
and he’s asked Steve Kenny to play the trumpet
for an evening of exploring Baker’s catalog,
something that hardly ever happens. With Richard
Terrill on saxes, Greg Stinson on bass and Dean
White on drums. 7:30 p.m. $10 suggested
donation at the door.
= = =
Tonight, the Larry McDonough Quintet will
perform a tribute to trumpeter and vocalist
Chet Baker, who rose to fame playing jazz
standards in the 1950s. His cool style of
singing made him a rising star, but a detour
into drug addiction led to his downfall,
including a beating that broke his teeth.
Baker, who made a comeback in the
1970s, died in 1988.
"He was a brilliant improviser and a brilliant
interpreter of melody and style," Bates says.
"His vocal style emerged a little bit into his
career and he became really famous for
that. He had this soft understated thing that
was really lush and people got into it. He
had a great career. It was unfortunately
just one of those classic downfalls from
drug abuse. But he's a brilliant cat and a
= = =
Chet-the Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker: Larry McDonough Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chet Baker was a 50s trumpeter with movie-star good looks, and a “cool” almost detached way of playing and singing. Drug addiction ruined his looks, but even after losing his teeth in a bad drug deal, he was able to perform in the 70s and 80s, producing a number of great CDs before he was found dead on the street below his Amsterdam hotel room. McDonough s singing is also quiet and cool, and has been favorably compared to Baker’s. He’s bringing in Steve Kenny for the trumpet parts, along with Richard Terrill on saxes; Greg Stinson bass; and Dean White on drums. The first set will be “all Chet,” while the second will feature some of McDonough’s songs sung in Chet’s style. It’s rare that anyone tackles Baker’s catalog, especially his singing, so if you’re a fan of jazz singing, you will want to make your way to Jazz Central. Here’s a video of Larry playing piano at Charles DeGaulle airport.
= = =
Known for his original piano arrangements and new compositions that often sport quirky time signatures as well as his vocal interpretations, Larry McDonough put his voice front and center in "Chet - The Beautiful, Tragic Music of Singer and Trumpeter Chet Baker" on Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz Central Studios, January 15th (7:30 pm). Often compared to the late Baker as
a singer, Larry and his quintet will recreate that Baker sound over two sets, the first presenting Baker's music, the second more of Larry's music interpreted in
the Baker style. The quintet will include Steve Kenny on trumpet, Richard Terrill on saxes, Greg Stinson on bass, Dean White on drums, and Larry’s daughter Rosie sitting in on African drum.
Larry McDonough first studied piano in fourth grade, added some vocals and gravitated to neighborhood garage bands in junior high, and was already gigging around town as a high school student in Bloomington, MN. Earning a degree in music education at the University of Minnesota, he had the opportunity to play both piano and trumpet in student ensembles with legends Clark Terry and Thad Jones, and in concerts for President Nixon and the President of Mexico. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, McDonough worked as a part-time band instructor at Bloomington and Minneapolis high schools, and played in a number of Twin Cities’ bands, ranging from jazz to pop and polka. He also performed in his own duos and trios, appearing regularly at the old Night Train club in St. Paul and at Jax Café in Minneapolis.
Concerned that his music career was taking him too far from the “real world,” McDonough enrolled in the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1980, initially attracted to environmental law but then falling in love with legal aid work. After a few years away from music, he began giving some limited performances, but remained focused on his family (he has three daughters) and his career with Legal Aid. Currently, Larry directs pro bono legal services for the poor at Dorsey & Whitney.
Music has pulled McDonough more into the public arena since the late 1990s. “The music gives me an artistic, expressive side. There are some elements in the law where you can do that, but, in music, it's more open-ended, especially in jazz.” He began playing publicly again in solo, duo and trio formats, and with the popular fusion group, Bozo Allegro, and with (among others) the Wolverines and vocalists Patty Peterson, Shirley Witherspoon, Connie Olson, and Vicki Mountain. He also shared the stage with bop sax legend Benny Golson and trumpeter Duane Eubanks, and was inducted into the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame for his work in the group Danny’s Reasons.
Among a number of diverse projects, Larry has been involved with Fingersteps, a program in which children with disabilities write melodies and perform music using adaptive computer hardware and software. McDonough also merges spirituality with his music, often adapting faith-based musical pieces by changing the basic elements to create new arrangements. A composer since high school, Larry currently puts his writing skills to work by composing and arranging music for school music programs, ranging from small groups to concert and jazz bands, exposing young musicians to his “offbeat” harmonies and rhythms. He has also taught through his adjunct appointment to the music faculty of the University of Minnesota. Larry has a number of recordings including solos (Small Steps and Tuscarora), the duo with Richard Terrill, Solotude, and several with his working quartet --Simple Gifts, Angels and Kings/My Favorite Things-- which showcase his ability to turn time inside out and maintain harmonic integrity. He is known for arranging familiar pieces in 5/4 or 7/4 time, giving them a different sound and feel without losing the underlying melody. Further, his feathery touch recalls Bill Evans but with more fingers; his left hand alternately propels and sings; his dazzling two-handed runs display clear articulation from every digit.
Steve Kenny, in addition to his many collaborations as a performing artist, has elevated the local jazz scene in recent months with a weekly summer "all-originals" series at Studio Z and a Saturday Night Jazz series at the Black Dog. Over his career, Kenny has performed with Pete Whitman’s Departure Point, Dave Karr, The Five, What Would Monk Do, and the Cedar Avenue Big Band; is a co-founder of the popular Illicit Sextet; headed five years of weekly gigs at the Artists Quarter with the Bastids and then Group 47; and in the past year has led Group 47 and the Steve Kenny Quartet at gigs at Studio Z, Black Dog, Jazz Central and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Steve has received a Minnesota Music Award, West Bank School of Music Jazz Composer award, and multiple honors as Best Jazz Trumpet at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. He was one of four local jazz musicians commissioned by Zeitgeist to write and perform a new work during the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. And that instrument Steve plays? It's a flumpet-- a hybrid trumpet/flugelhorn.
Bassst Greg Stinson has been the bassist in the Century College Jazz Ensemble for more than 25 years. He also plays in the CC Septet, Shorn Hortz Quintet, Paul Berger Trio, the St. Croix Jazz Ensemble, and regularly subs with
the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Classic Big Band, and Cedar Avenue Big Band. Greg also is an active composer and arranger for area ensembles and big bands, as well as churches and school groups.
Dean White played in various working bands while attending the University of Wisconsin, Superior. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in percussion
performance, he moved to Hollywood, California to attend Musicians Institute
College of Contemporary Music. Half-way through the first year, Dean was offered a main showroom gig at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. He was the first drummer in the Legends In Concert Show that still performs in various incarnations across the country today. Since settling back in the Twin Cities, Dean has performed with the Good, the Bad and the Funky; the Autobody Experience; Century Big Band; Nova Jazz; Big Time Jazz Orchestra; the Shorn Hortz jazz quintet; Power of 10; Jack Knife and the Sharps; Tubby Esquire; Hennessy Brothers jazz; and many others.
Rosie McDonough has performed music since her early years both with her father, Larry McDonough, as well as with Highland Friendship Club, a social group she attends for adults and children with disabilities, and the St. Paul Bridge View and Focus Beyond, public schools she attended for persons with
disabilities. She now works at TSE, a nonprofit company that supports people
with developmental and other intellectual disabilities. Her present musical focus is on African drum.
Chesney Henry “Chet” Baker, Jr., was born on December 23, 1929, and by the mid-1950s he was a popular singer and trumpeter. His hip, cool style of singing and playing jazz standards made him a peaceful alternative to the hectic quality of bebop. Even a movie career awaited, based in part on his leading-man good looks and bad-boy persona. But there was a detour ahead when his drug addiction dominated the 1960s, leading to incarcerations, deportations, and ultimately a drug deal beating that broke his teeth and scarred his movie star looks. With dentures and a new embouchure for playing trumpet—but without the face and voice that had made him a star—he resurfaced in the 1970s and 1980s, again producing recordings at the pace he did in the 1950s. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on May 13, 1988, he was found dead in Amsterdam on the street below his second-story room with serious wounds to his head. The death was ruled an accident, but speculation continues.
Larry Salutes Chet
In the first set, “Chet” will cover the range of the Chet Baker catalog, performing pieces from the 1950s, including "My Funny Valentine," "Autumn Leaves," "When I Fall in Love," "You Don’t Know What Love Is," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "Angel Eyes," as well as songs from the end of Chet’s life, such as "All Blues" (the rare vocal version), "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise," and "Moon and Sand." In the second set, Larry will add pieces from his catalog sung in Chet’s style, including "My Romance," "How Insensitive," "Night and Day" (from his Solitude, Poetry in Jazz), "Lady Day" (an original from his Simple Gifts), and "Summertime" in 7/4 time.
= = =
Thursday, January 15. Pianist/vocalist Larry McDonough is known for his eclectic tastes and quirky arrangements. Tonight it's a new show for vocal jazz night at Jazz Central— “Chet - The Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker." Larry's expanded ensemble includes Richard Terrill on saxophones, Steve Kenny on trumpet, Greg Stinson on bass, Dean White on drums, and special guest Rosie McDonough on African drums.
= = =
Thursday, Jan. 15
Jazz: Chet -- The Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker
Thursday: This week's installment of Jazz Central's Thursday Night Jazz Vocal Series presents "Chet -- The Beautiful, Tragic Music of Singer and Trumpeter Chet Baker," with vocals by St. Paul-based pianist-composer Larry McDonough. Other members of McDonough's quintet include trumpeter Steve Kenny, saxophonist Richard Terrill, bassist Greg Stinson, drummer Dean White and special guest Rosie McDonough on African drum. 7:30 p.m.; Jazz Central, 407 Central Ave., Mpls.; suggested donation $10; 612-281-2591 or jazzcentralstudios.org.
-- Dan Emerson