Larry McDonough and Off Beat, "Live, Cooking at the Dakota"
(LM Jazz 2001)

In 2001 St. Paul Jazz pianist Larry McDonough formed his 5 piece group, Off Beat, to perform his new arrangements, titled Off Beat: Jazz Classics in New Meters.  It was the predecessor to the current Larry McDonough Quartet.

McDonough took jazz classics and put them into different time signatures, changing the rythmn and feel of the tunes.  Arrangements in 5/4 time include Four, Take the 5A Train, Days of Wine and Roses, My Favorite Things, and Aja.  Other arrangements include 7/4 versions of Take 5, Cantaloupe Island and Moment’s Notice, a 9/4 version of 500 Miles High, and Adagio by Samuel Barber with a mixture of 4/4 and 5/4 meters.

Off Beat’s maiden voyage was broadcast live on Cooking at the Dakota on Jazz88, KBEM 88.5 FM Radio on July 30, 2001 by Craig Eichhorn of  KBEM Radio, and mixed and mastered for this CD by Matthew Zimmerman of Wild Sound.

A former high school band director, McDonough has arranged many of the pieces for school jazz ensembles and conducted workshops, teaching both playing and improvisation in odd meters. McDonough has performed for over 30 years.  All of Off Beat are veteran Twin Cities musicians and educators.  He met trumpeter Phil Holm and sax man Jeff King while  recording with Bozo Allegro.  Bassist Bruce “Pooch” Heine and drummer Dave Stanoch come to Off Beat from their trio with guitarist Joel Shapiro, Triplicate.

Larry McDonough radio interview about Off Beat.

1.  Cantaloupe Island in 7/4 (Hancock) 6:28

Herbie Hancock's classic 1960's recording is redone with a casual grove in 7/4 time (where 2 bars of 4/4 time are condensed into a single 7/4 bar) and modal 7/4 harmonies.

2.  Small Steps (McDonough) 7:49

A McDonough original, first recorded on his solo piano CD, Small Steps, and reissued on Oasis Jazz Instrumentals, written in response to Giant Steps, and based on chromatic movement in melody and harmonies.  It incorporates elements of So What, String of Pearls, Stolen Moments, and Strawberry Fields Forever, with everyone trading 8's.

3.  Adagio (Barber) 6:17

A classic orchestral piece in its own right and made famous in the movie Platoon is recast as a jazz standard with trumpet and sax counterpoint in the style of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

4.  Linus and Lucy (Guaraldi) 12:28

McDonough arranged it for his solo CD, Small Steps, built on the modal 7/4 harmonies of the Mile Davis Kind of Blue sextet.

5.  Take the 5A Train in 5/4 (Ellington) 9:23. 

The Duke's popular piece is arranged in 5/4 time, with the melody gently stretched and condensed in the transition, moving between straight and swing rhythms.


"Some very cool music....  'Off beat jazz classics,' just 4/4 music isn't good enough for [McDonough]....  5/4 and 7/4 ... have fun with it....  I love this 5/4 ['Take the 5A Train'].  Do some more!"  Lou Harvin, TPT Public Television.

"Larry McDonough is an original much in the tradition of   Dave Brubeck, and McDonough's piano stylings are intimate and innovative."  LEE PROSSER, JAZZ REVIEW.

"Wonderful, Herbie Hancock-Bill Evan-ish."  LEIGH KAMMAN, THE JAZZ IMAGE, MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO.

All arrangements by Larry McDonough
Off Beat is Larry McDonough, piano, Phil Holm, trumpet,  Jeff King, tenor sax, Bruce "Pooch" Heine, bass, and Dave Stanoch, drums.

Recorded on July 30, 2001, and broadcast live on KBEM, 88.5 FM.  Recorded by Craig Eichhorn, KBEM Radio.  Mixed and Mastered by Matthew Zimmerman, Wild Sound.  Produced by Larry McDonough. 

© 2002 LM Jazz, St. Paul, MN
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