Simple Gifts 10th Anniversary
Mankato and St. Peter Shows

Ten Years, Two Months, Two Days

What do children with disabilities, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Richard Rodgers,  Ludwig van Beethoven, Spinal Tap, Sleely Dan, the Middle East, odd meters, and award winning Minnesota poetry have in common?

Larry McDonough Quartet

Ten years ago, The Larry McDonough Quartet (LMQ) recorded the CD “Simple Gifts.”

Simple Gifts charted at 29 on the CMJ Jazz Chart and has been played on more than 100 stations around the world

In September and October,
on the 1st Fridays of the month,
LMQ will celebrate the 10th Anniversary with full length performances at
The Wine Café and the Arts Center of Saint Peter

Fri. Sep. 5, 8:00 pm
The Wine Café
301 North Riverfront Drive
Mankato, MN 56001

Fri. Oct. 3, 7:00 pm
Jazz at the Arts Center
Arts Center of Saint Peter
South Minnesota Avenue
St. Peter, MN MN 56082
Doors open at 7:00 pm for cash refreshments sponsored by Patrick's on Third and Morgan Creek Vinyards. Music begins at 7:30 pm.

Families and students are welcome.

Larry McDonough Quartet
Larry McDonough, piano, vocals, compositions, and arrangements
MSU Professor Richard Terrill, saxes and poetry
MSU Professor and St. Peter resident Craig Matarrese, bass
Mankato music teacher Chaz Draper, drums

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Peter Kuller, Radio Adelaide, Australia
“This was not a simple gift, it was a substantial gift! Larry McDonough is giving Beethoven, Gershwin, an Rogers & Hammerstein a whole new life. I just love it …. This music is indeed a gift, thank you very much!”

Joost Van Steen  Jazz & Blues Tour Radio,The Netherlands
“What a great CD. Fantastic stuff!”

Mark Robinson Auckland, New Zealand
“It is a beautiful release.”

Daniel M. Klein, CILU Radio - Thunder Bay, Ontario
“A solid recording; an intriguing post-bop romp into standards and other tunes.”

Scott Yanow  LA Jazz Scene
“Larry McDonough is an inventive pianist .... The highly enjoyable is music is recommended ....”

Dick Metcalf  Zzaj Productions Improvijazzation Nation
“You'll not likely find a better gift than Larry's simple, yet enchanting, keyboard style .... This is one of the best keyboardoriented CD's I've heard this year, & in addition to a most highly recommended rating, it also gets the ‘pick’ of this issue for ‘most sophisticated keyboard jazz’!”

Chris Spector  Midwest Record 
“Solid jazz piano man that serves it up in fine form.”

Andrea Canter, Jazz Police
“Larry McDonough’s long-awaited new recording serves up divergent delights, from a reconstructed holiday chestnut to inside-out renditions of jazz standards, from harmonically and rhythmically altered traditional melodies to a trio of original tunes. With a feathery touch that recalls Bill Evans but with more fingers and a unique approach to time that makes the most worn carol or standard a new adventure, Simple Gifts proves to be anything but “simple” - but, for those fortunate enough to hear this music, it is indeed a gift.”

More reviews

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Released locally in 2005 and nationally and internationally in 2008, Simple Gifts charted 29 on the CMJ Jazz Chart and has been played on 100 stations around the country and throughout the world.

Radio list

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Simple Gifts represents the range of material performed by the Larry McDonough Quartet:

Odd meters (Simple Gifts and Dame la Mano in 7, Aja and My Favorite Things in 5, and Ode to Joy and They Can’t Take That Away from Me in 3)

Music based on melodies written by children with disabilities, including Larry daughter Rosie, through the Fingersteps Program (Elie’s Theme)

Other originals (Tuscarora and Lady Day)

Vocals (Simple Gifts, Lady Day, and They Can’t Take That Away from Me)

Reharmonization of pieces of faith (Simple Gifts and Ode to Joy)

Broadway revisited (My Favorite Things and They Can’t Take That Away from Me)

Smooth (Aja and Elie’s Theme)

Avant garde (My Favorite Things)

Sound clips

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Larry McDonough is a St. Paul jazz pianist and singer, performing around the world and recording with his group the Larry McDonough Quartet as well as solo, and in duos and trios. He has performed with legendary saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, Trombonist Fred Wesley, and trumpeter Duane Eubanks, as well as a who’s who of local jazz artists, and was inducted into the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame for his work in the group Danny’s Reasons. He also is a lawyer and law professor selected by William Mitchell College of Law as one of "100 Who Made a Difference" over the 100 year history of the school. He directs pro bono legal services for the poor at Dorsey & Whitney.

Sax player and Minnesota State University Mankato English Professor Richard Terrill received the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, for his poetry compilation “Coming Late to Rachmaninoff” (University of Tampa Press, 2003). Terrill has been performing with Larry McDonough since December 2001. He also has performed with guitarist Jim McGuire and with Chaz Draper's Uptown Jazz Quartet. As a college student, Terrill was a member of the award winning University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble, and performed with later-to-be Pat Metheny keyboardist Lyle Mays in the Lyle Mays Quartet, winner of small group honors at the Midwest College Jazz Festival. He has also worked with pianist Geoff Keezer. He teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Bassist, Mingus stylist and Minnesota State University Mankato Philosophy Professor Craig Matarrese Craig Matarrese moved to Mankato after playing bass in Chicago and Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, over seven years.  He has performed with Ron Bridgewater, Jeff Helgesen, Thomas Wirtel, Morgan Powell, Tim Green, and others, and studied with bassist Scott Mason in Chicago.  He studied music and philosophy as an undergraduate at Northwestern University and went on to get his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Drummer Chaz Draper played his first professional gig in the sixties and has been playing ever since. Gigs have included touring and recording on four continents.  He has recorded or performed with Freddie Frederick Orchestra, Joe Schultz, Mamie Van Doren, Michael Johnson, Lawrence Welk, Billy Preston, Free and Easy, Helen O'Connell, Billy Barber, Flym Johnson, Aura, Myron Florin, Rise and Shine, Uptown Jazz Quartet, Mankato Symphony Orchestra, James Darren, Smokescreen, and the Minnesota State Band, and has taught at Minnesota State University Mankato and Bethany College.  Andrea Canter, Jazz Police, said of him: “propulsive percussion that suggested the drum kit had suddenly doubled in size.”

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Larry McDonough