Winona Daily News
"Street performers enjoy the Acoustic,"
Winona Daily News
By Christina Eberhard

"Another musician appearing at the Acoustic Café this month, on July 29, is jazz pianist Larry McDonough. Think piano music is boring? Then you haven't heard Larry McDonough's rendition of Layla,' or Linus and Lucy' from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

Basically, I take tunes other people know and recognize, change the rhythms and harmony, but the melody stays the same, as if it had been written that way' McDonough said. For example, I take 'Layla' by Eric Clapton and play it the way Herbie Hancock would play it.'

Another thing McDonough does is play bass solos with his left hand as well as his right hand in each piece. Within the same song, he can play solos in sequence, or trade back and forth, a skill not widely demonstrated by most jazz pianists. McDonough also plays snippets of well-known songs he calls quotes' mixed in with other songs and asks his audience to guess as many melodies as they can. It is not uncommon for him to throw in such television theme songs as The Simpsons,' The Flintstones,' and The Dick Van Dyke Show.'

Playing piano since the fourth grade, McDonough added the clarinet and trombone in fifth and sixth grades. In junior high, he joined a rock band but discovered jazz in the late 1970s. Currently, McDonough performs solo, in duos and with the 9-piece jazz fusion big band Bozo Allegro. His first solo CD, `Small Steps,' came out this year.

A full-time attorney for Legal Aid, an organization that provides free legal service for those who cannot afford it, McDonough performs three to five times a month. Believing that `jazz players don't get out of the cities as much as they should,' McDonough said this will be his first performance at the Acoustic Café. He says he prefers playing coffee houses to bars because `people actually listen to the music.`

He hopes that through his music, people will come to appreciate jazz piano as more than just background music. `I hope people have fun with the music, whether they're really just interested in a nice cup of coffee, or take time to listen to the nuances.`"