Larry McKenna Jazz

Saxophonist, Composer & Arranger


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My friend, Dan Monaghan, who is also a great drummer and frequent bandmate has helped me to fulfill a long time dream of having a big band to play my arrangements. He has assembled 16 of the finest jazz musicians from the Philadelphia area plus the wonderful vocalist, Joanna Pascale to rehearse and perform a book of charts that I have been writing over the past few years. We were to perform tonight at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philly but had to cancel due to one of the biggest snow storms we've had in some time. We will re-schedule. Joanna performs 9 songs that I had the pleasure of scoring the background for. She did such an amazing job on my recent cd, "Larry McKenna From All Sides" and I've written big band charts for "The Close Things" and "One Falling Tree", both from that cd. "One Falling Tree" is the tune that WRTI listeners chose to come in at #2 from the Top100 releases of 2013. It was on their Hot 11 Countdown for 18 consecutive weeks. Please stay tuned to see when we are re-scheduling the big band gig. You can also check it out on facebook. Enter the timeline for the Larry McKenna Jazz Orchestra (LMJO).

Desert Island Jazz

David May, host of Desrt Island Jazz on Pure Jazz Radio and at 91.1 FM WHFC, Bel Air, MD just posted on facebook his Top 20 cds of  2013 and Larry McKenna From All Sides is on the list, which includes the likes of Monty Alexander, Steve Gadd, Christian McBride, Bill Harris etc. David has been a big supporter of our music. Thanks, David.

CD Release Party

Tonight ( Nov. 2nd, 2013 ) is a big night for me. It's the evening of the CD Release Party for my new cd," Larry McKenna From All Sides". It will be held at Chris' Jazz Cafe at 1421 Sansom St. Philadelphia, Pa. There will be two sets, 8 & 10 pm and the entire personnel from the recording will be there, performing all the tunes from the cd. Joanna Pascale, George Rabbai, Joe McDonough, Lee Smith, Kevin MacConnell, Pete Smyser, Tom Lawton, Josh Richman, Dan Monaghan and myself. Of course we will play " One Falling Tree" twice since it has been #1 for 4 weeks on WRTI's Hot 11 Countdown. This song, written by me with lyrics by Melissa Gilstrap has created some stir and we couldn't be happier. Please do your best to attend this evening. I promise some outstanding music and a good time for all.

I'm thrilled to announce that "One Falling Tree" from my cd, Larry McKenna From All Sides has been at #1 for the past 3 weeks on WRTI's Hot 11 Countdown. Thanks to listeners who have requested Melissa Gilstrap's and my song, sung so beautifully by Joanna Pascale and backed by our All-Star Philly band. WRTI is Temple University's classical & jazz radio station in Philadelphia and reaches Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and on line the entire world.

I'm pleased to announce that " One Falling Tree" which is a tune written by me with lyrics by Melissa Gilstrap and sung by Joanna Pascale has jumped from #7 last week to #2 this week on WRTI"s Hot Eleven Countdown. WRTI Is Temple University's Jazz and Classical music station in Philadelphia. The song is from my brand new cd" Larry McKenna From All Sides". Hot 11 Countdown represents the most listener requested selections and I'm happy to say that I didn't have to prompt friends or relations to call in. That makes this distinction all the more satisfying for me. 

Had a great gig on Friday at the new Barnes Museum where I was a guest with The After Hours Trio. This is a terrific group which consists of Najwa Parkins, vocals, Dan Hanrahan, guitar, and Justin Sekelewski, bass. What a wonderful band. Each  member is first rate. It was such a pleasure to work with such talented and professional musicians. Hope they ask me to join them again.

Had a great 2 sets this past Saturday at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philly with the wonderful vocalist, Jackie Ryan. She was fabulous! We had Tom Lawton on piano, Lee Smith on bass, and Dan Monaghan on drums. A bonus was Jackie singing Perhaps This Wintertime ( composed by yours truly and Melissa Gilstrap ) as a slow bossa. Fantastic. Can't wait 'till she returns to our area. She has a new cd coming out in January.

Sorry, Folks, but tonight's Big Horn Band gig at Chris' has been canceled. Look for further notices.

cd sessions

We just finished the 3rd of 3 sessions at The Music Centre in Exton, Pa. That's the recording studio run by Glenn Ferracone where I've recorded many times.

We've had George Rabbai, Tom Lawton, Josh Richman, Kevin MacConnell, Dan Monaghan, Lee Smith, Pete Smyser, Joe McDonough and Joanna Pascale to join me in recording 4 stansards and 8 originals.

Joanna performs 4 tunes composed by me and Lyricist, Melissa Gilstrap. Joanna sounds out of this world fantastic. Can't wait to get this out. Everyone performed at the highest level.

Colorado Tour

Hi. Just returned from a Philork Jazz tour of several cities in Colorado including Aspen, Denver and Vail.

Philork Jazz is a group that was formed by Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Timpanist, Don Liuzzi and includes Tony Miceli on vibes, Adam Glazer on piano, Mike Shahan, Phila. Orch. bassist and yours truly on tenor. We enjoyed appreciative audiences at all venues.

My tunes on webcast

If you go to between 1-4P.M. and 8:30-11:30 P.M. you can hear my compositions " You Know It's Me " and " Is It Over My Head " , both from my " Profile" cd.

Don Wilson

We will all miss the great musician and wonderful friend, Don Wilson. What an exquisite pianist. As a soloist or accompianist, he was world class. Anytime I had occasion to play with him or just be in his company was a treat. Our last gig together was at Loew's Hotel. It was a night of great conversation and great playing ( at least on Don's part ). He will always be remembered in the Philly Jazz community.

 I was quite honored this past Monday when Dennis Wasko and Chris Farr presented me with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz performance and education from the University of the Arts. It was a surprise and a thrill.

Thanks to those people as well as Marc Dicciani and the rest of the Faculty.

I'm extremely pleased to inform everyone that my good friends, Denise King and Barry Wahrhaftig have recorded a beautiful rendition of Perhaps This Wintertime , which was composed by Melissa Gilstrap ( lyrics ) and yours truly ( music ). Denise, Barry and The Hot Club of Philadelphia have come up with a great arrangement that features wonderful backing by the band and some terrific solo work by Barry, and of course Denise's fantastic singing. Please check it out on CD Baby and/ or Sound Cloud. Thanks, D.K. , B.W., and THCOP. We're so proud.

I was pleasantly surprised today to learn that Jeff Rzepiela in California has analyzed my solo on "My Shining Hour" from my CD of the same name.  His work is presented online in the Dec. 2011 issue of his "Scooby-Sax Newsletter."  Thanks so much, Jeff!  I'm honored that you took the time to put this all together. 

Click" to read the analysis.

Just finished an exciting 3 days with the world renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. What a thrill!

Everyone was very supportive and made the engagement very pleasant for me. Thank you, orchestra members and everyone concerned. Also, thanks to all who came to see us.

Bob, her name is Lisanne Lyons.  It was a kick to work with her and to hear her sing Perhaps This Wintertime.

Boca Raton Concert

This past Tuesday ( Nov. 15th ) I performed with Jim Hayward & his band with vocalist Lisanne Lyons at the Spanish River Performing Arts Center in Boca Raton, Fl.

It was a very well received show. I would guess we had an audience of around 500. Beautiful theatre, great band, and wonderful singing by Lisanne.Among other songs, she performed " Perhaps This Wintertime" which was composed by yours truly along with lyrics by Melissa Gilstrap.  There was also a segment with a teriffic comedian named " Sarge " who will be appearing in the new Gary Marshall movie " Thanksgiving Day " due out next month.

All in all, a very pleasant experience and Florida was beautiful.

High Note Cafe

Hey, everybody,

             If you haven't checked out the High Note Cafe & Franco- Luigi's, start tomorrow ( Thurs. ) .  The food is fantastic and Tom Adams and I will be playing jazz from 6-10. 13th & Tasker Sts. Philadelphia

Jazz at Little Bar

This coming Friday, Sept. 9th Little Bar at 8th & Fitzwater Sts. will be featuring New York ( via Australia ) saxophonist Jacam Manricks. His band will be Linda Oh on bass and our own Rodney Green on drums.

Let's get out and support both Jacam and his band as well as Little Bar which is trying to contribute to the Philly Jazz Scene.


I'd like to thank Tony Williams and The Mt. Airy Cultural Society for including me among this year's honorees at the Tony Williams Jazz Festival. I feel truly honored to be in a group consisting of Tyrone Brown, John Blake, Odean Pope, Curtis Warner and Tommy Campbell.

Florida gig


  check out my events calander. You'll see I have been invited to play in Boca Rato, Fl. in November.

Lisanne Lyons, who is a wonderful vocalist has chosen to sing Perhaps This Wintertime which I co-composed with Melissa Gilstrap for my album " Profile".

June 17th Concert

When I posted my events calander I failed to mention that the great vibist, Tony Miceli will be joining us at Proline Music for the cd release of Lynn Randall's " Just Friends ".

Thanks, Herb & Jean

Sorry I couldn't attend Herb's performance. Hope it went well. Maybe next time.

Ill be at Mt. Laurel Library this Sunday at 2 P.M. Check events on my site. Larry

Jackie Ryan Gigs

This past week, we did three gigs with the wonderful vocalist, Jackie Ryan. We did a private concert for P.N.C. Bank on Wednesday and two nights at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia. Great music with great musicians such as Lee Smith, Tom Lawton, Dan Monaghan.  The great pianist, Aaron Graves filled in for Tom on Friday and did an outstanding job.

Radio Interview

This evening I will be interviwed by David May on WHFC 91.1 FM Bel Air Md. Harford Community Radio. Dave will be playing some of our cds as well as chatting with me about upcoming gigs etc.

You can also listen online. Probably the best way.


Due to the forecast of snow, the Appolinaire gig for Jan. 11th has been postponed. Sorry

Radio Show

I'll be chatting with Jeff Duperon this Sunday evening on WRTI at 8:45 P.M. Listen in.

nice review

Got a really nice review in Cadence Magazine for Profile.


Thanks, Renee. I didn't even know. I appreciate your interest  and going to the trouble to inform me  about WRTI's picks of the week.

 Hope to see you at Kimberton. Larry

Icon Magazine

We recieved a really great review of our new cd, Profile in the current ( Feb. ) issue of Icon Magazine which is a rather new and classy and free publication that can be found in Icon boxes throughout Center City and the burbs.

Icon contains articles and reviews of and about all things to do with the arts. The writers are knowledgeable. I hope you get a chance to check it out.

CD review

We received a nice review of Profile in the Philadelphia Inquirer Dec.27th.