Larry Vuckovich has won acclaim from critics and jazz audiences for his deeply imaginative style and repertoire heard at prestigious North American and European jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals. He is as equally at home in world music/classically influenced modal jazz as he is in hard-swinging bebop, post-bop, contemporary jazz, and down-home blues. The New York Times notes that his unique outlook and collection of influences "set him apart from most pianists who are heard regularly in New York". The Village Voice comments on his "book of piano gems that will keep you guessing". The Toronto Globe and Mail calls him "a musician who sits apart from the rest by virtue...of his taste for both the exotic and the exquisite".
Cited by piano legend Barry Harris as "one of the premier West Coast pianists", Mr. Vuckovich brought his Jazz-Latin Trio/Quartet, featured on his two recent piano trio/quartet CDs, to Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca Cola in New York on a recent East Coast tour. On the same tour, Marian McPartland invited him to interview and perform with her on her Piano Jazz show, broadcast to national and global NPR affiliates. A versatile pianist and leader, Mr. Vuckovich's performances have gone from soloist at the Fazioli piano series in San Francisco, New York and Chicago, to conducting an 18-piece band, which sold out the legendary 600-seat 2007 Jazz at Filoli show in Woodside, California.
Among his last three recordings for Tetrachord: Something Special placed #3 on JazzWeek NPR (National Public Radio) reporting charts. His earlier recordings for his label: High Wall: Real Life Film Noir and Street Scene, placed in the Top 10 of the JazzWeek NPR charts, and were heard regularly on XM Satellite radio. They have won praise from top critics:
"... he creates an earthy post-bop style of richly varied improvisational expression."Jazz Podium (Germany)
"... a pianist whose evocative touch and poetic (but unsentimental) sensibility convey the wisdom of deep musical life experience"Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times
"A true musician's musician...originality, elegance, dexterity and most of all great sense of swing, time, space and phrasing. For those who are keen on a superior jazz trio, Street Scene is highly recommended."Gilbert Mathieu, Jazz Improv
"... any discussion of the best jazz piano players in the world must now include Larry Vuckovich!"Brad Stone, Music Director, KSJS, San Jose, CA
"A MONSTER of a player who should be much more well known."Gary Walker, Music Director, WBGO, NJ/NYC
"San Francisco pianist Larry Vuckovich has been an accompanist, bandleader and world-jazz pioneer over seven decades. His latest album Somethin' Special is exactly that. His playing sparkles with understated wit... He's telling a story... It's the work of a master."Andrew Gilbert, columnist for San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Jazz Times, Down Beat.
"Great new release. Great selection of tunes…your interpretations and playing are the ABSOLUTE as always."Gary Walker, WBGO Jazz Radio
"This CD easily lives up to its title with outstanding performances throughout the sessions." "...Pannonica mixes glistening lines with jaunty bop." "...Stardust is lush with a few Tatum-inspired runs. ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Stars Ken Dryden, AllMusicGuide.com Read Full Review →
"I think it kills."Thomas Conrad, Eighty-Eights column, JazzTimes
"Somethin' Special is a lovely album, beautifully performed. Vuckovich has selected a set of tunes that includes some unjustly unfamiliar numbers, and Hamilton and Jewkes add grace and sensitivity to the excellent playing of the central trio."Bruce Lindsay, AllAboutJazz.com Read Full Review →
His Blue Balkan ensemble has won praise from critics as a pioneer in world music jazz fusion. The CD reissue, with new material, of his acclaimed 1980 recording (Downbeat 4 1/2 stars), was named one of the top CDs of 2002 by critic Gary Giddins in The Village Voice. The ensemble combines modal modern jazz of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, and Balkan/Roma (gypsy) elements.
"Drawing from his ethnic background as well as his blues roots, pianist Larry Vuckovich makes a warm and rich statement with Blue Balkan." ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Stars Down Beat, October 1981
"Most convincing, most integrated combinations ever of ethnic music and straight ahead Jazz." Cadence, June 1981 "...ahead of its time...intriguing, fresh-sounding jazz...."Cadence, June 2002
"Vuckovich has mixed his idioms with skill and is aided in no small measure by Bobby Hutcherson on marimba and vibes, Erik Golub on viola and violin."Leonard Feather, L.A. Times 1981
"Prefiguring the much-lauded work of Dave Douglas and even John Zorn ... modern context ... angular, cubist, post-bop compositions ... the gypsy-style melodies, authentically believeable on their own work effortlessly"Matt Collar, AllMusic.com 2002 Read Full Review →
"hailed for its diverse talent and global influences ... re-released with new music ... global jam session ... Vuckovich can swing hard ... killer blues"Mark F. Turner, Allaboutjazz.com 2002 Read Full Review →
Links to just a few of Larry’s recordings:
Jeff Chambers (Bass)
Bassist Jeff Chambers masterfully breaks the conventionally accepted boundaries of his instrument and forges new melodic possibilities. According to San Francisco Chronicle music critic Phil Elwood, "Jeff Chambers makes playing upright bass look and sound so easy with his rhythmic sense and melodic vocabulary". Chambers is known for his impeccable timing, dynamic rhythms and improvisational dexterity. Chambers musical style is both lyrical and playful. With his distinct touch, smooth sound and innovative sensibility he travels the vast tradition of rhythm-fueled bass playing, skillfully referencing his predecessors while exploring new musical territory. He has played at venues such as the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland); Concord Jazz Festival (CA); Monterey Jazz Festival (CA); Fujitsu Jazz Festival (Japan), the Newport Jazz Festival (RI) and countless others. He has also performed for the Black Entertainment Television Network at the St. Lucia and Anguilla Jazz Festivals.
Jason Lewis (percussion)
Percussionist Jason Lewis has played with a variety of talented musicians including; John Stowell, Gary Burton, Gil Goldstein, James Moody, Mark Murphy, Anton Schwartz, Terry Disley, Mark Levine, Peter Apfelbaum, Paul Nagel, and Kurt Elling. Lewis has also performed with the San Jose Symphony and the San Jose Civic Light Opera. Lewis has toured and recorded with Boz Scaggs, Michael Brook, Djivan Gasparyan, Ann Dyer, and Taylor Eigsti. He can be heard on numerous recordings as well as TV (Spark on PBS), Video Game (Godfather 2) and Movie Soundtracks (Affliction, Albino Alligator, Ratatouille - "Our Friend the Rat").