Larry Luger has been a professional musician all of his adult life. He started playing gigs in his native borough of the Bronx while still in high school.
He played with scores of singers and small groups throughout the New York City area. He was also increasing his knowledge of music at this time by attending Lehman College and studying privately with the great studio guitarist Allen Hanlon and Dr. Michael Stancarone. Larry has said that his greatest influences have been Wes Montgomery, Johnny Smith, Herb Ellis, and Grant Green.
In the 70’s, Larry played the music of the late Nat King Cole with the Sir Harvel Quartet at “Le Bistro” in Atlantic City. He also worked with Latin pianist Carlos Suarez and played on a documentary film score with him entitled “Not Me”. The film included Larry in the closing credits and has been shown on educational television. He spent two years as the guitarist with the Gloria Coleman Organ Trio, subsequently playing with such jazz greats as Joe Lee Wilson, Al Hibbler, Lou Donaldson, Willis ‘Gatortail’ Jackson, Jack McDuff, Harold Cumberbatch, and Percy France.
Later in the 70’s, he worked with Bill Doggett and recorded with him and the legendary Lionel Hampton.
He appeared on NBC TV for Bruce Morrow with the great rhythm & blues singer ‘Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and did several concert appearances with him in the New York area. He also appeared at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and did several TV shows with trumpeter Jonah Jones. Larry also appeared at the Louisville, Kentucky Jazz Festival with Jonah, and several other local jazz festivals with him. He also traveled with Jonah on several Royal Scandinavian cruises. In fact he recorded with Jonah on his last album, for GPRT Records, before his death in 2000.
Starting off the 80’s, Larry shared the guitar chair in an ensemble with the great Herb Ellis at a Carnegie Recital Hall concert called “The Music of Charlie Parker and Lester Young.” Larry continued into that decade showing his versatility as a free-lance musician, working with musicians as varied as saxophonist George Kelly and clarinetist Artie Miller in the “No-Gap Generation Jazz Band.” He worked with the Don Patterson Trio, Ray Alexander Trio and Bob Forrester Trio. He also led his own trio at The Blueprint on Park Avenue.
He worked in a duo on the Queen Elizabeth II with violinist Peter Compo and also played with him at numerous New York City clubs. His work with Compo was said to “invoke the classic pairing of Stephane Grappelli and guitarist Django Reinhardt” by famous critic John S. Wilson in The New York Times.
Mr. Wilson also mentioned Larry’s “driving chords” and “warm blend” with Mr. Compo. At this time, he was also the featured jazz soloist on the cable tv show of famed DJ Al “Jazzbeaux” Collins. He frequently appeared playing traditional jazz with late trumpeter/arranger John Carisi at both Yankee and Shea Stadiums. His skill on acoustic jazz guitar was put to use with late great traditional trumpeter Max Kaminsky for the New Jersey Jazz Society. Pianist John Halsey, a lecturer on the History of Jazz at The New School, organized the concert. Larry also performed frequently at Gracie Mansion in New York City for Mayors Koch and Dinkins and in the 90’s, for Mayor Giuilani. This trio was led by veteran clarinetist Artie Baker with the late great Bucky Calabrese on bass. Larry’s work was praised by Aida Gonzalez, Director of Cultural Affairs.
Larry continued into the late 80’s recording with Nat King Cole’s brother, Freddy Cole. He also worked with such stellar names as Lionel Hampton, Al Hibbler and George Kelly.The guitarist appeared with the late Bill Doggett on Jazzmobile gigs and frequently appeared at the Jazz Vespers at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan.
Larry’s own album, “Nuts and Raisins,” issued on GPRT Records, was also produced at this time. During the 80’s, Larry played many of the New York City jazz rooms, including Brown’s, DeFemmio’s, Jimmy Weston’s, Michael’s Pub, Sonny’s Place, The West End, The Angry Squire, Oliver’s, The Blue Willow, as well as the South Street Seaport Jazz Festival. Larry also played acoustic guitar in an ensemble at Carnegie Hall, recreating the music of James Reese Europe.
The 90’s and up to now, have been a decade of constant work, as varied as any musician’s life could be. Larry worked with Panama Francis and the Jazz Sultans at Lincoln Center. He also worked with trumpeter Irwin Stokes and saxophonist Bubba Brooks. He recorded with famed cabaret singer Steve Ross and has appeared with him at both Symphony Space and Lincoln Center. He is frequently called upon to accompany singers such as Toni Arden, Nancy Wilson, Connie Francis, Susan McNair, Al Martino and Jerry Vale. He works with vocalists Sandy Jordan, Keisha St. John and Jeanine Otis. He frequently appears at services at St. Mark’s in the Bowery and along with his trio, gave his own concert at that historic Church in October 2002.
Larry has studied classical guitar privately and plays the mandolin professionally as well. He studies composition with Paul Caputo, and he also has a small private teaching practice. He was a featured soloist on classical guitar in the New York Mandolin Ensemble playing transcriptions written by Dan Fox, author of “Charlie Christian: Art of Jazz Guitar” and “Herb Ellis: Art of Jazz Guitar.” His ability on classical guitar and mandolin was also put into play at The Enrico Fermi Institute with flutist Carol Sudhalter. Larry and Carol frequently play classical guitar/flute duets at concerts at Sacred Heart College.
Larry has played many dates in his new home borough of Queens. He has worked with his group at the Queens Library Jazz Festivals and at the Water’s Edge Restaurant. He had the longest running jazz gig in NYC at Sac’s Restaurant. He also had steady gigs at Veslo Restaurant and Nazca in Astoria.
Larry has even lectured on jazz guitar at The New School, and has performed at the School of Visual Arts, Sacred Heart College, and St. John’s University.
Additionally, he has been a featured artist at New York City’s 9th Avenue International Festival for over a decade. He appeared with his trio at the Waterfront Jazz Festival 2000, the same trio appearing on his 2000 CD Warm Resonations. Larry wrote many of the tracks on his CD, including the title tune written to showcase the resonator guitar made especially for him by world-famous guitar maker Paul McGill. Larry considers McGill to be the premier guitar maker today.This instrument is truly the ‘Rolls Royce’ of acoustic guitars. Recently, Larry’s duo appeared at the Sherry Netherlands Hotel and provided the music for the 80th Anniversary of the D’Andrea Music Company.
Also right before Christmas, Larry appeared at the Harlem Holiday Jazz Festival with saxophonist Satchmo Manan. His original music was used to score the award-winning video “Bridges and Tunnels,” previewed at the 2002 New York Independent Film and Video Festival.
Larry has also charmed the audiences of New York City’s historic “Algonquin Hotel,” with Sandy Jordan and friends and was featured in her new film “Sandy Jordan’s World of Jazz and Cabaret” playing at the Iridium Jazz Club.
Larry also appears on Missygirl Records, accompanying singer Robert Mirra on his latest CD “That’s My Desire”, and wrote all the musical charts.
Larry’s versatility can be seen by looking at all the varied artists he has worked with and the range of venues from intimate clubs to jazz festivals and vast arenas throughout the Northeast. In 2016, Larry’s new CD, ‘Thank You For Your Patience,’ was released at La Rivista in New York City. Larry was interviewed on a live radio broadcast with the president of Cexton Records, John Anello (www.cexton.com).
Larry has just released his latest CD, ‘Mellow & Impromptu,’ featuring Dave Shaich on bass and Mike Hashim on saxophone.
Catch the Larry Luger Trio here @stitchbluesbar from 7-10pm NO COVER FREE SHOW !
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