Born: January 17, 1919 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Larry Sonn, at 91, is alive and well in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. He was born in Woodmere on Long Island near New York City on January 17, 1919. Trumpet player, arranger, composer, and internationally known band leader, Larry was graduated from the Julliard School of Music in New York. He began his career with the Southern Symphony Orchestra in Columbia, South Carolina, as first trumpet, but later turned to the popular idioms of jazz and the big band sound.
He soon was playing trumpet and arranging for the top orchestras in the U.S. including Glenn Miller, Teddy Powell, Bobby Byrne, Charlie Barnett, and Vincent Lopez.
One series of engagements in the early 40's took him from New York to Philadelphia, and on to San Antonio. In Texas an executive from the new Hotel Reforma in Mexico City heard him play. Impressed by Larry's virtuosity, he offered him an appearance at the hotel's Ciro's Night Club: a short-term contract that lasted nine years. Larry fell in love with Mexico and Mexico reciprocated.
He did return for a stay in the U.S. in the late-50's which was reported in Down Beat. (See below!)
Still Mexico called. Larry came back to form one of the foremost big bands in the country. He toured, did radio shows for XEW, Mexico's largest station, and recorded for RCA Victor, CBS, Cisne, Peerless, Sonart and other labels.
Larry retired from music in 1972 and relocated 40 miles south of Mexico City. He opened a popular book store specializing in US editions for English-speaking residents and tourists. After several years he retired completely. His wife Margara continues to practice dentistry, while daughter Maggie, also a dentist, specializes in x-ray diagnosis.
On most mornings Larry can be found having breakfast with friends at the downtown Sanborn's under the giant palm trees surrounding the restaurant terrace. They speak of the latest happenings among the retirement community and discuss Mexican, US, and Canadian politics. The weather is never mentioned because it never changes: Cuernavaca remains the City of Eternal Spring.