Born: July 21, 1937 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Larry McKenna, tenor saxophonist, has performed as soloist with many jazz greats such as Clark Terry, Jon Faddis, Buddy DeFranco, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Frank Tiberie, Warren Vache, Mickey Roker, Rosemarie Clooney, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Peter Nero & the Philly Pops and many more. He is currently an instructor of jazz theory, harmony, and saxophone at the Community College of Philadelphia, and has numerous advanced private students, many of whom are well-known professional musicians.
Larry began playing at the age of fourteen. At age 18, he went on the road for a year with a five-piece band of Philadelphia musicians playing clubs along the East Coast. He returned to Philadelphia and attended the Granoff School of Music and played local gigs before playing in Woody Herman’s Orchestra. After touring with Herman’s band, he returned to Philadelphia, then joined George Young’s Band in Wildwood, N.J. and played with that band in Las Vegas. Since then, he has largely played in the Philadelphia area and has taught at Temple University, the University of the Arts, West Chester University, and the Community College of Philadelphia. He has also taught many clinics and presented many visiting lectures and taught many private students.
One of his CDs, My Shining Hour (music of Harold Arlen, EPE Records, distributed by BMG Music Canada Inc.). It has received critical acclaim from reviewers all across the United States and Canada. Larry McKenna can be heard on other CDs including Don Glanden, Sudden Life (Encounter Records); Frank Tiberi, 4 Brothers 7 (Jazzed Media Records), Al Raymond & Buddy DeFranco, Born To Swing (Hindsight Records), and Something Big; Woody Herman, Crown Royal (Laserlight Records), John Swana and the Philadelphians featuring Bootsie Barnes and Larry McKenna, Philly Gumbo II, (Criss Cross Records). His latest, It Might As Well Be Spring is available from DreamBox Media. He has published many jazz-oriented arrangements for school concert bands which can be purchased from Northeastern Music Publications.
Music arranged by Larry McKenna has been played on The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson, and in the movie Birdy, starring Nicholas Cage, in which he played and appeared in 1984. Larry resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Craig Raymond and the Next Generation Big Jazz Band, Straight Ahead (Star Satellite, 2006)
John Swana and the Philadelphians, Philly Gumbo, Vol. 2 (Criss Cross, 2005)
Robert Henderson, RH Positive (Philly Breakdown, 2002)
Larry McKenna, It Might as Well Be Spring (Dreambox Media, 2001)
City Rhythm Orchestra, Goin’ to Town (Limehouse, 2000)
Larry McKenna, My Shining Hour: Larry McKenna Plays Harold Arlen (EPE, 1996)
Woody Herman and His Thundering Herd, Crown Royal (Laserlight, 1992)
Buddy DeFranco, Born to Swing (Hindsight, 1988)
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