Joe Licari

“There are a number of exceptional clarinetists working in the traditional idioms right now, but none of them cut Joe Licari.” --Robert Levin

Joe Licari (b. January 10, 1934, Brooklyn, New York) is an American jazz clarinetist.

Known as an especially “hot” player with an exuberant and always emotive attack, Licari is considered, by critics and peers alike, to be in the front rank of contemporary “classic” jazz musicians.

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Marianne Mangan, “Jazz a la Palazzo,” Jersey Jazz, January 2010

Many a terrific hot jazz musician has a smooth side. A sweet tone. A way of playing that makes you say “Isn't that pretty!” So when inferno-style clarinetist Joe Licari and one-time incendiary trumpeter and longtime keyboard stylist Larry Weiss play duets at Palazzo Restaurant the only real surprise is that subtly swinging is about as far into hot territory as they go. And you know what? It's far enough!

In fact, the duo is called Swing Time, and what they do is play American standards beautifully. Gerswhin, Rodgers & Hart-all the classic composers, movie songs, show songs, some jazz favorites that don't set off any smoke alarms: these musicians have been in business a boatload of years and they have absorbed a ton of tunes.

Licari, of the emotive attack, rich color, and flying fingers, has worked alongside such luminaries as Roy Eldridge, “Wild Bill” Davison, Conrad Janis, “Big Chief” Russell Moore, Connie Kay, Bob Haggart, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Irwin and Doc Cheatham, and with the vocalist Julie Wilson

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