The Registry Theatre in Kitchener is getting ready to open their doors Friday night to music lovers and jazz aficionados alike.
Larry Larson’s Jazz Guys will be taking the stage, sharing their love for the style of music rooted in improvisation and passion for the tunes.
Larson is a professional trumpet player whose day job keeps him busy as a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, but this show will be a bit different. For the 10th year, Larson has gathered some of his closest friends and musicians to take the stage.
While his background is in orchestral music, Larson says there is a certain quality about jazz music that keeps him coming back for more.
“With orchestral music everything you play is written note for note, and how loud, how softly you play it, how short and all of that. With anything in jazz, you start with an outline of what the song is and the chords, which you’ll play once so every recognizes it, and after that, every time you repeat, it is up to your own discretion to create a new song within that song,” he said, adding that he has a few heroes he likes to emulate on stage with his quintet. “My favourite jazz trumpet player is Chet Baker, who was just incredibly lyrical and there is that side of trumpet playing and jazz music, but there is also the hard bebop playing, like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. For me, hearing the way that Chet truly tried to recreate music and songs, that is what I like to go after.”
He says the show is for everyone that likes any kind of music and he hopes that he can open the audience’s eyes to new songs and styles.
“The thing that I always like to do at our shows is to mix up a really good dose of standards and some newer tunes by some artists that you may not know about,” he said. “They are never going to make you go screaming from the room. It is always really interesting enjoyable stuff that maybe you haven’t heard before and hopefully will open your ears to a new artist or another vein of jazz styles. That is what this is all about. It is going to be great.”
Playing a smaller venue like The Registry Theatre also adds to the fun of the show for Larson, getting up close and personal with his audience – something that doesn’t happen when he plays for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.
“It is fun because most of the people that wind up coming to my jazz concerts are people that see me at the symphony. They are used to that side of my playing and they have a great time seeing me relax and let my hair down, so to speak, in the jazz idiom,” he said. “Often when you go to concerts, like at The Registry, the stage lights are on, but the house lights, where the audience is sitting, are all off, so it is hard to tell who your audience is. I always request that they keep the house lights up a bit, because I like to communicate and see the people in the audience and their reactions. It’s really fun in such a small setting.”
Larson will be joined on stage by music industry veterans percussionist Dave Campion, pianist Paul Shilton, bassist Matt Lima, guitarist Dave Thompson, sax player David Wiffen and jazz vocalist Barb Fulton – some of whom he’s been playing with for years.
“These are guys that I have played with since starting the group. Paul Shilton and Dave Campion, they are both very dear friends of mine from Stratford. Dave has played at the Stratford Festival for at least 30 years. Paul, in addition to being a pianist, is also a composer. He has composed the music for several plays at Stratford. He is brilliant,” said Larson, also mentioning a late addition to the lineup. “Barb is Paul’s wife and Barb has been on the stages of Stratford for at least 25 years in both musicals and plays. I have known her forever and I had a last minute change of lineup and we got Barb, thankfully. She is a wonderful singer and coincidentally, she has a new CD coming out soon, so it is perfect timing. We are going to do three or four tunes from that new CD.”
The show runs on Jan. 29, starting at 8 p.m. at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener. Tickets are available online at www.theregistrytheatre.com, by calling 519-578-1570 or at the door before the show gets underway.