Larry Gray

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Larry Gray
Birth name Lawrence Waterman Gray
Born Blue Island, Illinois
Genres Jazz, classical
Occupation(s) Double bassist
Instruments Double bass
Associated acts Larry Coryell and numerous other Jazz luminaries
Website http://www.larrygraymusic.com

Larry Gray is a Chicago musician known for his compositions and skill on the double bass and cello. His primary teachers were Joseph Guastafeste, longtime principal bassist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and cellist Karl Fruh, a highly regarded soloist and teacher.[1]

Family[edit]

Gray has been married to Karolyn R. Kuehner since 1990. Their daughter, Soffia H. Kuehner Gray, was born in 1994.

Music style[edit]

Bassist Larry Gray demonstrates an impressive versatility and an uncommon musical curiosity. Originally a jazz guitarist, Gray switched to the double bass and quickly developed a reputation as a first-call sideman. Within a short time, he began to work at Chicago's premier jazz club, the Jazz Showcase, where he appeared with increasing frequency, often with drummer Wilbur Campbell and pianist Willie Pickens. Throughout the years he has worked with such jazz greats as George Coleman, Lee Konitz, Bobby Hutcherson, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Fortune, Ira Sullivan, Junior Mance, David "Fathead" Newman, Charles McPherson, Branford Marsalis, Benny Golson, Jackie McLean, Sonny Stitt, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Al Cohn, Eddie Harris and Les McCann. In addition, he has collaborated with guitarists Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, and Tal Farlow, as well as the drummers Ed Thigpen and Jack DeJohnette, and trumpeters Donald Byrd and Harry "Sweets" Edison, among others.

Gray has studied classical music extensively. His principal teachers were Joseph Guastafeste, longtime principal bassist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and cellist Karl Fruh, a highly regarded soloist and teacher. Under Mr. Fruh's guidance, he received Bachelors and Masters degrees in Cello Performance from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. [1][2]

Touring[edit]

He tours extensively, performing at jazz festivals and clubs, including the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, The Montreaux Detroit Festival, the ECM Festival, the Poznan Jazz Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, the Havana Jazz Festival, Rio São Paulo Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Johannesburg International Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Hollywood Bowl, Village Vanguard, the Blue Notes in Tokyo, Nagoya, New York and Milan, Ronnie Scott's in London, Zawinal's Birdland in Vienna, and the Ravinia Festival, with such jazz luminaries as Marian McPartland, Clark Terry, Nancy Wilson, Frank Morgan, Roscoe Mitchell, James Moody, Larry Coryell, Louis Bellson, Barry Harris, Ramsey Lewis, Dorothy Donegan, Monty Alexander, Frank Wess, Joe Williams, Doc Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band, and Kenny Drew Jr.

In the studio[edit]

Gray is an arranger and composer whose discography includes Solo + Quartet on Premonition Records; Gravity, a solo bass recording and One Look, featuring his piano trio's performances of original compositions, both on Graywater Records; the Ramsey Lewis trio recordings Appassionata, Time Flies and With One Voice; the Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson collaborations Meant to Be and Simple Pleasures; all on Narada/Virgin Records. Gray also arranged and produced the critically acclaimed CD, Django by Ferro. In addition, Gray's original composition for double bass and guitar, Five Movements, was commissioned and performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble at Symphony Center in Chicago. His newest work, Larry Gray 1,2,3 ..., featuring his guitar trio's performances of his original compositions, on Chicago Sessions Records, was released in December 2008.

Gray has recorded with Ramsey Lewis, Nancy Wilson, Curtis Fuller, Ira Sullivan, Lin Halliday, Jodie Christian, Willie Pickens, Nicholas Payton, Randy Brecker, Bunky Green, Bob Moses, Irish musicians Larry Nugent, John Williams and Bohola, pop sensations Linda Eder, Dennis DeYoung, Jim Peterik and Peter Cetera, and songwriter Michael Smith, among others. In addition, Gray can be seen on multiple episodes of the PBS series hosted by Ramsey Lewis, Legends of Jazz. He is a first-call studio musician, and his playing can also be heard on many commercial radio and television jingle and studio projects. Gray has been featured as a solo recitalist on both bass and cello at various universities and venues throughout the midwest. His recitals are unique in their eclecticism, combining jazz, modern improvised music, and European classical repertoire. He was also the featured bassist in Amistad, produced by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition to his work with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, he was principal bass of Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and has served as a substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Gray recently collaborated with choreographer Lauri Stallings and dancers from Hubbard Street Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet, developing an original work for solo double bass and dancers.

Teaching[edit]

Gray is a dedicated teacher. In 2007 he joined the full-time jazz faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he is Assistant Professor of Double Bass in Jazz. He previously held positions at DePaul University, where he taught for nineteen years, and also at Northern Illinois University and the American Conservatory of Music. A dedicated educator, he remains active as a clinician at high school and college jazz festivals.

Discography[edit]

Album Outfit Date Publisher
"1, 2, 3..." Larry Gray Trio 2009 Chicago Sessions
Chet In Chicago Chet Baker 1988 2008 Enja
Blue Quest Zvonimir Tot Trio 2006 Grove Art
Visions of the Moment Betty Joplin 2005 Preserved Moments Music
With One Voice Ramsey Lewis 2005 Narada
Gravity Solo 2004 Graywater Records
Russian Romance Ella Leyla (Larry Gray, Cello and Bass) 2004 B-Elite Music
Time Flies Ramsey Lewis Trio 2004 Narada Jazz/EMI Records
Up Jumped Spring Curtis Fuller 2004 Delmark
Delicate Hour Patty Morabito 2003 LML Music
Simple Pleasures Ramsey Lewis with Nancy Wilson 2003 Narada Records
The Power Trio: Live in Chicago Larry Coryell 2003 High Note Records
Meant to Be Ramsey Lewis with Nancy Wilson (Larry Gray, arranger) 2002 Narada Records
We Are Not Machines Bradley Parker-Sparrow (Larry Gray, Cello) 2001 Southport
Django by Ferro Mike Ferro (Larry Gray, arranger/conductor) 2000 Denwa Records
Evening at Sea Henry Johnson Quartet with Kenny Drew Jr. 2000 Chiaroscuro Records
A Jazz Christmas Willie Pickens with Nicholas Payton 2000 Southport Records
The Windy Gap Laurence Nugent 2000 Shanachie Records
Appassionata Ramsey Lewis Trio 1999 Narada Records
Live at the Floating Jazz Festival The Johnny Frigo Quartet 1999 Chiaroscuro
Pins and Needles Frank Catalano with Randy Brecker 1999 Lakeside records
It's About Time Willie Pickens 1998 Southport
Two for Two Laurence Nugent 1998 Shanachie Records
Christmas in the Aire Mannheim Steamroller 1995 American Gramaphone
Rain or Shine Jodie Christian with Roscoe Mitchell 1994 Delmark Records
Where or When Lin Halliday with Ira Sullivan 1994 Delmark Records
Solo and Quartet Larry Gray Quintet (Larry Gray, composer/arranger) 1994 Premonition Records
Experience Jodie Christian 1992 Delmark

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b University of Illinois at Chicago biography page for Larry Gray
  2. ^ CD Universe's Larry Gray discography page