Larry Bunker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Larry Bunker
Birth nameLawrence Benjamin Bunker
Born(1928-11-04)November 4, 1928
Long Beach, California
United States
DiedMarch 8, 2005(2005-03-08) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California
United States
InstrumentsDrums, vibraphone
Associated acts

Lawrence Benjamin Bunker (November 4, 1928 – March 8, 2005) was an American jazz drummer, vibraphonist, and percussionist. A member of the Bill Evans Trio in the mid-1960s, he also played timpani with the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra.


Born in Long Beach, California, Bunker was a central figure on the West Coast jazz scene, one of the relatively few who actually were from the region. In the 1950s and 1960s he appeared at Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, and performed with Shorty Rogers and His Giants and others. At first he played primarily drums, but increasingly he focused on vibraphone and was later highly regarded for his playing of timpani and various percussion instruments.

A dependable and in-demand studio drummer and vibist, Bunker achieved particular distinction by recording with Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Diana Krall, and many other jazz greats. In 1952, he was the drummer in one of Art Pepper's first groups. In 1953 and 1954, Bunker played drums in some of the earliest of Gerry Mulligan's groups. From 1963 to 1965, he was, intermittently, the drummer in the Bill Evans trio. His work in movie soundtracks spanned over fifty years, from Stalag 17 (1953) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) to The Incredibles (2004), and included soundtracks by John Williams, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, Miklós Rózsa, Jerry Goldsmith, Johnny Mandel, Lalo Schifrin and many other composers.

Bunker died of complications of a stroke in Los Angeles at age 76.[1]


As Leader

With Chet Baker

With Gary Burton

With Buddy Collette

With Benny Carter

With Bill Evans

With Clare Fischer

With Stan Getz

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Woody Herman

With Paul Horn

With Plas Johnson

With Stan Kenton

With Diana Krall

With Johnny Mandel

With Shelly Manne

With Carmen McRae

With Gerry Mulligan

With Oliver Nelson

With Art Pepper

With Shorty Rogers

With Pete Rugolo

With Lalo Schifrin

With Bud Shank

With Lew Tabackin

With Tom Waits


  1. ^ Thurber, Jon (17 March 2005). "Larry Bunker, 76; Respected Drummer". Los Angeles Times.


  • Feather, Leonard (1960). The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Horizon Press.
  • Gordon, Robert (1986). Jazz West Coast: The Los Angeles Jazz Scene of the 1950s. Quartet Books.

External links[edit]