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Larry Bunker

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Larry Bunker
Birth nameLawrence Benjamin Bunker
Born(1928-11-04)November 4, 1928
Long Beach, California, U.S.
DiedMarch 8, 2005(2005-03-08) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Instrument(s)Drums, vibraphone

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 Christina Aguilera

With Chet Baker

With Cheryl Bentyne

  • Something Cool (Columbia, 1992)

With Michael Bolton

With Tim Buckley

With Gary Burton

With Benny Carter

With Rosemary Clooney

With Natalie Cole

With Buddy Collette

With Bobby Darin

With Neil Diamond

With The 5th Dimension

With Bill Evans

With Clare Fischer

With Michael Franks

With Stan Getz

With Vince Gill

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Tramaine Hawkins

  • To a Higher Place (Columbia, 1994)

With Woody Herman

With Richard "Groove" Holmes

With Paul Horn

With Al Jarreau

  • We Got By (Reprise Records, 1975)

With Dr. John

With Plas Johnson

With Stan Kenton

With Diana Krall

With Peggy Lee

With Lou Levy

  • Jazz in Four Colors (RCA, 1959)

With Jon Lucien

  • Song for My Lady (Columbia, 1975)

With Johnny Mandel

With Barry Manilow

With Shelly Manne

With Carmen McRae

With Gerry Mulligan

With Mark Murphy

With Walter Murphy

  • Walter Murphy's Discosymphony (New York, 1979)

With Oliver Nelson

With Robert Palmer

With Art Pepper

With Shorty Rogers

With Kenny Rogers

With Linda Ronstadt

With Pete Rugolo

With The Sandpipers

With Lalo Schifrin

With Diane Schuur

  • In Tribute (GRP, 1992)

With Bud Shank

With Nina Simone

With B. W. Stevenson

  • We Be Sailin' (Warner Bros., 1975)

With Donna Summer

With Lew Tabackin

With The Manhattan Transfer

With U2

With Sarah Vaughan

With Wendy Waldman

  • Love Has Got Me (Warner Bros. Records, 1973)


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


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