[JPL] December 8th: Larry Vuckovich Day in San Francisco
sftreat1 at pacbell.net
Sun Nov 26 16:48:16 EST 2006
Dear Jazz Programmers,
The City of San Francisco is honoring the 70th birthday of jazz pianist
Larry Vuckovich for his longtime contribution to the city's jazz history.
We're particularly fond of the part of Mayor Gavin Newsom's proclamation
"... it is appreciated that after performing in many parts of the country
and world, Larry Vuckovich came back to the city that cradled his American
dream, and continues to pay tribute to the city and musicians of San
Here is the link to the announcement in all.about.jazz:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom decrees December 8, 2006, "Larry Vuckovich
Legendary pianist to celebrate 70th birthday with performances at Jazz at
Larry Vuckovich 70th Birthday Celebration at Jazz at Pearl's, 256 Columbus
Avenue, San Francisco, Friday-Sunday, December 8-10. Shows at 8:00 & 10:00.
Doors open at 7:30.
(San Francisco, CA) San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has named Friday,
December 8th, 2006, ³Larry Vuckovich Day² in San Francisco. By so doing,
Mayor Newsom is honoring the 70th birthday of a legendary San
Francisco-based jazz pianist, bandleader and concert presenter. Vuckovich
will kick off the celebrations with a series of weekend concerts, Friday
through Sunday, December 8-10, at Jazz at Pearl's nightclub in San
Francisco's historic North Beach District. Vuckovich, of course, was a major
force during the heyday of the North Beach jazz scene of the 60's and 70's.
Onstage with Vuckovich will be longtime collaborators Buca Necak (bass),
Akira Tana (drums) and Hector Lugo (Latin percussion). The pianist is
expecting guest performers to stop in throughout the weekend.
Over a 50-year career, Vuckovich has performed extensively in San Francisco,
as well as in New York and Europe, playing alongside such jazz giants as Don
Byas, Elvin Jones, Art Farmer, Mel Torme, Red Norvo and Cab Calloway. He has
played a major role in supporting San Francisco jazz - honoring its glorious
past and supporting its current struggle to survive - by playing at and
presenting major concerts honoring those who have enhanced the San Francisco
Herb Caen called Vuckovich, whose career has stretched from the City's '50s
bebop era to today, a ³demon pianist² and wrote about him often.
Celebrities, from jazz to Broadway to Hollywood, sat in when he presided at
the Grand Hyatt's Bosendorfer grand piano in Club 36 above Union Square in
the early '80s and later in the '90s. There, he hosted visiting musicians,
San Francisco Jazz Festival events, and tribute concerts, including a Bop
City Night honoring the famed after-hours club, its popular owner Jimbo
Edwards, and the Bop City musicians then still on the scene.
Classically trained, Vuckovich became part of the SF jazz scene soon after
his family's arrival here in the '50s, having been granted political asylum
from post-war Communist Yugoslavia. He had heard jazz on Armed Forces Radio
and Voice of America. To Vuckovich, jazz meant freedom. He loved warmth,
harmonic structure and swinging rhythms. He also fell in love with the City.
Vuckovich learned jazz from the San Francisco greats and paid them back by
featuring them in tribute concerts he directed at the Grand Hyatt, Kimball's
East and West, and the Napa Valley Jazz Festival. Musicians so honored have
included trumpeter Allen Smith (Goodman/Ellington), vocalist Mary Stallings
(Basie), bassist Vernon Alley (Basie/Hampton), saxophonist Chuck Travis
(Dorsey Brothers) and the phenomenal blind clarinetist, Vince Catolica.
Often a pioneer, Vuckovich became part of San Francisco television musical
history as house pianist for KGO-TV's AM San Francisco (1974-84),
accompanying guests like Rosemary Clooney, Kenny Burrell, Cab Calloway and
Tony Bennett. He led the studio trio for KGO-TV AM Weekend with Sonny
Buxton, featuring artists including Milt Jackson, Pepper Adams, Harold Land
and Julian Priester. Joining Pat Nacey and the San Francisco Friends of
Jazz, Vuckovich presented San Francisco jazz legends at Fillmore Auditorium
concert series. Earlier this year, he was honored as a San Francisco jazz
pioneer at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Fillmore Heritage Center, now
In his early 20s, the pianist played with such San Francisco jazz stars as
Vince Guaraldi, John Handy, Brew Moore and Jon Hendricks in the vibrant '50s
& '60s bebop era. Then in the late '70s, he joined Hendricks' hit show
Evolution of the Blues at the Broadway, and led the Keystone Korner trio for
five years. Before and after, he took career-making detours to Europe, where
he worked with Dexter Gordon, Philly Joe Jones and many more, and then to
New York, where he played for five years with many jazz greats at such top
clubs as Village Vanguard, Birdland, and Blue Note, and played solo piano at
the prestigious Parker Meridien. New York Jazz piano master Barry Harris
acknowledged Vuckovich's Bay Area jazz roots, calling him ³a premier West
Since returning to San Francisco in the early '90s, Vuckovich has continued
to pay tribute to the great San Francisco legends and provide concert
opportunities for upcoming, as well as veteran, jazz musicians in the Bay
Area. He also has released five new CDs, 2000-2006, including his acclaimed
current CD, Street Scene, which hit #1 on XM Satellite Radio this past June
and July, the Top 10 of JazzWeek jazz radio and #6 on college charts,
showing his wide and enduring audience appeal. He lives in Calistoga with
his wife, producer-singer Sanna Craig, has a son Alexi Vuckovich, a SF State
University classical piano student, and a stepson, jazz guitarist Josh
Workman of El Cerrito.
Visit website: http://www.larryvuckovich.com
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