New York Times
NEW YORK TIMES, SUNDAY, JULY 14, 1985
VUCKOVICH, a jazz pianist whose career has developed for the
past 25 years on the West Coast, moved to the East Coast five
months ago, bringing with him an outlook and a collection of
influences that set him apart from most pianists who are heard
regularly in New York.
Zinno, 128 West 13th Street, where he appeared through last
night accompanied by the bassist Walter Booker, Mr. Vuckovich
mixed a mainstream swinging attack, romanticism that bordered
on the expansive Erroll Garner manner, a strong blues sensitivity
and exotic reflections of his native Yugoslavia. The jazz influences
that he cites as affecting his playing include some of the expected,
familiar names – Bud Powell and Miles Davis as well as
Red Garland, Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris. But he also mentions
John Handy and Monk Montgomery, echoes of his long residence
in SanFrancisco, and the saxophonist Brew Moore.
gives him a broad range of sources on which he draws in imaginative
fashion, taking elements with which he can build peformances
that are given unity by his own musical background. Playing
a Yugoslavian folk theme, he evokes visions of minarets as readily
as he develops a broad, deep exploration of the blues from Avery
Parrish’s “After Hours.” His playing is warmly
emotional, melodic and very positively swinging, an element
that is underlined and extended by Mr. Booker’s strong
John S. Wilson
The New York Times
NEW YORK TIMES Television MONDAY, JULY 28, 1986
‘Club Date’ on 31
musicians with Eastern European roots can be seen tonight on
Channel 31 in “Club Date,” two half-hour jazz programs
presented back to back at 9 o’clock. The
Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo plays pop-jazz with a diluted
flamenco element; the pianist Larry Vuckovich leads a superior
quartet that adds hints of Mr. Vuckovich’s Yugoslavian
heritage to aggressive hard-bop.
But the second “Club Date,” a 1982 set by Larry
Vuckovich, is well worth tuning in for at 9:30 P.M. –
especially because the pianist has made only a few albums. Mr.
Vuckovich can summon the aggressive, modal style of 1960’s
jazz or a more ornate, more traditionalist approach. His quartet
includes the trumpeter Tom Harrell, the drummer Sherman Ferguson
and the first-rate bassist John Heard, who is based in Los Angeles
and rarely performs in New York. In the final selection, a barrelhouse-flavored
“After Hours,” the alto saxophonist Charles McPherson
joins the group for a wailing guest solo.
Voices,” which opens the program, mixes angular Slavic
folk tunes with the modal style of McCoy Tyner. Mr. Vuckovich
plays a romantic solo version of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush
Life,” and the punchy hard-bop of Mr. Harrell’s
tune “Blue News” completes the segment. For those
who haven’t heard the pianist in New York clubs, the program
is a fine sampling.
The Underdogs Of Jazz Piano
MUSETTE 9402 (59 min)
pianist Larry Vuckovich came to this country when he was 14
and settled in San Francisco, where he has been a part of the
jazz scene since the mid-Sixties. A fine technician whose musical
ideas are as well grounded as they are eclectic (he studies
with pianist Vince Guaraldi and saxophonist John Handy). Vuckovich
has performed here and in Europe but remains largely unknown.
That may change thanks to this wonderful solo album. The title
is an acknowledgement of the pianist's varied approach; besides
familiar tunes, you'll recognize a number of familiar jazz styles,
but Vuckovich weaves his influences together in a most engaging
way, adding occasional strokes of Balkan music. Through it all,
however, one influence prevails: blues. Vuckovich obviously
has an affinity for the form, and he treats it with utmost care.
Another striking aspect of his playing is the lyricism with
which he inbues such songs as Gershwin's The Man I Love-some
thing. All in all "Deja Vuk is a CD well worth hearing and re-hearing.