on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2019 28 Feb

Larry Karush – an appreciation

von: Hans-Dieter Klinger Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  5 Comments

Love, deep love at first sound – these are very rare occurances in my life. I remember just a few, less than ten. At the moment I remember half an hour of roaring silence I listened to in Iceland many years ago, I remember Forest Flower, Sunrise-Sunset played by the Charles Lloyd Quartet at Monterey, I remember Stella by Starlight performed by the Miles Davis Quintet at Lincoln Center on February 12, 1964. Furthermore some Madrigals composed by Claudio Monteverdi and of course Keith Jarrett, Lausanne 1973 Part II.

Love at first sound came to pass when I listened to New Age Hand Jive the first time. This happened not only to me, but at the same time to my daughter, who entered my living room and said: „I want this piece of music, please“. When she was pregnant, she played it many times and my unborn grandson Julius became familiar with this beautiful music (but now he likes Bavarian Folk Brass Music – uff da daaa).

Larry Karush is the composer’s name. But who is Larry Karush? Damn! I don’t know how I got on Karush’s album PIANO CROSSROADS. Larry Karush was born October 6, 1946. He performed improvised music with roots in jazz, 20th and 21st century western classical music, African percussion, and the classical music of North India. This characterises exactly the above mentioned album. Together with Glen Moore and Glen Velez he formed the wonderful Trio Mokave.


In December 2015 I contacted Glen Moore to learn more about Larry. I wrote:

Today I write primarily because of Larry Karush and Mokave. I heard of Larry Karush when Steve Reich’s „Music For 18 Musicians“ was released in 1978. He was then a member of Reich’s Musicians. I didn’t forget his name, maybe because of the release of „May 24, 1976“ (JAPO Records) which I didn’t buy then. In those days I noticed quite carefully all the issues published by ECM.

It took me a very long time until I realized what an astonishing pianist and composer he has been. Now it’s only a few weeks ago when I listened by chance to „PIANO CROSSROADS“. I was unusually fascinated and looked out for some more records of Larry. There are not so many.

In my ears and in my opinion Larry was one of the best piano players of modern jazz and more, being at the same height of virtuosity, originality, deepness like many other well known piano players. And he has his own dialect.

I don’t understand, why he remained so unheeded.
– was he too unpretentious, too shy?
– didn’t he find a label, a promoter to bring him forward?
– did he prefer more to teach than to perform?

I read about him (wikipedia). It’s woeful that he has passed away already in 2013


Glen’s answer:

Dear Hans,

thank you very much for your kind letter.

I am happy for you that you could find Larrys recordings – he also plays a duet with me on the Oregon album FRIENDS.

Larry and I became friends in Portland, Oregon where he was a student at Reed College. Larry was a very talented player.

Your first assumption was correct – he was too unpretentious, too shy to be able to push himself out into the world. He loved music and was one of the greatest players I have known.

I will pass your letter to his wife and son who would be pleased to hear his praises sung by you.

All the best,


This entry was posted on Donnerstag, 28. Februar 2019 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Hans-Dieter Klinger:

    These are the albums I bought. It’s nearly the complete discography of Larry Karush.

    Piano Crossroads
    Mokave Vol. 1
    Mokave Vol. 2
    Mokave Afrique
    Art of the Improviser
    May 24, 1976

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I only know one of his albums, and i still love it.
    But I lost it about 25 years ago.

    After reading this, I immediately went to Discogs, but a good edition of the duo Karush / Moore JAPO / ECM album with the wonderful title (just the date of recording!) would cost me 45 bucks. That‘s a bit heavy. That would have been one of my first choices on the new ECM re-releases, but now it seems to be a real buried treasure.

  3. Hans-Dieter Klinger:



  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Great cover, too.

  5. Uli Koch:

    Thanks! Never noticed Larry before & the Music’s so great! Very impressive!

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