Pianist Vuckovich set to perform jazz classics Sunday in Mtn. View


Editor's note: Excerpts from a Tuesday (April 10) interview with Larry Vuckovich have since been added to this article. 

Internationally acclaimed jazz pianist Larry Vuckovich is scheduled to perform a solo concert 3-5 p.m. Sunday at the Wunderman House, 655 Eunice Ave., Mountain View.

Vuckovich, who played with and studied under jazz great Vince Guaraldi (famous for his “Peanuts” theme but deserving of much more recognition beyond that, Vuckovich said), is slated to play a diverse program featuring classic pieces from American composers George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Victor Young and Harry Warren.

Vukovich said he plans to read the lyrics to some of the songs he'll perform.

"When I play the tune, it makes more sense (to the audence)," he said in an April 10 interview with the Town Crier.

Vuckovich came to San Francisco in 1951 as a teen from Montenegro, in the former Yugoslavia. He said he was fortunate to experience the heyday of jazz, with the 1950s offering some of the richest and most diverse developments. He has performed with such jazz legends as Mel Tormè, Jon Hendricks and Dexter Gordon.

He's recognized for his piano touch, which incorporates European classical themes fused with jazz.

Vuckovich said is goal is to "project soul into the music."

Reflecting on the golden age of jazz in the 1950s, Vuckovich said the great players were doing just that – transforming notes into telling a story as a singer conveying a song's lyrics.

"What the great players had, they were talking," Vuckovich said. "That's what's missing today. They're (today's players) too classical, to theoretical."

Vuckovich himself started out playing classical at his family home in Montenegro. But he was smitten after hearing the Big Bands.

"This is it," he said of his musical calling.

The venue in which Vuckovich is performing has a colorful history of its own. The Wunderman House, built circa the 1920s, was allegedly a site of gambling and other illicit activities during the Prohibition era. Legend has it that the house served as a speakeasy and bordello, claims a former owner of the house dismissed as “hearsay.”

Refreshments will be served at Sunday's event.

Tickets are $25. 

For tickets and more information, call (707) 299-9964.

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