Jazz greats to bring some ‘swing’ to Upper Makefield July 18

Warren Vache

Warren Vache

Tenor saxophonist Larry McKenna and trumpeter Warren Vaché – whose collective jazz chops equal a century of playing experience – will take the stage at 7 p.m. on July 18 as part of Crossing Vineyards’ Summer Wine and Music Series.

McKenna, who has a national reputation as both a jazz improviser in the be-bop and modern jazz styles of the 50s and 60s, has played and recorded with greats such as Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Woody Herman and Clark Terry.

In a review of his most recent album, “From All Sides,” Victor L. Schermer of AllAboutJazz.com writes, “Larry McKenna’s tenor saxophone playing is addictive. It’s like driving a Maserati: You’re probably going to want to take it on the road again and again, because it is so elegant and finely engineered.”

McKenna’s new CD is comprised of original instrumental and vocal compositions of several jazz standards and features four songs with lyrics by Melisssa Gilstrap, interpreted by vocalist Joanna Pascale.

Vaché, the son of a professional jazz bassist, began honing his craft in elementary school. The Rahway, NJ native picked up the trumpet in fourth-grade in order to play in the school’s marching band.

From there, he began his first formal teaching, which led to early jobs through high school and college. While attending Montclair State College in the 70s for music education, Vaché began studying with famed swing era trumpeter Pee Wee Erwin.

In 1989, he composed and played on the film soundtrack for “The Luckiest Man in the World.”

Vaché has released more than 35 albums during his 50-year career and has shared the stage with Benny Goodman, Hank Jones, Gerry Mulligan, as well as contemporaries including Tony Coe, Alan Barnes and Harry Allen.

He has performed at every major jazz venue and festival around the globe, from dates at Condon’s and the Blue Note to the Newport Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Perugia in Italy, including concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Vienna Opera and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

On July 18, locals can enjoy the sounds of Larry McKenna and Warren Vaché, along with some of Crossing Vineyards’ award-winning wines. The Summer Wine and Music Series, which this year is being sponsored by Celebrity Cruises, will continue through Sept. 12.

Crossing Vineyards Winery is located at 1853 Wrightstown Road in Upper Makefield Township. Cheese and Crossing’s award-winning wines will be available for purchase by the bottle or glass. Concert-goers can bring their own food, but outside beverages are not permitted. Limited seating is available on a tent-covered patio. Wine Club Members may reserve table seating in advance. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the gate.

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