Larry Koonse: A Lifelong Love of Guitar, Jazz & Education

Video interview with veteran jazz guitarist during the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival

Larry Koonse and Billy Childs in Paris image 0
Lee Mergner

Larry Koonse and Billy Childs in Paris

During the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival, JazzTimes set up a make-shift video production studio backstage inside the old barracks of Fort Adams. During three afternoons, a succession of artists-including Mike Stern, Bria Skonberg, Arturo O’Farrill, Wayne Escoffery, Pat Bianchi, Fred Hersch, Kate McGarry, Billy Childs, Emmet Cohen and many others-came in to talk about the festival, jazz education, their creative process and their own projects. You can also see more of these video interviews at the JazzTimes YouTube channel.

In this interview from Newport, guitarist Larry Koonse talked about his evolution as a jazz musician. He talked about discovering jazz and the organ. Koonse was performing at the festival with Billy Childs and his Laura Nyro project. Koonse talked about collaborating with Childs, as well as his own creative process. Koonse, who teaches at the jazz program at CalArts, discussed what he tries to teach his students there.

The 2016 Newport Jazz Festival will be held July 29-31.

Interview by Irene Lee. Video production by Paul Park. Editing by Lee Mergner.

Larry Koonse on his early musical development:


Larry Koonse on his creative process and music he’s rediscovered:


Larry Koonse on teaching at CalArts:


Larry Koonse on Billy Childs: