Larry Baeder is a local Key West performing musician that has performed all over the world with some of the biggest names in the world of Blues, Soul, and Rock ’n Roll. When he was 17 years old, in his hometown of Kansas City, he sat in with Muddy Water at the Landmark Theater. In his 20’s Larry went on tour for 6 years with the James Montgomery Band. Later, he moved to New York City where he became the guitarist in the house band at the world famous Apollo Theater. Over the years Larry has performed with many well know artists, like Benny King, Nancy Wilson, Mavis Staples, Carly Simon, and The Temptations.
When you see Larry perform you can expect to hear him play classic songs from the American songbook that spans 6 decades, from the 1920’s thru the 1980’s. Also a wonderful storyteller, he as a story describing a personal experience for almost every song. He is a music portal to the past, working hard to bring classic American music to his audience, whether performing solo or with any of his musician friends like Dora Gohlson, Gary Mackey, Ericsson Holt, Carl Wagoner, and Bill Blue. A knowledgable and fluent musician, Larry views music as a language and believes if you want to speak the language you need to think and dream in that language. In that musical context, he strives to be a great orator.
At the same time Larry knows full well the musicians job here in Key West is not only to perform, but to hold the audience attention, so the venues sell drinks and food. Larry sees this as a responsibility the musicians have… a partnership with the bartenders and the staff to help make money for the bar or restaurant.
Key West is home to some very good music instrumental performers, and Larry strives to be among those: Carl Wagoner, Ericsson Holt, The Carter Bros, and Bill Blue. Larry said, if he could sing like Nick Norman, he probably wouldn’t have become the guitarist / instrumentalist he is. Though not considered a great singer, Larry sings well and considers his vocal phrasing is an extension of his guitar playing and vice versa.
When asked about his music education, Larry replied that his education was playing with other people. Growing up in Kansas City in a vibrant blues and jazz music scene, the local jam sessions were head cutting sessions. If you weren’t good, you’d be told to stop playing and get off the stage. Larry is an educated musician, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. Pat Metheny, another well known guitarist also from Kansas City, recommended Larry for a scholarship to Berklee in exchange for helping out with guitar instruction to other Berklee guitar students. Larry took advantage pf the opportunity, and when he wasn’t busy on the road touring, he took every possible class offered by Berklee.
Besides performing live over the years, In the 80’s and 90’s worked as a studio musician with a couple of major producers, notably Paul Griffin and Jimmy Miller, both of whom Larry considers close mentors. In Larry’s words, “I was blessed to be in the right place in the right time.” Then the bottom fell out the record business in NYC, which prompted Larry to seek opportunity elsewhere which brought Larry to Key West.
After taking his twins, Julia and Max to the Bahama Village Music Program 4 years ago for music instruction. Katchen Duncan lured Larry in, and today he is President of the Board of Directors of the BVMP, and volunteers as an instructor teaching music theory, improvisation, and conducting the jazz band. He enjoys the community volunteer experience, and the BVMP has become the centerpiece of his life, and he is intent on building on the program’s success and making the BVMP even better and more solvent. Larry enjoys teaching and besides the BVMP can be found teaching at The Grateful Guitar 2 days per week. Larry can be seen performing often at Virgilios, the Green Parrot, every Thursday and Friday at the Little Room Jazz bar, 4 -7 PM Fridays at the Grand Key Hotel, and every Sunday at Shrimp Road Grill Blues Jam.