Larry Camp is Tampa Bay’s quintessential jazz guitarist. Born in Virginia, he learned his craft along the East Coast and at the University of Miami. He has been hailed by Musician Magazine as ‘one of the ten best unknown jazz guitar players in the U.S.’ He has played at the Kennedy Center for the President, the Smithsonian Jazz Series, as well as jazz festivals in Europe, in Clearwater, and Sarasota, Florida.
Like a lot of guitarists of his generation, Camp spent a lot of his early days playing both jazz and rock. “I actually got introduced to jazz when I was 12 – an older trumpet player played some Wes Montgomery for me and then a bunch of Miles Davis records, and I decided I wanted to play like that.”
He played professionally in rock and R&B bands for years around the Virginia area and on the road, and filled his calendar with studio work playing radio jingles. But Larry kept returning to jazz and went on to study composition and arranging at the University of Miami.
In 1984, Camp moved to Baltimore and started a jazz career playing five years with the Allen Houser Quintet. His versatility also allowed him to play in a variety of settings from organ trio soul-jazz dates to straight be-bop. Camp played with Gary Bartz and Dennis Chambers in the House Band at Baltimore’s “Jazz Closet” which regularly hosted appearances by artists such as Woody Shaw and Junior Cook. He also dipped his toes into the avant-garde playing with Juius Hemphill and Marcus Belgrave at the Baltimore Center for Creative Music. Larry also held a five-year gig with his own trio at the “One Step Down,” in Washington, D.C., and he also performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Hart, and Reggie Johnson.
When he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1994, he worked for five years with trombonist Buster Cooper, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and former Duke Ellington band member.
Larry has recorded on several best selling jazz albums and produced his own CD “Camp Fire” in 2002, joined by Mark Neuenschwander on bass, Richard Drexler on piano, and Steve Moretti on drums. “I am continually trying to grow as a musician and express myself through my guitar and the language of jazz.”
Larry Camp performance sponsored by Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association
Sept 2014 – A Jazz Matinee with Larry Camp… by Ken Franckling
Larry plays an Autumnburst Bravo Deluxe (and a Benedetto Carino-10 amp).
Contact him on Facebook.
photo courtesy of player