Larry Nobori, is a retired music teacher of jazz and classical music in the public schools in Portland Oregon. He plays clarinet and alto saxophone. He is also the leader of the West Coast Jazz Ensemble band, and is an original member of the cast of a series of concerts, entitled, Sentimental Journey. Sentimental Journey is a concert of Poetry with live jazz improvisation, featuring Oregon’s Poet Laureate, Lawson Fusao Inada.
Originally from Sacramento, CA, his family was moved to a Japanese internment camp for the last 1 ½ yrs of World War II, when he was a small boy. He went on to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he earned a degree in music. He studied classical clarinet and chamber music.
All during his college years , he was the clarinet soloist in the college orchestra with whom he recorded and made radio and television performances.
After graduation in 1971, Larry performed with several groups that played Baroque and other classical music as street musicians in San Francisco. One notable group he played in was called “Stark Raving Mozart”. They enjoyed several successful years, playing at The Cannery on the waterfront. They were even profiled in Time Magazine in 1971.
Nobori was a member of the San Francisco Local #6 musicians union for seven years. He played principle clarinet in the Berkeley Chamber Orchestra, The Contra Costa Symphony Orchestra, and was co-principle of the San Francisco Community Symphony. About that time, he started teaching at the Berkeley School District at Longfellow Elementary School.
In 1978, he moved to Portland and began teaching music at Washington/Monroe High School. He moved to Fernwood in 1985 and started a jazz program. He himself has switched from playing all classical music to jazz in 1982. His jazz program at Fernwood won many state awards at several state-adjudicated jazz compositions.
He served as secretary and vice president of the International Association of Jazz Educators, Oregon Chapter, and was involved with the All-Northwest and All State Jazz Ensemble. He also served many terms on the Board of Directors of the Jazz Society of Oregon.
Nobori’s basic “language” is bebop, tinged with classical overtones. He is fond of Bill Evans and Wayne Shorter compositions, and his clarinet technique is influenced by Buddy DeFranco and Eddie Daniels. Saxophone influences include Charlie Parker, “Cannonball” Adderley and Phil Woods.
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