My heart is heavy. I just learned that Larry Rosen of GRP Records (Grusin-Rosen Productions) has passed, apparently due to brain cancer.
I first met Larry in 1980, when I was just 19 years old. I was asked to sub for guitarist, Jeff Mironov, on a tour of Japan with Dave Grusin and the GRP All Stars. I was already a member of GRP artist and trumpeter, Tom Browne’s band, the band which I had turned down Art Blakey to play in.
This was my first high-profile, international, jazz opportunity, which entailed live recording for record and TV with orchestra. What a crazy-huge job for a 19 year old! I owe a lot to those who recommended or endorsed me and to Dave and Larry for taking their word for it.
I went on to become a GRP “artist” myself, one year later, recording my debut album, ‘Clean Sweep’ at age 20 and also recording on records as a sideman with other GRP label-mates like Browne, Dave Valentine and Bernard Wright.
In addition to the musicians’ names you’ll read in the press about Larry’s accomplishments with GRP Records, those mentioned above and other names like Earl Klugh, violinist Noel Pointer, singers John Lucien, Angela Bofill and Patti Austin, and the many session musicians (drummer Buddy Williams particularly comes to mind), were initially responsible for founding the successes that made GRP into the “smooth jazz,” powerhouse record label that it eventually became. The earliest GRP artists prepared the meal and set the table for the feast. I was fortunate to be among these. It was one of the first and most exciting times I’ve had in this business and one that helped begin my journey and my story.
I’m glad that I got to see Larry again on a couple of occasions recently, after not having seen or spoken to him in over 20 years. I’m also pleased to think that he still saw fit to think of me and offer an exciting opportunity when possible.
Thank you Larry Rosen. Rest in peace.