The L.A. Jazz Quartet is comprised of bassist Darek Oles, saxophonist Chuck Manning, guitarist Larry Koonse, and drummer Jason Harnell, who are all highly in-demand Southern California based band leaders and sideman. The original group was co-founded in 1993 by three of the current band members, Darek Oles, Chuck Manning, and Larry Koonse, (Jason Harnell replaced Kevin Tullius). The L.A. Jazz Quartet plays an acoustic mix of classic jazz standards, and original compositions with a wonderful harmonic sound, originality, and musical depth that showcases each players’ virtuoso abilities and a keen sense of how to maintain an organic wholeness that gives them their unique group sound.
Bassist Darek Oles, grew up in Poland, and played with some of his countryman’s finest jazz musicians. A composer, arranger, and educator, Oles is a protege of the great bassist Charlie Haden, and has had a strong reputation as one of the finest bassists on the west coast for the last 3 decades. One of Oles first recordings as a leader is “Like a Dream”, a collection of original compositions he recorded with pianist Brad Mehldau. Oles has recorded on Brad Mehldau’s CD, “Largo”, on guitarist Larry Koonse’s CD, “Storybook”, was a co-leader on the CD, “Standards 2: Movie Music” with Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, and Alan Pasqua, on trombonist Bob McChesney’s CD, “Chez Sez”, and on Kait Dunton’s CD, “Mountain Suite”. Oles received a scholarship to attend California Institute of the Arts, and has been an instructor there, and at USC and UC Irvine. Following in the bass lineage of Scott LaFaro, Charlie Haden, Gary Peacock, and pianist Bill Evans, Oles has recorded 13 albums as a leader/co-leader, and made several recordings as a sideman. Oles has recorded with many jazz greats that include Anthony Wilson, Bill Cunliffe, Gerry Gibbs, James Newton,Charles Lloyd, Joe Lovano, Benny Maupin, Ravi Coltrane, Scott Hamilton, Tim Hagans, Art Farmer, Arturo Sandoval, Billy Childs, Billy Higgins, Joe LaBarbera, Laurence Marable, Terry Lynn Carrington, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Kei Akagi, Josh Nelson, Jack Nimitz, Bobby Shew, Mike Wofford, and numerous others.
Saxophonist Chuck Manning is a talented musician who plays with the feel of some of the great saxophonists of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and is musically influenced by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Bobby Bradford, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and North Indian flautist Pannalal Ghosh. Manning plays well thought out solos with integrity, conviction, and a heart felt sensitivity. Manning has a gorgeous sound on the sax and is inventive, smart, brilliant, and understated. Manning always delivers a fresh, bold sound with a keen rhythmic sense that is original, personal, and has great emotional impact. Manning’s modern playing explores themes and tunes, going inside and outside, always returning to a logical place. Manning has performed with over 120 jazz greats and recorded on over 50 albums.
Guitarist Larry Koonse has been playing the guitar since the age of 7, and grew up on the instrument with with his father, guitarist Dave Koonse. Koonse studied with guitar master Jimmy Wyble, and graduated from USC in jazz studies. Koonse first toured with the husband and wife duo, John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. Koonse has played on multiple recordings that have received Grammy nominations, and has toured with with Mel Torme, Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Childs, John Pattatuci, David Friesen, Karrin Allyson, Luciana Souza, Natalie Cole, Bob Mintzer, Tierney Sutton, Peter Erskine, Hubert Laws, Warne Marsh, and the Percy Faith Orchestra. Koonse played with the Steve Houghton Quintet at the 1st Samix Festival in South Africa invited by Nelson Mandela and UNICEF, played with Gary Willis in Sao Paulo for a government sponsored concert at SESC IPIRANGA, and has played at Carnegie Hall, the Academy of Music, Disney Hall, the Sydney Opera House, with the L.A. Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and many orchestras around the world. Koonse has played on over 300 recordings with dozens of top artists, and played in the film dedicated to guitar great Hank Garland. Koonse has written the guitar curiculum for Jeff Berlin’s “Players School”, and has recorded 4 critically acclaimed recordings with the L.A. Jazz Quartet. Koonse has recorded 4 albums on the independent “Jazz Compass” record label, and has been on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts as a guitar instructor since 1990. Koonse has played on over 40 world tours with many jazz greats in his career.
Jason Harnell is a world renowned drummer who has been a major contributor to the L.A. jazz scene for over 25 years. An educator, composer, and multiple band leader, Harnell is a swinging, hard grooving, musical player, who is a true artist that plays with a perfect balance of accompaniment and counterpoint. Harnell has an unmistakable sounds and style, with boundless creativity and enthusiasm. Harnell started on the drums at the age of 6, and received his 1st drum set from drumming great, Louie Bellson. Harnell has recorded and performed with many of the world’s top jazz musicians, and is co-leader of 4 critically acclaimed original bands. Harnell has recorded 4 albums with “joE-LeSs-shOe”, recorded 2 albums with” 3-ish”, recorded 1 album with “SIGMUND FUDGE”, and recorded 1` album with “GO SHLOMO”. The Jason Harnell So Drum Experience is a must-media event and solo drum concert that tantalizes the senses and explores rhythm, sight, and sound in a unique and personal way that is inspiring, entertaining, and both musically interesting and humorous. Harnell’s 1st album is due out in May, 2019. Harnell teaches at UC Irvine and Musicians Institute. Harnell is featured in numerous publications that include “Modern Drummer”, “Drum”, “JazzIz”, and “Downbeat”, has played in the films “J.Edgar”, “Funny People”, “American Gangster”, played on T.V.’s “Tosh O”, “Married with Children”, “Beverly Hills 90210, and played on numerous commercials. Harnell has played on over 40 recordings.