Larry Lawless

Larry Lawless, founder of the Lawless Percussion and Jazz Ensemble, has been involved in music education for over 35 years, as a high school and junior high band director, private lesson teacher, clinician, drum and bugle corps caption head, and university instructor. His former students can be found in teaching positions and performing venues across the country. He has been a featured clinician for schools in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Iowa and the Texas Music Educators and Texas Bandmasters Conventions. From 1999 to 2013, Larry served as the Associate Band Director/ Percussion Specialist for Stephenville ISD in Stephenville, Texas. He holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree in Music Composition and Percussion from the University of Nebraska.

Mr. Lawless endorses Encore Mallets and Sabian Cymbals. He is the former President of the Texas Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, and in 2008 was named Outstanding Chapter President.

Today saw the first day of rehearsals, when we see just what we've got here. I am overwhelmed with my audacity and foolishness at the concept of putting together a group for a recording who have never all been in the same state together, much less a performing ensemble. My fears are quickly put aside as the task of covering all 10 tunes in 2 days hits us smack in the face.

What a great bunch of guys!! I am amazed at the knowledge and talent that Doug, Rich, Bart, and David have to contribute. The best thing about the rehearsal process is the interaction, the "arrangements while you wait", the give and take to achieve the artistry we all want for this project. At one point, Doug gives us one of his truisms of jazz performance, "sometimes it's OK to play what's written". Dan is right to the point and keeps us honest. He constantly demonstrates why I am so glad he is here for this, with uncompromising standards of excellence.

We quickly discover the balance problems inherent in mixing percussion instruments, the drums have to be played full to get the full sound, while marimbas are really solo instruments. We solve the problem by creating a "drum fort" around the set, a house of cards made from acoustical baffles taken from the walls of a nearby ensemble room. After more experimentation and practice, we end up with baffles between the mallet instruments, as we are close micing everything, to eliminate as much bleed as possible.

The day is fun, but very long, and after 9 1/2 hours of rehearsal, we are all exhausted and ready for some down time. And tomorrow we get to do it all over again!