Drummer and Vocals
And The Beat Goes On...
Larry Morrison was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois on October 10th, which makes him a Libra. He and Charles W. Beadle both grew up in the Wentworth Gardens housing projects located two blocks south of Comiskey Park. (Go White Sox!)
When asked what got him interested in music he said, "Radio and records got me interested in music. Being the youngest of nine children, I was exposed to the music of my parents and older siblings. They listened to music which ranged from jazz to standards, blues, rock & roll, and R & B. I became intersted in music at the early age of 5 or 6. I started playing the drums at approximately age 8 or 9 after one of my sisters married a jazz drummer, who would sometimes take me to his rehearsals. I was in awe of those talented musicians."
Larry's parents approved of his musical interest and encouraged him as a musician. He first performed in talent shows at school and the neighborhood field house.
When asked what or who most influenced you in music? Larry said, "I was definitely greatly influenced by my drummer brother-in-law along with the works of the great jazz drummers I was exposed to: Art Blakey, Max Roach, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, and many others as well as the great jazz bands and band leaders."
As he grew older he got into R & B music. Some of his favorite R & B singing groups were The Temptations, Smokey and The Miracles, The Spinners, The Impressions, The Chi-Lites and more. His favorite bands were Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Average White Band, Three Dog Night, Chicago and more. His favorite solo artists were James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler and many more. He said, "I've had the pleasure of seeing most of them perform. I was also in a band who opened for Natalie Cole and The Spinners. That was a great thrill."
He also said that he prefers jazz and R & B because that's mostly what he was exposed to, but he can play all genres. He says he needs to know how to play more than one or two styles of music to play with CHARLES & Company.
When asked if he had a favorite song, he said, "I can't say that I have a particular favorite song. I have many, many favorites. A lot of Smokey Robinson's songs come to mind, songs by Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, etc. You may be surprised that I love many standards recorded by Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and the list goes on and on."
Larry was a self-taught musician after receiving a few tips and encouragement from his brother-in-law. He and Charles started a band called The Classics back in the 60's, when they were in their teens. They would enter talent shows and play for whoever would listen. He remembers entering a battle of the bands contest sponsored by WLS radio at Navy Pier. He said that they came in either 2nd or 3rd place, but not sure which.
He went into the army, and when he returned, the band had been renamed The Majestic Kind. Shortly after that, it was changed again to We The People.
In '72 he left the band and was married, but in '75 received an offer to go on the road with the singing group The Notations, who were under contract with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom record label. They had recordings being played on the radio...He took them up on the offer and got some of his best lessons in musicianship. He even made a few radio commercials at that time. That gave him the opportunity to meet some of the great names in show business. While making the commercials at Universal Recording Studios on the north side, he met John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd when they were recording the soundtrack to The Blues Brothers.
1983, he broke both legs in a car accident which brought his drumming days to a halt. Years later, Charles contacted him and asked if he wanted to play again. He said yes, and went to work strengthening his legs. He and Charles joined a band named Quiet Storm. He played for a short time, about one and a half years.
Larry said, "Charles called again in 2007 and said he wanted to start his own band, and here we are five years later and I love it....CHARLES & Company! '
When asked what his most memorable performance was, he replied that he had three. "In 1975 when I was with The Notations, we opened for The Spinners at Southern Illinois University's auditorium, standing room only. I couldn't believe I was playing such a large venue. They had a big write up about us in the university newspaper. Then, there was the time we opened for Natalie Cole in Detroit at the Fox Theatre. Huge success! The place went wild for both The Notations and Miss Cole.
Larry told me this, "If I couldn't play music, I really don't know what I would be doing. What I like best about being a musician is that I'm doing what I dreamed of doing as a kid and it's with the same friend (Charles) that I started with. What a way to enjoy your 'twilight years'!"