Sunday, December 27, 2015

Larry Kopitnik: The Plastic Sax Person of the Year

Larry Kopitnik has been one of the best friends to the Kansas City jazz community for several years.  A tireless advocate of Kansas City jazz’s past, present and future, Larry is a selfless promoter of the scene.  He’s one of those indispensable people without whom the entire infrastructure might crumble.  That’s why Larry is Plastic Sax’s 2015 Person of the Year.

Here’s a partial list of Larry’s contributions:

Blogger. Larry was partly motivated to found his Kansas City jazz blog KC Jazz Lark in 2009 to offer a tempered counterpoint to Plastic Sax. While Larry’s measured tone is usually diplomatic, he’s not afraid to point out uncomfortable truths or to offer strong opinions. 

Journalist. The weekly Jazz Beat column and occasional features Larry writes for The Pitch are essential reading.  He also recently became the editor of JAM, the distinguished magazine of the booster organization the Jazz Ambassadors.

Festivities.  Larry’s savvy oversight has made The Prairie Village Jazz Festival one of the highlights of the area’s arts calendar.  The brilliant pairing of Deborah Brown with Joe Lovano in 2014 reflects Larry’s daring approach to booking.

Photography. Larry is a fine photographer.  Many of his images serve as the default publicity shots for musicians and bands.

Support.  A lot of people talk about supporting live jazz.  Larry actually does it.  He’s one of the most attentive members of audiences at performances throughout the area.

Institutional Memory.  In previous decades, Larry served as the president of the Kansas City Jazz Festival and was the chairman of the Kansas City Jazz Commission.  He’s also an amateur historian.  The breadth of his knowledge allows Larry to provide invaluable context to current developments.

Sage.  Larry acts as a trusted advisor to musicians and venue owners.  As with the rest of Kansas City’s jazz community, they’re lucky to have him.

The previous recipients of Plastic Sax's Person of the Year award are Deborah Brown (2014), Stan Kessler (2013), Doug and Lori Chandler (2012), Jeff Harshbarger (2011), Mark Lowrey (2010) and Hermon Mehari (2009).  Bobby Watson was named the Plastic Person Person of the Decade in 2009.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)


kcjazzlark said...

Wow. Sure didn't see this coming. Thank you. And let me note that putting Joe Lovano with her group was all Deborah's brilliance. The festival just gave her the opportunity to do so.

libbilu said...

Absolutely! Larry is fantastic. -Libby

Rick Hellman said...

Good pick! Larry is a mensch.

Beau Bledsoe said...

Yes! A great pick! I never miss his blog.