There's sad news out of New Orleans this morning as Larry
McKinley has passed away. McKinley co-founded famed label Minit Records and was "the
voice of Jazz Fest."
[via Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame]
Larry McKinley died yesterday at age 85 "after a battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease (COPD)," according to OffBeat. McKinley's voice welcomed attendees to the Jazz Fest
each year as it came from converted ice chests at the entrances to the event. His baritone
is familiar to Jazz Festers who, according to a
n interview he gave in 2008, was recognized by attendees across the country. “One time I
was in Philadelphia at the airport," McKinley told the Times-Picayune. “I was waiting for
a plane, and at one of the kiosks I made an order. And so a young lady was standing right
behind me. Had a Penn State sweatshirt on. And when I placed my order, she looked at me
and said, 'Are you from New Orleans?’
“I said, ‘Yeah.’
“She says, ‘The Jazz Fest? I recognize that voice.’"
“I said, 'Yep, I got out of that box.’”
McKinley co-founded Minit Records in 1959 and quickly hired Allen Toussaint as the label’s
in-house producer and arranger. Minit went on to release now-legendary records from the
likes of Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Benny Spellman and Chris Kenner. Among the many honors
bestowed on McKinley was a spot in the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.
[Published on: 12/9/13]