Wednesday, February 17, 2016
CONTRA COSTA TIMES -- Vuckovich is classically trained and studied music at San Francisco State University but says learning by listening was his primary approach. His professional career developed on the East and West coasts, especially in long-term associations with lyricist Jon Hendricks, as house pianist for a number of San Francisco jazz clubs and in special projects and recordings that brought him to Lincoln Center, Yoshi's and festivals in the United States and Europe. In 1973, Guaraldi chose him as his piano partner for his two-keyboard quintet, “Powder Keg.” “Playing with him, I had to match his energy,” Vuckovich says. “I had to dig in so there wouldn't be a down energy.” Most often during his private lessons, Vuckovich says that instead of lectures on method and technique, Guaraldi would just play the piano to demonstrate a concept. “The emphasis was on listening. I learned jazz harmonies and melodic lines by listening to the records of the masters,” Vuckovich says.