Larry McKinley died this past week. Details are available at Offbeat or other local New Orleans sources.
Historically, McKinley will be remembered as one of the founding partners in Minit Records and an influential disc jockey. However, Jazz Fest regulars have a much more indelible memory of McKinley as the “voice of Jazz Fest” – that sonorous baritone that everyone hears as they approach the Sauvage gate.
I can’t help but have this new image in my mind – when people now approach the gates of heaven they are no longer greeted by St. Peter behind a podium with a ledger and an old quill pen. Now, as they get closer to the pearly gates, they’ll be greeted by the voice of Larry McKinley directing them how to enter and what will and will not be allowed in heaven. That’s about right, isn’t it? Jazz Fest isn’t exactly heaven on earth, but it’s darn close.