The People’s Professor is leading the path to success! As we celebrate TSU Homecoming as a pivoting and monumental moment for the city of Nashville, HBCU Grammy-nominated school, Tennessee State University, is flourishing with excellence! When you see Larry, you see the Aristocrats band; when you think of the Aristocrats band; you see Larry!
Jenkins has been in the game for over 10 years perfecting his craft the sound of music. By switching professions, he decided that he didn’t want to be behind the scenes, but much rather, be in the forefront and pursue the sound of music from the band. The long hours of melodies is worth a thousand words in the people’s eyes.
We had caught up with Larry himself as he discusses his experience performing at the White House, how he knew he wanted to teach music to students and more.
JJ: How did you know you wanted to teach students?
Larry: I wanted to teach students and help them learn about music. I had a love for music forever. In middle school, I had gotten into band to do instrumental music and now getting to HBCU band and learning and watching the culture while being the culture. A turning point was junior or senior year, I went to FAMU for a workshop and seen myself tugging between being a journalist or being out with the band. As I was listening to the band, while editing a paper, I knew being out with the band was what I want to do. As my family and friends went to Tennessee State University, the love from the school, band and culture, I knew music education is my passion.
JJ: What is your favorite instrument you like to play? What is the meaning of the trumpet?
Larry: Trumpet. One of the band directors, John, told me about the trumpet and educated me that it is a noble instrument. You associate it with power and being stately in music settings. The trumpet is the melody that is pronounced and distinct voice. I knew immediately what I want to play.
JJ: Performing at the White House in June during Black Music Month, and it was the first historic Juneteenth celebration. Tell me your experience.
Larry: It was insane! Another humbling experience, but definitely an experience to take it all in and be present at the moment. By being apart of Juneteenth celebration, it is a first of a kind, to share this moment because Fisk Jubilee singers, Morgan State band, Hampton choir and more were there to represent us as a culture. Students had the culture on the White House line, and it was super important and beautiful to see. A compilation of performances were phenomenal by seeing Method Man, Jennifer Hudson and more. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
JJ: What is your favorite project/song you did with the band you like to play live? Your Top 3!
Larry: Goodness! This is tough! First, I got to go with Star Trek theme song! Second, while being in with the band, is “Back & Forth” by Cameo. Third is “Gin & Juice” by Snoop Dogg because, as soon as, I established it, everyone had started playing it.
JJ: Let’s take it back to Grammy week! How does it feel to become a part of history?
Larry: It is a huge honor that we represent Aristocrats the band. It is the first time it has been done. Even right now, we understand the impact especially the city of Nashville, black Nashville, HBCUs, TSU and our band, too. We call our band, the band of firsts, we were fortunate enough to do the things we do. For example, being on national TV during the NFL halftime, four inaugurations including recent President Biden. We couldn’t represent just Tennessee, we represented Virgin Islands and other cultures, too. Our history is very very rich, and it’s another piece to our beautiful legacy that we are very proud of certainly.
JJ: What is your most accomplishment so far?
Larry: My biggest accomplishment is by seeing students graduate and getting into their careers and seeing what they are working toward. There is nothing that is more inspiring than that and to see them with their families continuing and watching their growth.
JJ: Define Aristocrat.
Larry: Higher class or aristocratic. Step above. Nobility. Hearing how the band sound must be the aristocrat of the band.