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Larry Coryell RIP

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posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 03:12 PM
A real guitarist's guitarist, Larry passed away last night at the age of 73. I got turned onto him just a few years ago with Call To Higher Consciousness track that left me mesmerized. He has done so much in the fusion aspect of guitar playing, combing jazz, funk, flamenco and classical styles spanning decades of collaborations and experimenting. His playing evoked every emotion across the spectrum and his dazzling talent left me in awe. He recorded over 100 albums and has played with Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia and many more

His breakout work was Spaces in 1969, featuring John McLaughlin, Chick Corea and Billy Cobham. all of whom played on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew.

Larry Coryell, a virtuoso guitarist who in the 1960s was among the first musicians to bring a rock sound and sensibility to jazz, and who continued to blur the lines between genres throughout his career, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 73.

The cause was heart failure, a spokesman, John Lappen, said. Mr. Coryell, who lived in Orlando, Fla., had been in New York to perform at the Iridium in Midtown on Friday and Saturday and died in his hotel room.

Mr. Coryell counted Chuck Berry and the country guitarist Chet Atkins among his early inspirations. He also came under the spell of jazz at a young age, teaching himself to play along with records by Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel and other masters.

His round, ringing tone and his propensity for bending notes placed him outside the jazz guitar mainstream, but he was never all that concerned with labels.

“If music has something to say to you, whether it’s jazz, country-and-western, Indian music or Asian folk music, go ahead and use it,” Mr. Coryell told an interviewer in 1968.

Such a sentiment may seem commonplace today, but it was rare in the mid-1960s, before Miles Davis and other older jazz musicians embraced a similarly eclectic philosophy, as Mr. Coryell himself did throughout his career. Over the years he worked with rock musicians like Jack Bruce and jazz musicians like Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins (he also recorded with Davis, although the material from that session remains officially unreleased), as well as with musicians from India, Brazil and elsewhere.

Mr. Coryell began performing and recording as a leader in 1968, with a clear idea of what he wanted in a band. “One side of my personality likes the soft stuff, the jazz,” he told The New York Times in 1968. “The other side likes to play hard things, rock, with big amps. I have to get musicians who can go both ways.”

On his album “Spaces” (1970), considered a high-water mark of the fusion movement, he was accompanied by leading exemplars of the genre, most notably his fellow guitarist John McLaughlin, with whom he would work off and on throughout his career.

The loud side of Mr. Coryell’s personality took center stage in 1972 when he formed the Eleventh House, a seminal fusion band that emphasized complex, thunderous compositions and flashy, rapid-fire solos. (The band’s powerhouse drummer, Alphonse Mouzon, went on to become a star in his own right. He died in December.) After the Eleventh House disbanded in 1975, Mr. Coryell turned off the amps for a while to focus on acoustic guitar.

By the 1980s he was again playing an electric instrument, but this time in a straight-ahead jazz context. Reviewing a 1985 performance for The Times, Jon Pareles noted that Mr. Coryell had moved from the “machine-gun scales and riffs” of his early years to “the subtler pleasures of jazz.”

“The slower Larry Coryell plays his guitar,” Mr. Pareles wrote, “the better he gets.”

Mr. Coryell toggled between jazz and jazz-rock, electric and acoustic for the rest of his career; he had been scheduled to go on tour with a new version of the Eleventh House in June.

Larry Coryell was born Lorenz Albert Van DeLinder III in Galveston, Tex., on April 2, 1943. He never knew his biological father, a musician; he was raised by his mother, Cora, who encouraged him to learn piano when he was 4, and his stepfather, Gene Coryell, a chemical engineer. He grew up in the Seattle area, played guitar in local bands as a teenager and, after briefly studying journalism at the University of Washington, moved to New York to pursue a career in music.

He is survived by his wife, the former Tracey Piergross; two daughters, Allegra Coryell and Annie White; two sons, Murali and Julian; and six grandchildren. His previous two marriages ended in divorce.


Here are a few of my favorites amongst a plethora of albums and performances.

He certainly left his mark on the world with his prolific masterpieces. I wish his family, friends and fans peace and gratitude. RIP brother...
edit on 22-2-2017 by waftist because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 03:22 PM
a reply to: waftist
Sad Day. Back in the late 70's he was playing The Paradise in Boston, me and 4 buddies came up from Cape Cod thinking no biggie to get tix, but the place was packed and the ticket booth was mobbed, I saw out of the corner of my eye someone trying to come thru the door, and I said "hey make some room" the guy patted me on the back and said "thanks buddy", I didn't even look at him and my friends said "that was Larry Coryell". I was next up to get out tix and the woman said "Sold Out". We walked out and sat on the sidewalk with our backs to the Club and up walks Larry. "What's the matter?" he said. We told him it was sold out. He said follow me, and set us up with front row seats. Oh, and he burned.

posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 03:30 PM
I have never heard of this Gentleman, and I consider myself knowledgeable where music is concerned.

As a fellow musician, RIP Larry, keep making beautiful sounds.

posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 04:30 PM
a reply to: waftist
Jam with Albert was one of my favorites.
Another from that record, it was Bernard Perdy on drums I think right?

posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 05:09 PM
a reply to: ugmold

A nice story about him, thx man
My impression from what I've read is that he was humble, funny and generous.

Yes it was Bernard on that album with Ron carter on bass. As far as instrumentals, he was involved with some of the greatest works of all time, imo. He could throw down with anyone. He could go from soothing, flowing and graceful playing to erratic, flamboyant speed demon in a flash. Watching him play it is evident he puts his soul into it and feels what is happening. Jam with Albert…a pinnacle of virtuoso guitar expression and rhythm fo sho!

Thanks for the replies

posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 05:12 PM
a reply to: Cobaltic1978

Me too Cobaltic, just heard of him a few years ago and I can't believe I missed him along the way of my musical journey.
He wasn't mainstream but was, kind of. He influenced a lot of guitarists however.

Steve Kimock is another gem of a player I found out about more recently too.

posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 08:54 PM
Thank you for the great music.. also this is a beautiful memorial.

posted on Feb, 23 2017 @ 12:59 AM

originally posted by: zosimov
Thank you for the great music.. also this is a beautiful memorial.

My pleasure zosimov and thanks for the kind words. You can be certain Larry's playing has touched a many o souls in our world.

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