What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Larry Coryell

by Doc Dosco

This week we feature Larry Coryell. I featured Larry some years ago, however I thought it time we had a look at him again now that he has put up his own website.

Online Bio

Larry Coryell is one of the world's acknowledged guitar masters. He has recorded more than 70 albums over the past 35 years as a bandleader, soloist and 'featured accompanist'. Hailed by his legion of fans as one of "the guitar gods" in the late 1970s and as a "truly Renaissance musician who excels at all styles of playing", he has also been christened as "a true pioneer of rock-jazz fusion" by the New York Times, and dubbed "the Godfather of Fusion" by Dan Ouellette of DownBeat Magazine.

Born in Galveston, Texas, Larry tried his hand at a number of instruments before settling on the guitar. He credits Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry and (later on) Wes Montgomery, as his prime influences.

Larry arrived in New York City via Seattle in 1965, and began honing his formidable instrumental skill as the basis for his musical expression. To master every aspect of the guitar, Larry also studied classical guitar with Leonid Bolotine. After developing the first incarnation of his virtuoso technique Larry played his "first big time job" with Killer Joe Piro. National recognition then came during his tenure with the Gary Burton Quartet in 1967.

The late 60s thru early 70s saw Larry as one of the most in-demand guitarists in Rock, Jazz and all musical genres. During that time Larry was part of Rock's experimentation, and toured with Jack Bruce, and was featured in sessions with Jimmy Webb, the 5th Dimension, Charles Mingus, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin. Through the albums produced during this period, Larry Coryell emerged as a profound music prophet who merged Rock, Jazz, Eastern modes and scales and free-form improv flashing Classical riffs.

In 1974 Larry formed The 11th House , the most popular and successful Fusion band of its time, which included his friend and colleague Randy Brecker. After The 11th House disbanded, Larry was signed by Clive Davis for Arista Records, where he made a series of solo albums, followed by a direct-to-disc recording with the Brecker Brothers.

Larry Coryell's recordings and live concert performances have run the gamut from clubs large and small, and concert venues large and small from the 1980s thru today. A regular headliner at the Blue Note and Birdland in New York City, Catalina's in L.A., Blues Alley in Washington DC and DownUnder in London, Larry is also no stranger to the huge open-air music festivals in the FarEast, Europe, Brazil. His appearance at London's Barbican in recent years sold-out so quickly, the addition of an extra show the following evening was required.

In 1997, Larry's publishing and management was taken on by Judith Baldwin's Aradia Group in NYC. The result has been many new opportunities for Larry and his catalog in films, TV , recording and much more.

Going back to his former alma mater, the University of Washington, Larry has brought his knowledge and professional technique to top-level music students in recent years, adding to his stature as "one who can DO, as well as teach" already established by his 2 hard-cover books on the subject published by Miller-Freeman.

The Hal Leonard Corporation just released a retrospective print folio of Larry's own compositions, with works representing the full span of his 35 years-and-counting as a professional musician, composer and innovator. Larry has designed and is spokesman for his own professional line of guitars made by Cort. He also endorses Sibelius Music Software.

The most recent recordings Larry has done are available from HighNote ("Cedars Of Avalon"), Chesky Records ("The 3 Guitars" - which Larry made with John Abercrombe & Badi Asaad) and Favored Nations("Tricycles") . The future holds many more releases on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label due to Larry's recent 'meeting of the spirits' with the label's owner.

Larry Coryell's website:

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot with Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc now endorses Peerless Guitars and has the website Jazz Guitar Zone to help promote Peerless jazz guitars in the US. He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps -- great for jazz (and anything else!)

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