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Larry Coryell

As one of the pioneers of jazz-rock -- perhaps the pioneer in the ears of some -- Larry Coryell deserves a special place in the history books. He brought what amounted to a nearly alien sensibility to jazz electric guitar playing in the 1960s, a hard-edged, cutting tone, and phrasing and note-bending that owed as much to blues, rock, and even country as it did to earlier, smoother bop influences. Yet as a true eclectic, armed with a brilliant technique, he is comfortable in almost every style, covering almost every base from the most decibel-heavy, distortion-laden electric work to the most delicate, soothing, intricate lines on acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, a lot of his most crucial electric work from the '60s and '70s has gone missing in the digital age, tied up by the erratic reissue schemes of Vanguard, RCA, and other labels, and by jazz-rock's myopically low level of status in certain quarters.

According to Coryell, his interest in jazz took hold at the age of four, and after his family moved from Galveston to the state of Washington three years later, he began to learn the guitar, studying records by Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, and Johnny Smith. As a teenager, he played in a band led by pianist Mike Mandel, and by 1965, he gave up his journalism studies at the University of Washington in order to try his luck in New York as a musician. Before the year was out, he attracted much attention jamming in Greenwich Village and replaced Gabor Szabo in Chico Hamilton's band. In 1966, he made a startling recorded debut on Hamilton's The Dealer album, where his blues and rock ideas came to the fore, and that year, he also played with a proto-jazz-rock band, the Free Spirits. Coryell's name spread even further in 1967-1968 when he played with Gary Burton's combo, and he was one of the most prominent solo voices on Herbie Mann's popular Memphis Underground album (recorded in 1968). He, Mandel, and Steve Marcus formed a group called Foreplay in 1969 (no relation to the later Fourplay), and by 1973, this became the core of the jazz-rock band Eleventh House, which after a promising start ran aground with a string of albums of variable quality.

In 1975, Coryell pulled the plug, concentrating on acoustic guitar and turning in a prolific series of duo and trio sessions with the likes of Philip Catherine, Emily Remler, John Scofield, Joe Beck, Steve Khan, and John McLaughlin. In the mid-'80s, Coryell toured with McLaughlin and Paco DeLucia, and in 1986 participated in a five-way guitar session with his old idol Farlow, Scofield, Larry Carlton, and John Abercrombie for the Jazzvisions series. Coryell has also recorded with Stephane Grappelli, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, and Kenny Barron, and taped Brazilian music with Dori Caymmi for CTI, mainstream jazz for Muse, solo guitar for Shanachie and Acoustic Music, and (for Nippon Phonogram in Japan) an album of classical transcriptions of music by Stravinsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.

Coryell's career in the 21st century has been just as active. The year 2004 saw the release of Tricycles, an excellent trio date with drummer Paul Wertico and bassist Mark Egan. Electric from 2005 found Coryell playing jazz standards and rock anthems with Lenny White on drums and Victor Bailey on electric bass. In 2006, he released the performance album Laid Back & Blues: Live at the Sky Church in Seattle, followed two years later by Impressions: The New York Sessions on Chesky.

In 2011 the guitarist joined a group of musicians closely associated with the Bay Area's Wide Hive label for Larry Coryell with the Wide Hive Players. He then returned in 2013 with The Lift, featuring organist Chester Thompson. Two years later, he delivered his third album for Wide Hive, Heavy Feel. In 2017, Coryell announced he had reunited members of his '70s fusion group Eleventh House, including trumpeter Randy Brecker, for the album Seven Secrets. ~ Richard S. Ginell
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Aurora Coryellis (Live)

1. Offering

2. Ruminations

3. Hen-Hopper

4. Scotland Part One

5. Julie La Belle

6. Juju

7. Rodrigo Reflections

8. Eyes Of Love

9. Improvisations On Sarabande

10. The Restful Mind

11. Gratitude

12. Bouquet

13. Rene's Theme

14. Ain't It Is

15. St. Gallen

16. Spain

17. Trinkle Tinkle

18. In A Sentimental Mood

19. Bumpin' On Sunset

20. Manha De Carnaval (Theme To Black Orpheus)

21. Spaces Revisited (Part One)

22. Spaces Revisited (Part Two)

23. The Dragon Gate (Excerpt)

x

Track List: Heavy Feel

1. Ghost Note

2. River Crossing

3. The Way It Was

4. Polished

5. Heavy Feel

6. 2011 East

7. Sharing Air

8. Jailbreak

9. Footpath To Oasis

x

Track List: The Lift

1. Going Up

2. Arena Blues

3. The Lift

4. Lafayette

5. Clear Skies

6. Rough Cut

7. Alternative Recollection

8. Broken Blues

9. Counterweight

10. Stadium Wave

11. Wild Rye

12. First Day Of Autumn

x

Track List: Montgomery

1. Tales Of The Montgomery Bus Boycott

2. Along Dexter Avenue

3. Joy At The Jail

4. Amazing Grace

5. L'Homage

6. Beautiful Love

7. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?

x

Track List: Prime Picks

1. Inner Urge

2. Spiral Staircase

3. Something

4. Compulsion

5. Star Eyes

6. Limehouse Blues

7. New High

8. Bumpin' On Sunset

9. Tonk

10. Good Citizen Swallow

x

Track List: Shining Hour

1. Nefertiti

2. Apathy Rains

3. Yesterdays

4. Floyd Gets A Gig

5. The Duke

6. My Shining Hour

7. The Sorcerer

8. All The Things You Are

x

Track List: Earthquake At The Avalon

1. Opening

2. Souls Dirge (Live)

3. Slow Blues (Live)

4. Half A Heart (Live)

5. Dream Thing/Stiff Neck (Live)

6. Morning Sickness (Live)

7. Real Great Escape

8. Dragon Gate

x

Track List: Vanguard Visionaries

1. Stiff Neck

2. Sweet Shuffle

3. Joy Ride

4. The Jam With Albert

5. Lady Coryell

6. Yin

7. Spaces (Infinite)

8. The Dream Thing

9. Birdfingers

10. Theme For A Dream

x

Track List: Laid Back And Blues

1. No More Booze Minor Blues

2. Intro To Tracey

3. Tracey

4. Gimme One Reason/Rock Me Baby

5. Body & Soul

6. Intro To Straight No Chaser

7. Straight No Chaser

8. Denver In April

9. The Dragon's Grate

10. No Exactly Like BB

x

Track List: Joy Spring: The Swinging Side Larry Coryell

1. Joy Spring

2. The Duke

3. My Shining Hour

4. 'Round Midnight

5. Nefertiti

6. Yesterdays

7. Moment's Notice

8. Sophisticated Lady

9. All The Things You Are

x

Track List: New York Blues

1. I Hear The Wind

2. All I Do Is Chase The?

3. Dig Those Eyes

4. New York Blues

5. 52nd Street Shakedown

6. Study In Rhythm

7. Like Spring Blues

8. Swing Me Around

9. Walking With An Angel

10. Not Now B**ch

11. Blues Alley Jack

12. Come Break The Mold

x

Track List: Tricycles

1. Immer Geradeaus

2. Dragon Gate

3. Good Citizen Swallow

4. Tricycles

5. Stable Fantasy

6. Spaces Revisited

7. Round Midnight

8. Three Way Split

9. Well You Needn't

10. She's Leaving Home

x

Track List: Improvisations - Best Of The Vanguard Years

1. Treats Style

2. Lady Coryell

3. The Dream Thing

4. Two Minute Classical

5. You Don't Know What Love Is

6. Stiff Neck

7. Cleo's Mood

8. Improvisation On Villa-Lobos (Prelude No. 4 In E Minor)

9. The Eyes Of Love

10. Gratitude " A So Low"

11. Elementary Solo #5

12. Rue Gregoire Du Tour

13. Sweet Shuffle

14. Ah Wuv Ooh

15. Rene's Theme

x

Track List: Major Jazz Minor Blues

1. Moment's Notice

2. The Duke

3. 'Round Midnight

4. Joy Spring

5. Yesterdays

6. No More Booze, Minor Blues

7. Tender Tears

8. My Shining Hour

9. Toka Do

10. Sophisticated Lady

x

Track List: Sketches Of Coryell

1. A Sketch Of Spain (Concierto De Aranjuez)

2. Feel Like Making Love

3. Big Fun

4. I Am Singing

5. The Awakening

6. Molly

7. Ring Around The Moon

8. Soulin’

9. My Brother

10. Ray Of Hope

x

Track List: Twelve Frets To One Octave

1. Allegra's Ballerina Song

2. Murali's Picture

3. Flamenco Flare-Up

4. Blue Monk

5. Night Rain

6. Dye Me Blue

7. Transparence

8. Blues For 'Charlie The Lobster'

9. Light Sweet Crude

10. Bartok Eleven

11. Alfonsina Del Mar

12. Lotus Revelation

x

Track List: The Dragon Gate

1. The Dragon Gate

2. Giant Steps

3. Sunset On Soweto

4. West Coast Blues

5. Molly's Lament

6. Back Bay Blues

7. And She Loved Him

8. Bottleneck Blackout

9. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

10. Snow Prince

x

Track List: Standing Ovation

1. Discotexas

2. Excerpt

3. Ravel

4. Wonderful Wolfgang

5. Piano Improvisation

6. Sweet Shuffle

7. Moon

8. Park It Where You Can

9. Spiritual Dance

x

Track List: Planet End

1. Cover Girl

2. Tyrone

3. Rocks

4. The Eyes Of Love

5. Planet End

x

Track List: The Essential

1. Yin

2. Elementary Guitar Solo #5

3. Scotland I

4. The Jam With Albert

5. Stiff Neck

6. Foreplay

7. Lady Coryell

8. Spaces (Infinite)

9. Are You Too Clever

10. After Later

x

Track List: Eleventh House With Larry Coryell

1. Birdfingers

2. The Funky Waltz

3. Low-Lee-Tah

4. Adam Smasher

5. Joy Ride

6. Yin

7. Theme For A Dream

8. Gratitude "A So Low"

9. Ism-Ejercicio

10. Right On Y'All

x

Track List: Spaces

1. Spaces (Infinite)

2. Rene's Theme

3. Gloria's Step

4. Wrong Is Right

5. Chris

6. New Year's Day In Los Angeles - 1968

x

Track List: Lady Coryell

1. Herman Wright

2. Sunday Telephone

3. Two Minute Classical

4. Love Child Is Coming Home

5. Lady Coryell

6. The Dream Thing

7. Treats Style

8. You Don't Know What Love Is

9. Stiff Neck

10. Cleo's Mood

Comments

Report as inappropriate
It is of note, no pun, that Larry Coryell is deaf in one ear. Perhaps that shaped his alien sensibility.
Report as inappropriate
Feel Like Making Love
Report as inappropriate
The Walrus Tavern, Seattle. Crammed in for $3. Soprano saxist from B S and T, blind keyboardist and Larry, who just turned away and turned it on. Maybe the 80s. Oh man!

y
Report as inappropriate
Larry's best work was with Alphonse Mouzon.
Report as inappropriate
L.C. is my favorite guitarist by far!
Report as inappropriate
jmz.999
i was lst introduced to mr.coryell with herbie mann by my brother in late 60,s he was smoothe joy...
Report as inappropriate
melnstev1997
His best acoustical work is on an album called European Impressions. It is a live, close mic recording of extraordinar y rhythmic details. In my opinion is one of best ever live guitar albums. His fingers are flying on this one with many rhythmic changes, but still staying in a groove throughout. This album is recorded in stunning sonic detail, as if you were sitting 3 feet away and hearing his fingers striking every note. This album is a must to listen to for anyone loving the sound of acoustic
Report as inappropriate
wilfertsnipe s
This is Great mood music for you and someone special.
Report as inappropriate
I DIG MR CORYELL'S VERSION OF STAR EYES !!! X
Report as inappropriate
ellujin
They left off his latest...Dua l i t y . Here's a link: http://rando m a c t r e c o r d s . c o m / p r o d u c t / l a r r y - c o r y e l l - a n d - k e n n y - d r e w - j r - d u a l i t y /
Report as inappropriate
dmicelli
Saw him in Chicago at the Jazz showcase last night, awesome show!
Report as inappropriate
Larry's playing is pure joy on six strings. Saw him at school (FDU-Madison ) circa 1971.
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jjbracco
Outstanding music for years. I was lucky enough to see 11th house at My Fathers Place in Roslyn NY
Report as inappropriate
bahbahblacks h e e p 5
paul c. coss says:Isaw larry at the bottom line with the 11th house, All i can say is wow.
Report as inappropriate
T'would be nice to have a much more complete offering here... dippping back into the 70's when this hobo first was turned on to Mr. C.
Report as inappropriate
Takes me back to the early eighties when I saw Larry at the old Golden Bear in Huntington Beach Ca.
Report as inappropriate
I would love to find a relacement copy of Dragons Gate. I lost mine and so loved that album. Larry signed and gave me the tablature music for that album and fortunately, I still have that. email me if you know where I can get a copy: teresa.artth e r a p y @ g m a i l . c o m Thank you!
Report as inappropriate
Larry Coryell will be appearing on Jan 22,23 and 24th 2009 at The Flying Fish Cafe in Phila.PA 8200 Germantown Ave...2 shows @ 8 & 10pm
Report as inappropriate
Heard him first with the Gary Burton Quartet (doing stuff from "Duster") back in 1968. Followed him ever since. Good autobiograph y available at Amazon. He's known and or played with virtually everybody...
Report as inappropriate
muzicricky
TO PANDORA MANAGEMENT. DO YOU HAVE ANY ELSE BY MR. CORYELL THAT CAN BE HEARD HERE?
Report as inappropriate
Laid Back & Blues: Live at the Sky Church in Seattle. Do you have anything on this by Larry Coryell?

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