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Larry Coryell dead at 73


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Larry Coryell, the jazz guitarist known as the "Godfather of Fusion," died Sunday night at a hotel in New York City, according to his publicist. He was 73.


Coryell was still performing more than 50 years after his first recordings. He played at New York jazz club Iridium on Friday and Saturday night, and had plans for a summer tour with his fusion group The Eleventh House.


Coryell's recordings in the late 1960s, first with his band the Free Spirits, then with the Gary Burton Quartet and finally as a bandleader, predicted the rise of jazz-rock fusion and contributed to the sonic evolution the genre. It's no wonder that snippets of his work were sampled by renowned producers, including J Dilla and DJ Shadow.





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Yes I saw this last night. A giant.


I was a huge fan of his playing in the 70s - the 1st guitarist I listened to after Jimi died. "Spaces", "Barefoot Boy", "Fairyland", "Offering", "Difference", "The Restful Mind" - all still extraordinary records IMO.

His early blues playing was absolutely killer stuff - "Treats Style" on his 1st LP, or "Larry Of Arabia" on "The Dealer" by Chico Hamilton.


And I queued for hours to see his 1st UK appearance at the Roundhouse in London with his 11th House band; drummer Al Mouzon also died recently, on Xmas day.

However he and Larry had completed a final 11th House album which I see from the obit is due in June.


I saw Larry several times, most of his UK appearances in fact.

Highlights were the trio with Mclaughlin and De Lucia at the Albert Hall, the 2nd 11th House line-up absolutely steaming at Hammersmith with Philip Catherine added on guitar, and a mid-80s one-off concert with Mouzon which was all jazz.


However he was badly managed and also had a serious drink problem in the 70s, which was why Al Di Meola replaced him in the Mclaughlin/De Lucia trio.

He went acoustic and started making solo albums on which he improvised over classical pieces on steel-strung acoustic; commercial (and artistic) suicide, culminating in the truly awful "Bolero" LP and 3 albums of Stravinsky on acoustic guitar! By that time I had given up buying the records.


It got worse when he was persuaded by Creed Taylor to overdub solos onto the original track of "Bumpin' On Sunset" by Wes Montgomery, released on the "Fallen Angel" album - for which he was quite rightly heavily criticized.

But then he returned to jazz and made many more albums, most very good but 1 or 2 awful. He divorced, beat the drink, became a buddhist and wrote his autobiography in 2007.


R.I.P. Larry; you totally opened my mind up and your music made me very, very happy on many occasions and still does to this day.

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