Larry Coryell

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Larry Coryell
Larry Coryell 2009, at "Jazz im Palmengarten", Frankfurt am Main.
Background information
Birth name Larry Coryell
Born (1943-04-02) April 2, 1943 (age 73)
Galveston, Texas, United States
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion, post-bop, free jazz
Occupation(s) Guitarist/Composer/Performer
Instruments Acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Labels Vanguard, Arista, Atlantic, Novus
Associated acts The Free Spirits, The Eleventh House, Gary Burton, Charles Mingus, Steve Marcus, Chico Hamilton, Bob Moses, Wolfgang Dauner, John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, Lenny White, Victor Bailey

Larry Coryell (born April 2, 1943) The Godfather of Fusion is an American jazz fusion guitarist.[1]


Coryell was born in Galveston, Texas. He graduated from Richland High School, in Richland, Washington,[citation needed] where he played in local bands the Jailers, the Rumblers, the Royals, and the Flames. He also played with the Checkers from nearby Yakima, Washington. He then moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington.[citation needed] He played in a number of popular Northwest bands, including the Dynamics, while living in Seattle.

In 1965, Coryell moved to New York City where he became part of Chico Hamilton's quintet, replacing Gabor Szabo. In 1967 and 1968, he recorded with Gary Burton. Also during the mid-1960s he played with the Free Spirits,[2] his very first recorded band. His music during the late-1960s and early-1970s combined the influences of rock, jazz and eastern music. He married writer-actress Julie Nathanson[3] prior to the release of his first solo album, Lady Coryell, which like the follow-up album Coryell, the live At The Village Gate, as well as the later record, The Lion and the Ram featured her photos on the cover [there is a 'ghost' nude of her descending a staircase on the Aspects album cover]. Julie's poetry was featured on the back cover of Ram. She was to be an integral part[4] of his musical career/writing-inspiration including management, and her appearance at recording sessions was noted by several side-men. She also wrote a book based on several interviews with various jazz-rock musicians, including her husband, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin. In the early seventies, he led a group of various incarnations that all included Mike Mandel (a childhood friend of Larry's) called "Foreplay,"[5][6] although the albums of this period - Barefoot Boy, Offering, and The Real Great Escape were credited to just "Larry Coryell." He formed his own named-group, The Eleventh House, in 1973. The album sold well in college towns and the ensemble toured widely to support that. Several of the group's albums featured drummer Alphonse Mouzon. Following the breakup of this band, Coryell played mainly acoustic guitar, but returned to electric guitar later in the 1970s - including an album jointly credited with Mouzon and an album with the Brubeck Brothers that was recorded direct-to-disc, that being a new technique/fad at the time. He made several acoustic guitar duet records, including two with Belgian guitarist (and former Focus member) Philip Catherine, their first pairing Twin House (which contained the composition "Miss Julie") from 1977 picking up very favorable reviews. In 1979, Coryell formed The Guitar Trio with jazz fusion guitarist John McLaughlin and flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia. The group toured Europe briefly, eventually releasing a video recorded at Royal Albert Hall in London entitled "Meeting of Spirits". In early 1980, Coryell's drug addiction led to him being replaced by Al Di Meola.[7] Julie Coryell sang on one track of Coryell's 1984 album Comin' Home. The couple went through a messy divorce in 1985. She died in 2009.[8][9] Coryell recorded an album with (and was briefly romantically involved with)[10] Wes Montgomery-influenced guitarist Emily Remler before her death from a heroin overdose while on tour in Australia.

In 2007, Coryell published an autobiography titled Improvising: My Life in Music. Larry's two sons, Julian Coryell and Murali Coryell, are also actively involved in the music business.

Media reactions[edit]

David Miller, a jazz critic from All About Jazz, in his review of Coryell concert at the Iridium, said:

  • "This was jazz at its finest—complex and virtuosic yet easily accessible, at times intense, at others fun-filled, and always with the feeling of the unknown that comes with truly spontaneous and inspired improvisation. While the music was steeped in the bop tradition, the musicians continually found new ways to utilize the idiom. Few locations other than New York could host a powerhouse gathering of musical heavyweights of this order, and one can only hope that the shows have been recorded for a future release."[11]

When NPR radio host Billy Taylor, on one of the editions of Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center, introduced Coryell, he said:

  • Versatile virtuoso guitarist Larry Coryell proves to be more than an outstanding musician; he’s also a particularly enlightening and affable conversationalist.[12]


As leader[edit]

With The Eleventh House

As sideman[edit]

With Gary Burton

With Randy Brecker

  • Score (1969)

With the Jazz Composer's Orchestra

With Wolfgang Dauner

  • Knirsch (1972)

With The 5th Dimension

With The Free Spirits

  • Out of Sight and Sound (1967)

With Chico Hamilton

With Arnie Lawrence

  • Look Toward a Dream (1969)

With Herbie Mann

With Michael Mantler

  • Movies (1977)

With Steve Marcus

  • Tomorrow Never Knows (1968)
  • Count's Rock Band (1968)
  • The Lord's Prayer (1969)

With Charles Mingus

With Bob Moses

  • Love Animal (1967–68)

With Chico O'Farrill

With The Arista All Stars

  • Blue Montreux (1978)

With Simon & Bard Group

With Joey DeFrancesco

  • Wonderful, Wonderful (2012)

With Dennis Haklar

  • Lizard's Tale (2012)

With Michael Mantler

  • Movies (1977)

With The Fusion Syndicate

  • The Fusion Syndicate (2012)

With The Wide Hive Players

  • Players II Guitar (2010)
  • Larry Coryell with The Wide Hive Players (2011)


  • L. Subramaniam: Violin From the Heart (1999) – directed by Jean Henri Meunier. (Includes a scene of Coryell performing with L. Subramaniam.)
  • Meeting of the Spirits /1979 (2003) – live performance in London with Coryell, John McLaughlin, and Paco de Lucia.
  • Super Guitar Trio and Friends in Concert /1990 (2005) – live performance featuring Coryell, Al Di Meola, and Biréli Lagrène.
  • Super Guitar Trio: Live in Montreux /1989 (2007) - Live performance featuring Coryell, Al Di Meola, and Biréli Lagrène.
  • Three Guitars: Paris Concert /2004 (2012) – live performance featuring Coryell, Badi Assad, and John Abercrombie.



  1. ^ Richard S. Ginell (1943-04-02). "Larry Coryell | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  2. ^ Unterberger 1998, pg. 329
  3. ^ Durkee, Cutler. "Jazz and Rock Are An Explosive Combination: So Are Guitarist Larry Coryell and Wife Julie". Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  4. ^ Howard Mandel. "Julie Coryell, jazz author, manager, muse". Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  5. ^ Larry Coryell, Improvising: My Life in Music, Hal Leonard Corp, New York, 2007, p.89
  6. ^ "Larry Coryell SUNY New Paltz New Paltz, NY Mar 17, 1973". 1973-03-17. Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  7. ^ "Larry Coryell Power Trio". by Mike Riggs March 19, 2009 at the Blues Alley, Washington, D.C. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  8. ^ "Jazz Historian Julie Coryell Passes On at 61 | The Jazz Legacy of Jim Pepper: An American Original". Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Larry Coryell, Improvising: My Life in Music, Hal Leonard Corp, New York, 2007, p.127
  11. ^ "Larry Coryell Live at the Iridium". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  12. ^ "Larry Coryell Live at the Kennedy Center". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  13. ^ Arista Records, Novus Label AN3017, 1979
  14. ^ "Larry Coryell Discography at Discogs". 1943-04-02. Retrieved 2015-07-15. 

External links[edit]