Larry Coryell

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Larry Coryell
Larry Coryell 1979.jpg
Coryell in 1979
Background information
Birth name Lorenz Albert Van DeLinder III
Born (1943-04-02)April 2, 1943
Galveston, Texas, U.S.
Died February 19, 2017(2017-02-19) (aged 73)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion, post-bop, free jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1965–2017
Labels Vanguard, Arista, Novus, Muse, Shanachie, Chesky, Wide Hive, Patuxent
Associated acts

Larry Coryell (born Lorenz Albert Van DeLinder III; 2 April 1943 – 19 February 2017) was an American jazz guitarist known as the "Godfather of Fusion".[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.[2] He played in a number of popular Northwest bands, including the Dynamics, while living in Seattle.

In September 1965, Coryell moved to New York City, where he attended Mannes School of Music,[3]and then 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,[4] his 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[5] before the release of his first solo album, Lady Coryell, which like Coryell, At the Village Gate and 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 an important part[6] of his career, as inspiration, management, and appearances at recording sessions. She wrote a book based on interviews with jazz-rock musicians, including John Abercrombie, and Jaco Pastorius.[7]

In the early 1970s, he led a group called Foreplay with Mike Mandel, a childhood friend,[8][9] although the albums of this period—Barefoot Boy, Offering, and The Real Great Escape—were credited only to "Larry Coryell". He formed the group The Eleventh House in 1973. The albums sold well in college towns and the ensemble toured widely. 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. He released an album credited with Mouzon and an album with the Brecker Brothers that was recorded direct-to-disc, a recording method revived for a time. He made several acoustic duet albums, two with Belgian guitarist (and former Focus member) Philip Catherine. Their album Twin House (1977), which contained the song "Miss Julie", drew favorable reviews.[citation needed]

In 1979, Coryell formed The Guitar Trio with fusion guitarist John McLaughlin and flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía. The group toured Europe and released a video recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London entitled Meeting of the Spirits. In early 1980, Coryell's drug addiction led to him being replaced by Al Di Meola.[10] Julie Coryell sang on one track of Comin' Home (1984). The couple divorced in 1986. She died in 2009.[7] Coryell recorded the album Together with (and was briefly romantically involved with)[11] Emily Remler before her death from a heroin overdose while on tour in Australia. His two sons, Julian Coryell and Murali Coryell, are also involved in the music business.

Coryell died on February 19, 2017, of heart failure in New York City, at the age of 73. He was performing at the Iridium jazz club in Manhattan that weekend.[2][12]

Critical reception

In his review of the concert at the Iridium, David Miller of All About Jazz wrote:

  • "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."[13]

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.[14]


Coryell at "Jazz im Palmengarten", Frankfurt am Main, 2009

As leader

With The Eleventh House

  • Introducing The Eleventh House with Larry Coryell (Vanguard VSD-79342, 1974)
  • Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House At Montreux (Vanguard VSD-79410, 1974 [rel. 1978])
  • Level One (Arista AL-4052, 1975)
  • Aspects (Arista AL-4077, 1976)
  • Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House January 1975 (Promising Music 441202, 1975 [rel. 2014])
  • Live at the Jazz Workshop (July 1975) (Hi Hat HHCD-014, 1975 [rel. 2015])
  • The Funky Waltz (Jazz Workshop, Boston 1973) (Golden Rain GRNCD-013, 1973 [rel. 2016])
  • Larry Coryell's 11th House: Seven Secrets (429/Savoy Jazz 16137, 2017) Coryell's final recordings

As sideman

With Chico Hamilton

With Chico O'Farrill

With The Free Spirits

With The Appletree Theatre

With Gary Burton Quartet

With Ricky Ford

With Bob Moses

  • Love Animal (Amulet AMT-011, 1967–1968 [rel. 2003])

With Steve Marcus

  • Tomorrow Never Knows (Vortex 2001, 1968)
  • Count's Rock Band (Vortex 2009, 1969)
  • The Lord's Prayer (Vortex 2013, 1969)

With The Jazz Composer's Orchestra

With Randy Brecker

  • Score (1969)

With Arnie Lawrence

  • Look Toward A Dream (1969)

With Herbie Mann

With Jim Pepper

With Wolfgang Dauner

  • Knirsch (1972)

With The 5th Dimension

With Michael Mantler

  • Movies (1977)

With Charles Mingus

With The Arista All Stars

  • Blue Montreux (Arista AB-4224, 1978)
  • Blue Montreux II (Arista AB-4245, 1979)

With Stephane Grappelli

With Chet Baker

With Simon & Bard Group

  • Musaic (1980)
  • The Enormous Radio (1983 [rel. 1984]) with Paul Wertico

With Paco de Lucia

With The Wide Hive Players

  • Wide Hive Players II: Guitar (2010)
  • Larry Coryell with the Wide Hive Players (2011)[16]

With Joey DeFrancesco

  • Wonderful, Wonderful (2012)

With Dennis Haklar

  • Lizard's Tale (2012)

With The Fusion Syndicate

  • The Fusion Syndicate (2012)

With Roman Miroshnichenko

  • Surreal (2013)

With Ron Carter

  • In Memory of Jim (2014)

With Dylan Taylor

  • One in Mind (2016)

With Jack Walrath


  • 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 featuring 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 (April 2, 1943). "Larry Coryell | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Keepnews, Peter (February 21, 2017). "Larry Coryell, Guitarist of Fusion Before It Had a Name, Dies at 73". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "Goodbye…Larry Coryell, 1943-2017". Elmore Magazine. February 21, 2017. 
  4. ^ Unterberger 1998, pg. 329
  5. ^ Durkee, Cutler. "Jazz and Rock Are An Explosive Combination: So Are Guitarist Larry Coryell and Wife Julie". Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ Howard Mandel. "Julie Coryell, jazz author, manager, muse". Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Sisario, Ben (May 28, 2009). "Julie Coryell, Jazz-Rock Historian, Dies at 61". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ Larry Coryell, Improvising: My Life in Music, Hal Leonard Corp, New York, 2007, p.89
  9. ^ "Larry Coryell SUNY New Paltz New Paltz, NY Mar 17, 1973". March 17, 1973. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Larry Coryell Power Trio". by Mike Riggs March 19, 2009 at the Blues Alley, Washington, D.C. Retrieved November 9, 2010. 
  11. ^ Larry Coryell, Improvising: My Life in Music, Hal Leonard Corp, New York, 2007, p.127
  12. ^ Cole, Tom; Hart, Otis (February 20, 2017). "Guitarist Larry Coryell, Godfather Of Fusion, Dies At 73". NPR Music. 
  13. ^ "Larry Coryell Live at the Iridium". Retrieved November 9, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Larry Coryell Live at the Kennedy Center". Retrieved November 9, 2010. 
  15. ^ Arista Novus AN3017, 1979
  16. ^ "Larry Coryell Discography at Discogs". April 2, 1943. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Larry Coryell at AllMusic
  • Interview on YouTube
  • Larry Coryell Interview - NAMM Oral History Library (2008)
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