Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell dies aged 73

73-year-old guitarist Larry Coryell, who earned the nickname "Godfather Of Fusion", passed away in a New York City hotel room on Sunday.

We were saddened to learn that virtuoso guitarist Larry Coryell died Sunday night in NY at age 73.

Coryell later left NY for Florida and pursued much of his live career in Europe and Japan, where he said he found audiences more receptive to jazz fusion.

Born in Texas and raised in Seattle, Coryell arrived in NY in the 1960s and immersed himself in the jazz scene but also studied classical guitar and sitar. He was also inspired by the popular music of the day by The Beatles, The Byrds and Bob Dylan and worked diligently to meld both rock and jazz stylings into his technique. He then formed the short-lived band rock band The Free Spirits that same decade, in which he played guitar, sitar, and sang, and experimented with fusing jazz and rock.

Fusion pioneer Larry Coryell, one of the first guitarists to win an audience bringing a rock edge to the jazz guitar, has died.

His career as a significant guitar force in the era of late 60s and early 70s music continued to take flight in a time when guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and many other iconic names also blossomed.

Coryell's eclectic career included collaborations with numerous jazz greats, including Miles Davis, Gary Burton, Alphonse Mouzon and Chet Baker. In addition to Eleventh House, which he formed in 1973, he also played with the group Foreplay (not to be confused with the later Fourplay). He also composed operas based on classic literature. Billboard notes Larry's last LP, Barefoot Man: Sanpaku, came out last October with Seven Secrets from his 11th House project due June 2. A memorial service is scheduled to be held at New York City's SGI-USA Buddhist temple on Friday, according to Billboard.

  • Salvatore Jensen