NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Guitarist Larry Coryell, a pioneer in jazz and rock and known as the "Godfather of Fusion" died on Sunday. He was 73.
News of Coryell's death was confirmed by a post on his social media, which reported that Coryell died at his hotel room from natural causes after performing a pair of shows in at the Iridium in New York City on Saturday and Sunday.
Born in Galveston, Texas on April 2, 1943, Coryell grew up in the Seattle, Washington area where his mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 4. He switched to guitar and played rock music while in his teens. After high school, he attended The University of Washington, where he studied journalism while continuing to pursue music as an enthusiastic amateur.
In 1965, he moved to New York and took up classical guitar, taking inspiration from a diverse array of artists that included Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry, The Beatles and John Coltrane.
In 1966 he formed a psychedelic band called The Free Spirits on which he also sang vocals, played the sitar and did most of the composing. Although conceptually the band's music conformed to the psychedelic formula with titles like "Bad News Cat" and" I'm Gonna Be Free" it foreshadowed jazz-rock fusion with more complex soloing by Coryell and sax/flute player Jim Pepper.
In late 1969 he recorded his third studio album "Spaces" which many consider to have birthed the nascent jazz fusion movement. Released by Vanguard, the album featured John McLaughlin on guitar, Chick Corea on electric piano, Miroslav Vitouš on bass and Billy Cobham on drums.
Through the 1970s, Coryell led several different formulations of jazz groups, including Foreplay, and the Eleventh House, touring extensively and releasing numerous albums, mostly under his own name.
In 1979, Coryell formed The Guitar Trio with guitarists John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía. The group toured Europe and released a video recorded at Royal Albert Hall in London entitled Meeting of Spirits, but Coryell was eventually forced to drop out of the group while he battled drug addiction.
Larry still toured the world right up until his passing and had planned an extensive 2017 summer tour with a reformed The Eleventh House.
His most recent releases are Barefoot Man: Sanpaku, released on October 14, 2016, on Cleopatra Records and an upcoming Eleventh House release, entitled Seven Secrets, which will be released on the Savoy Jazz label on June 2.
He is survived by his wife, Tracey, his daughter Annie, his sons Murali and Julian, and his daughter Allegra, as well as six grandchildren.
A memorial service is being planned Friday, February 24th at the S.G.I-USA Buddhist center at 7 East 15th St. at 7 p.m. – Staff Writers