Larry Coryell, the American guitar player who pioneered jazz fusion in the 1970s alongside John McLaughlin and Chick Corea, has died during his sleep on Sunday, February 19 while staying at a hotel in New York City. He was 73.
Corryell was in town for a series of concerts on Friday and Saturday at New York jazz club Iridium. "You will be missed my dear friend," wrote John McLaughlin on Twitter. Nate Chinen, Director of editorial content at New York jazz station WBGO, called Coryell "an amazing guitarist and a true jazz-rock pioneer."
He was born in Galveston, Texas on April 2nd, 1943 and studied at the University of Washington in Seattle, before moving to New York in the mid-60s. His first recording, The Dealer by Chico Hamilton Introducing Larry Coryell, was issued in 1964 on Impulse!, but it with Spaces on Vanguard in 1970 that he experienced his major breakthrough. The album, which introduced him to a wider audience, was recorded with John McLaughlin, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Miroslav Vitouš and drummer Billy Cobham and was one of the defining recordings of the jazz fusion era.
Throughout the decades, in solo or with his fusion group The Eleventh House, Coryell explored a large spectrum of music genres, including classical with albums such as Stravinsky's Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rite Of Spring) for Philips in 1983.
Like McLaughlin, he was as comfortable playing electric guitar as he was playing acoustic guitar. At the end of the 1970s, he recorded with Spanish flamenco player Paco de Lucia (who died in 2014) and McLaughlin the album Castro Marín (Phonogram).
Coryell never stopped touring and recording. He was planning a tour this summer with The Eleventh House. Coryell is survived by his wife, Tracey, daughters Annie and Allegra, sons Murali and Julian, and six grandchildren.