Guitarist Larry Coryell, Godfather Of Fusion, Dies At 73
February 20, 20175:34 PM ET
Guitarist Larry Coryell recorded or appeared on more than 100 albums during a jazz career that spanned more than 50 years.
Courtesy of 429 Records
Larry Coryell, the jazz guitarist known as the "Godfather of Fusion," died Sunday night at a hotel in New York City, according to his publicist. He was 73.
Coryell was still performing more than 50 years after his first recordings. He played at New York jazz club Iridium on Friday and Saturday night, and had plans for a summer tour with his fusion group The Eleventh House.
Coryell's recordings in the late 1960s, first with his band the Free Spirits, then with the Gary Burton Quartet and finally as a bandleader, predicted the rise of jazz-rock fusion and contributed to the sonic evolution the genre. It's no wonder that snippets of his work were sampled by renowned producers, including J Dilla and DJ Shadow.
Hear "Love is Here to Stay" from Larry Coryell's 2006 Kennedy Center Performance
On the NPR program Billy Taylor's Jazz, Dr. Taylor described Coryell as such: "[Larry] plays all the styles, Latin, jazz-rock, straight ahead jazz, European classical music. You name it, he's a master of it."
In 1970, after two records under his own name, Coryell recorded the groundbreaking fusion album Spaces. The project featured fellow guitarist John McLaughlin, pianist Chick Corea on keyboards, bassist Miroslav Vitouš on bass and drummer Billy Cobham.
Listen To Larry Coryell's 'Spaces'
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The guitarist's '70s output totaled more than 20 albums as either a leader or co-leader. Coryell briefly worked with McLaughlin in The Guitar Trio in 1979, but was replaced after a year by Al Di Meola due a drug addiction.
Despite a decline in critical attention, Coryell remained remarkably productive through the 1980s and beyond. He performed on more than 100 albums, and was due to release an Eleventh House record in June of this year.
Coryell leaves behind his wife, Tracey, daughters Annie and Allegra, sons Murali and Julian, and six grandchildren.
This is a developing story: We'll give updates on the situation as we learn more.