Musician magazine named him to its list of 100 greatest guitarists alive today, and after releasing more than 60 albums as a leader and playing on dozens more as a sideman in the last 40 years, Larry Coryell's definitely earned that honor. Exploring the sound of the six- string in an extraordinary number of settings, he's done straight-ahead jazz, classical-influenced solo guitar, funk- rock fusion, light pop and guitar duos and trios with some of the top names in jazz.
Born April 2, 1943 in Galveston, Texas, Coryell grew up in Richland, Wash., and got his musical start in the Seattle rock and pop scene. He also studied classical guitar, and developed his jazz chops after moving to New York City in 1965. He played with groups led by Chico Hamilton and Gary Burton before starting his own bands. In 1973, he formed The 11th House with Randy Brecker, Mike Mandel, Danny Trifan and Alphonse Mouzon, and their debut, Introducing The 11th House, was one of the pioneer jazz-rock fusion albums.
In a 1997 interview, Coryell told journalist/musician Mike Starling about the atmosphere that led jazz players to experiment with rock music: Today, everybody loves straight-ahead jazz, but during that time, straight- ahead jazz was a little flat compared to all the exciting things that were going on in rock and pop music, he said. I mean, barriers were being broken down right and left, icons were being smashed