larry coryell

Larry Coryell is shown here with his No. 1, a 1967 Gibson Super 400 he’s had since the late ’60s. He acquired it from Gibson after his first Super 400 was stolen. “I was told that it was stolen by members of the Velvet Underground,” Coryell says.

Forty-five years after Barefoot Boy, the jazz-fusion icon releases Barefoot Man: Sanpaku, a group of seven original compositions intended to invoke the spirit and high energy of improvisation’s past.

In 1965, the jazz guitarist Larry Coryell quit journalism school and moved to New York City to establish himself as a professional musician. This might have been a dicey proposition in such a cutthroat environment—one of the world’s great music cities—but within a year Coryell was flourishing, working with some of the biggest names in jazz, like the drummer Chico Hamilton and the vibraphonist Gary Burton.

Throughout the late 1960s and the ’70s, Coryell was one of the most prominent voices in fusion. He merged rock and avant-garde tendencies with jazz improvisation—first in the band the Free Spirits and then in the Eleventh House. Coryell recorded a game-changing solo album, Barefoot Boy, in 1971 at Electric Lady Studios. The influence of the studio’s founder—Jimi Hendrix, who had died the year before—is apparent in the experimental way Coryell approached the guitar on that recording, both sonically and conceptually.

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