Another staggering loss to the music world over the weekend. It was just learned today that guitar virtuoso/poet/innovator Larry Coryell passed away Sunday. Causes, as yet not known.
But still, no matter what – Larry Coryell is no longer with us. His amazing and larger-than-life influence can never be underestimated.
It’s interesting that much of the conversation about the work and the influences of Larry Coryell have been centered about the genre of Jazz. Like John Mclaughlin (his friend and colleague), Coryell had a lot to do with the growth and furthering of Progressive Rock, as well as Fusion Jazz, make no mistake about it. But listening to this Village Gate gig from 1975 I am hearing direct influences on some of the prominent guitarists of the Progrock era; notably Genesis and PFM. It was always said that Progrock took its cue from a number of places, Jazz certainly was one of them.
But that’s my take on things – all I know is, Larry Coryell was a huge influence and part of a great movement that took music to its next logical step, and for that alone the music world has owed a debt.
The thing that really bothers me is that we’re losing so many influential figures in Music lately. Who is the next Larry Coryell? Maybe not the next, since there will always be only one – but who is out there carrying the torch and taking it to the next destination? Perhaps those who are more plugged into the current state of music know better than I do – if anything, Larry Coryell and those who came along with him, shed light on the ever-evolving nature of Modern Music; how it doesn’t sit in one place, basking on 40 year old laurels. How it is constantly reaching and refining and sharing and riffing and interpreting, creating the continuum that is the soul of the notes and phrases.
We were fortunate to have Larry Coryell in our midst – that we listened and learned and benefited from his example – that our lives became richer as the result.
Rest In Peace.