LARRY YOUNG

Hard Bop / Post Bop / Funk Jazz / World Fusion / Soul Jazz / Fusion / Avant-Garde Jazz • United States
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Larry Young (October 7, 1940 in Newark, New Jersey—March 30, 1978 in New York City) was an American jazz organist and occasional pianist. Young pioneered a modal approach to the Hammond B-3 (in contrast to Jimmy Smith's soul jazz style). However, he did play soul jazz also, among other styles.

Young played with various R&B bands in the 1950s before gaining jazz experience with Jimmy Forrest, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley and Tommy Turrentine. Recording as a leader for Prestige from 1960, Young made a number of soul jazz discs including Testifying, Young Blues and Groove Street. When Young went to Blue Note in 1964, his music began to show the marked influence of John Coltrane. In this period, he produced his most enduring work. He recorded many times as part of a trio with guitarist Grant Green and drummer Elvin Jones, occasionally augmented by additional players; most
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LARRY YOUNG Discography

LARRY YOUNG albums / top albums

LARRY YOUNG Testifying album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Testifying
Hard Bop 1960
LARRY YOUNG Young Blues album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Young Blues
Hard Bop 1961
LARRY YOUNG Groove Street album cover 3.00 | 3 ratings
Groove Street
Hard Bop 1962
LARRY YOUNG Into Somethin' album cover 3.77 | 8 ratings
Into Somethin'
Hard Bop 1964
LARRY YOUNG Unity album cover 4.06 | 11 ratings
Unity
Post Bop 1965
LARRY YOUNG Of Love and Peace album cover 4.07 | 4 ratings
Of Love and Peace
Avant-Garde Jazz 1966
LARRY YOUNG Contrasts album cover 4.04 | 4 ratings
Contrasts
Post Bop 1967
LARRY YOUNG Heaven on Earth album cover 2.44 | 6 ratings
Heaven on Earth
Soul Jazz 1968
LARRY YOUNG Lawrence of Newark album cover 3.83 | 8 ratings
Lawrence of Newark
World Fusion 1973
LARRY YOUNG Larry Young's Fuel album cover 3.51 | 6 ratings
Larry Young's Fuel
Funk Jazz 1975
LARRY YOUNG Spaceball album cover 4.07 | 4 ratings
Spaceball
Fusion 1976
LARRY YOUNG The Magician album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Magician
Funk Jazz 1977
LARRY YOUNG Mothership album cover 4.04 | 7 ratings
Mothership
Post Bop 1980
LARRY YOUNG Selections from Larry Young In Paris - The ORTF Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Selections from Larry Young In Paris - The ORTF Recordings
Hard Bop 2015

LARRY YOUNG EPs & splits

LARRY YOUNG live albums

LARRY YOUNG demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

LARRY YOUNG re-issues & compilations

LARRY YOUNG The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Larry Young album cover 4.05 | 3 ratings
The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Larry Young
Hard Bop 1991
LARRY YOUNG The Art Of Larry Young album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
The Art Of Larry Young
Hard Bop 1992
LARRY YOUNG The Larry Young Trio album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Larry Young Trio
Hard Bop 2015

LARRY YOUNG singles (0)

LARRY YOUNG movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

LARRY YOUNG Reviews

LARRY YOUNG Mothership

Album · 1980 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
TAKE A TRIP

"One thing about Larry Young is that he really is an organist. He knows that instrument, and furthermore, unlike some organ players in jazz, Larry never gets in your way. On the contrary, he keeps building in and around what you are doing while always listening so that his comping is always a great help." Mother Ship is a miraculous album, and due to its posthumous release has been continually underrated and underplayed. The above quote, from Grant Green (who does not play on Mother Ship) comes from this album's liner notes, which also take pains to portray Young as a Coltrane acolyte. That might be overselling the issue just a bit, but when you hear this album, you'll understand how the connection has been made.

Of course, the real problem with Mother Ship's reputation is that it will always live in the shadow of Young's Unity album, which the all-powerful consensus has determined is Larry's greatest. It's a real temptation to compare the two albums due to their common instrumentation: organ / trumpet / tenor sax / drums. Yet on Mother Ship, Lee Morgan's trumpet performance is much freer than anything else you've heard him play. Tenorist Herbert Morgan (no relation) and drummer Eddie Gladden are both compatriots of Young's from the Newark, NJ area. While far lesser-known than the legends who performed on Unity, both play up a storm on this album.

While a number of Blue Note's "LT-series" records are almost compilations of "odds and ends" from various sessions, Mother Ship is a full 41-minute album recorded in one day in 1969. The ground-breaking "Mother Ship", the bluesy riffing of "Street Scene", the 3-part long lines of "Visions", the epic (12:51) "Trip Merchant", and the sassy samba of "Love Drops" were all composed by Larry Young. If there's one extremely slight letdown to this album, it's the track sequencing. Whoever decided to follow up the boundary-pushing powerful chords and explosions of sound in "Trip Merchant" with the playful "Love Drops" was just being disrespectful. Wait until you hear Larry's and Lee's lengthy, mind-blowing solos on this track. Elsewhere Herbert Morgan may occasionally remind you of the one-and-only Wayne Shorter.

After Mother Ship, Young would leave Blue Note and go on to the Tony Williams Lifetime, the career move for which he's best-known today. Sadly, neither he nor Lee Morgan would live to see this album's release in 1980. While it's far less easy to find a copy of Mother Ship these days, I strongly urge anyone with an interest in Larry Young to pick this album up. The performances and compositions cry out for acclaim and deserve to be just as well-known as those on Unity.

LARRY YOUNG Larry Young's Fuel

Album · 1975 · Funk Jazz
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Rokukai
Larry Young continues to push the envelope on this hot piece of avantprogfunkjazz. For those of you who aren't acquainted with Young's work, he's been described as "the Coltrane of the organ" high praise indeed. Starting as a Jimmy Smith follower, he slowly began branching further into the sonic unknown, becoming a free and avant-jazz pioneer. His albums in the mid sixties are difficult, rewarding, challenging listens that established the Hammond B-3 as a true force in the avant game. He further cemented his legacy on Bitches Brew and in Lifetime, a trio with John McLaughlin and Tony Williams.

Fuel, on the other hand, is not difficult to listen to. At least for me. Larry never ran with the in-crowd, and in the '70's he began hanging with fringe musicians, young hungry artists willing to challenge the boundaries of sonic enjoyment. Larry was turned on and influenced by the psychedelic and funk/soul/r&b sounds of the day, and incorporates them into his avant-funk-jazz hybrid.

It's definitely not the most polished funkjazz I've heard, but man does Larry sound progressive in spots. On "I Ching (Book of Changes)" and "New York Electric Street Music" you'd swear Rick Wakeman was playing. Mini Moog, Clavinet, B-3, Piano--Young plays it all. (Keep and ear out for Larry Coryell, who makes a "special appearance")

The appeal of the album lies with Young's ability to stay on the fringes of popular jazz. He's definitely less subdued among his organ contemporaries, like Don Patterson, Jack McDuff, John Patton, Reuben Wilson, Jimmy Smith et al, and the funk here is true. Young refuses to play anything straight, and for me that equals a refreshing and satisfying album. I've been playing this record at parties for years and I always get the "What's that Great Music?" line.

4+ on my scale.

LARRY YOUNG Lawrence of Newark

Album · 1973 · World Fusion
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Sean Trane
Often considered as Larry Young’s most definitive work of the 70’s, Lawrence Of NewArabiark is another classic JR/F album of the early-70’s. Recently signed to the small perception label, Young amagalmated a bunch of NY-scene musos, of which the better-known (by far) is James Blood Ulmer on guitar. The present album is quite a departure of his previous albums that I’ve heard

As the liner notes, most people have a hard time equating the organ, and more so the Hammond organ as a pure jazz instrument, and while people like Jimmy Smith did a lot for it, most if the organ sounds in jazz that I’m aware of are in jazz –rock or in 60’s British RnB. Of course exceptions like Larry Young confirms this trend, the very case of this organist is also very unusual because of the extraordinary sounds he extracts from his B3. For those familiar with Tony Williams’ Lifetime or McL’s Devotion, you have already got a good idea of Young’s possibilities.

But with the present LoN, you’ve got another thing coming, because the organ is right up front (sometimes mixed a bit loud to my tastes), while the Latin percussions add much flavour. The spacey Sunshine Fly away might sound a bit as iif it was originally intended for a Lifetime album, the Khalid Of Space opens super-funkily, before veering African or Saharan in a long improv-filled groove, where Diedre Johnson’s cello plays an important role. The very calm (at first) flipside-opening Saudia and the anecdotic but much louder Alive give the album a bit of variety, but the jumpy Quietness track is the last highlight of the album, with some solo brief interventions somewhat reminiscent of Miles’ Bitches Brew trumpet.

If you’re familiar with the awesome Caravanserai of Santana, no doubt you’ll hear much of that influence in the present, not least in the Arabian or Saharan artwork picture, indicative of the camel caravan of Santana’s album. Soooooo, Larry Young influenced by Gregg Rollie?? Sounds a bit unlikely (Young’s much longer presence in the circuit would indicate the opposite), but it’s also a bit present in the compositions.

One of the slight negative remarks I might have against LoN is the flipside’s brevity, a mere 16 minutes as opposed to the 21 minutes of the A-side: I might have appreciated another ”tune”. Yes, the Hammond can be a jazz instrument, but the present album makes it somewhat a psychedelic stretch to make it a standard jazz instrument, and it’s probably all the better anyway. So, LoN could be filled next to Devotion, Caravanserai and Emergency… quite a prestigious neighbourhood, really.

LARRY YOUNG Lawrence of Newark

Album · 1973 · World Fusion
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js
Even by Larry Young standards this is a strange album, which is to say this is a very very strange album, but also a very good one. There seems to be two different styles present on this album. Half of the songs are in a mystical psychedelic African fusion style, and the other half seem to be Young's unique take on minimalism, with the different instruments in his large ensemble playing repeating riffs in forceful, and sometimes almost chaotic fashion. The unifying factor throughout this album is a very low-fi production and purposefully sloppy mixing that has instruments at strangely mismatched volumes. Always one to chart his own course, Larry seems to be trying to strip any gloss or sheen off his music by not allowing any sort of post production work. On a couple of tunes you can actually hear the tape machine start up mid-jam while the band is already playing. Trying to describe this music is a bit tough, but let's start with a mix consisting of a low-fi version of Santana's Caravanserai, some of Sun Ra's African grooves, Terry Riley's rock-minimalism experiments with John Cale, Miles' Bitches Brew with it's constantly noodling instruments bubbling up from the background and possibly Keith Emerson's distorted B3 extended psychedelic jams with the Nice. All throughout this album Larry's Hammond B3 is run through a variety of reverbs and distortion devices, and he constantly manipulates the tone bars creating shifting psychedelic sounds that can instantly rush from a shimmering whisper to a full on roar.

This album isn't for everybody, I think the lack of production values would be a big turn off for many, but for me the rough sound is part of this album's appeal. Larry's solos on here are powerful and creative as he proves he ranks high with the very best jazz fusion Hammond B3 artists. His massive ensemble is equally talented as the percussionists play hypnotic poly-rhythms and the saxophonists create counterpoints to Larry's bold melodies.

LARRY YOUNG Spaceball

Album · 1976 · Fusion
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js
Larry Young's final album is a wonderfully quirky strange album, the kind that only Larry can put out. Funky jazz, progressive rock flavored fusion, lounge exotica, bizarre disco and other types of instrumental music all come together on this strangely naive album that was out of step with the sophisticated and slick world of jazz fusion in 1976. Larry's synthesizer tones leap out of the mix and sound like those novelty synth records from the late 60s, it is as if he has just discovered the synthesizer ten years after the fact. Some bands and artists that might come to mind as you listen to this rare gem include Keith Emerson, Sun Ra, Return to Forever, Nina Rota, Tony Williams Lifetime, Les Baxter, Frank Zappa and especially Parlaiment/Funkadelic, particularly their keyboardist, Bernie Worell.

My favorite cuts on this album are the ones in which Young plays in an instrumental style that sits just between 70s fusion and 60s exotic synthesizer records. His layered keyboards and synthesizers have that pure analog sound that was becoming harder to find in the late 70s. On the other hand, the tunes that are less successful are the disco leaning funky jazz tunes. These cuts may have been his attempt at commercialism, but after he added all his weird synth lines, they ended up sounding pretty bizarre, and a little too 'creative' for most dance floors.

Along with Young, another big star on this album is guitarist Ray Gomez, one of the great overlooked fusion guitarists of the late 70s and beyond. He plays a couple blazing solos as well as some rapid syncopated rhythms.

I don't think this album is for everyone, a lot of people would probably be turned off by the cheeezy exotica elements, but personally I think this kind of outside the loop fusion is far more interesting than a lot of the slick albums that Young's peers were putting out during this time. This album isn't quite weird enough to belong in one of those incredibly bizarre music compilations, but it is close.

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