Larry Coryell, a dynamic, adept guitarist and composer whose overdriven sound and rock-tinged riffs opened the door in the mid-’60s to a new jazz idiom, and whose early solo albums and work with the Eleventh House helped define jazz-rock fusion, died unexpectedly in his sleep of natural causes on Sunday, Feb. 19 in New York City. He was 73. Coryell had performed at the Iridium in New York on Friday and Saturday, and was awaiting the release of his Eleventh House’s new album, Seven Secrets, on June 2. A U.S. tour supporting the record was to follow.
Although never as popular as ’70s fusion contemporaries John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola, Coryell’s influence is undeniable, with his work on Chico Hamilton’s 1966 release The Dealer a watershed moment—ushering in an era where rock, and not bop, would be the source of inspiration for legion jazz guitarists.