It’s Larry Young’s Birthday

Rifftides does not make it a practice to observe birthdays of jazz artists. That could be a full-time job. Once in a while we make an exception. This is one. Larry Young was born on October 7, 1940. He took the organ beyond Jimmy Smith’s earthy approach and Don Patterson’s piano-style into the use of modes. Young sometimes employed the instrument’s capacity for overtones to produce otherworldly effects. With Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles Davis on Bitches Brew and Jimi Hendrix on Nine to the Universe, Young was an experimenter with fusion. In this piece from Unity, an album that sells well 46 years after it was made, Young is experimental only in negotiating the challenging chords of Woody Shaw’s “The Moontrane.” Shaw is on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone, Elvin Jones on drums.

Larry Young died on March 3, 1978 of untreated pneumonia. I wish that this remarkable musician had taken better care of himself.

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  1. says

    Thanks for recognizing Larry Young’s birthday. I have been finding that many jazz writers, bloggers, and critics completely leave out Hammond B3 players when talking about great jazz musicians. The three most often played jazz CDs I own are “Street of Dreams”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, and “Talkin’ About”- all with Larry Young on B3 and Grant Green on Guitar. These two guys were made for each other.

  2. Madeleine, Psychotherapist, Phone Councellor says

    This is the first time I came across you blog (I have a hunch it shan’t be the last!).

    I, too, am glad you honoured Larry Young’s Birthday. At the end of a long, buzy Sunday, it inspires me to dig deep into my jazz collection — and chill!