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LARRY YOUNG

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Larry Young biography
Although he is often overlooked and forgotten, Larry Young is one of the most talented and creative jazz fusion keyboardists of all time. His contributions to jazz-rock and progressive rock place him in an ultra elite group that includes Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Jon Lord, Joe Zawinul, Brian Auger and Keith Emerson.

Many feel that the creation of jazz-rock was the result of hard bop combining with psychedelic rock, if that is the case, Young is one of the very few musicians who worked in all three fields. His reputation in hard bop is legendary, as he is considered a top innovator and leader who worked with many of the greats in the field including Grant Green, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw and Sam Rivers. In the world of psychedelic rock, Young worked with two of the greatest, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. When jazz rock morphed into existence, Larry was on the front lines again playing with greats like Miles Davis, Tony Williams and Jon McLaughlin.

Larry Young's recording career started in 1960 when he was just 19. His first bluesy hard bop recordings show a huge Jimmie Smith influence, but over the years Young's restless creativity pushed him more towards an abstract modal style influenced by John Coltrane. In the late 60s his career as a B3 jazzist for the Blue Note label finally came to an end and Larry became interested in the new sounds of progressive psychedelic jazz fusion.

During the late 60s and early 70s Young was everywhere, recording for all the top musicians in the new jazz-rock genre, yet strangely enough you hardly ever hear his name mentioned at all. Part of the reason for this could be his strange unorthodox approach to the B3 in which he purposefully places himself in the background shifting the sound of the Hammond by pulling out and pushing in the drawbars to create rich tone colors and psychedelic effects. For a good example of this style listen to McLaughlin's Devotion or Santana-McLaughlin's Love Devotion and Surrender. Although Larry does not appear on Santana's Caravanserai, his influence can be heard in Greg Rolie and Richard Kermode's attempts to imitate him.

In the mid-70s Larry returned to making his own albums, but what strange albums they are. 'Lawrence of Newark' is excellent abstract African jazz with a big Coltrane influence, but the recording seems to be rough and crude on purpose. His last two albums sound more like naïve experimental music from the late 60s than anything that was happen...
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UnityUnity
Blue Note (Universal) 2014
Vinyl$15.52
$8.26 (used)
UnityUnity
Remastered
Blue Note Records 1999
Audio CD$3.68
$3.42 (used)
ContrastsContrasts
Remastered · Import
Ais 2014
Audio CD$16.82
$16.89 (used)
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LARRY YOUNG discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LARRY YOUNG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Testifying
1960
0.00 | 0 ratings
Young Blues
1960
0.00 | 0 ratings
Groove Street
1962
3.50 | 2 ratings
Into Somethin'
1964
3.68 | 8 ratings
Unity
1965
3.00 | 2 ratings
Of Love And Peace
1966
4.00 | 1 ratings
Contrasts
1967
2.00 | 1 ratings
Heaven on Earth
1968
4.00 | 3 ratings
Mother Ship
1969
3.70 | 7 ratings
Lawrence of Newark
1973
3.05 | 2 ratings
Fuel
1975
4.00 | 3 ratings
Spaceball
1976

LARRY YOUNG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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3.00 | 2 ratings
The Art of Larry Young
1992

LARRY YOUNG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

LARRY YOUNG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lawrence of Newark by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.70 | 7 ratings

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Lawrence of Newark
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars First Larry's not-Blue Note album. Fantastic work!

Mixing electric organ passages with African rhythmic and (what is possibly even more important) with African psychedelic mysticism, this album sounds raw and almost religious. In sense of voodoo, not your regular church. Sun Ra spirit and under-the-skin funk both are ingredients of this mix as well. Just five compositions - but what the energy is radiating!

Minimalistic and complex cacophony of sounds build great compositions, full of craziness and their own inside beauty. James Blood Ulmer on guitars and (possibly) Pharoah Sanders on sax add their ritual energy to that mix. Very strange and beautiful in its craziness music. You will like it or will hate it - I am in a former group.

The album was obscure till the beginning of new Millennium , when he was re-released on CD (by Castle and Sanctuary).

Not less than 4+!

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 Of Love And Peace by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1966
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Of Love And Peace
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I am not very familiar with Larry Young's works, but from his earlier albums I heard, this one caught me (possibly because there is not post-bop, but more avant-jazz recorded).

Brass section is often in the front of all sound, and I like their chaotic and free interplays. Larry's electric piano is often on the second plan, but always you can recognize it, and its sound gave some modernity for that music ( don't forget, it's 1966!).

Drummers are very classically jazzy, but competent. In whole, Album's sound is surprisingly fresh for mid 60-s, not just your usual post-bop. Piano passages are possibly very first signs of Hancock fusion era coming. Transitional album from last days of pre-fusion time, and there is some feeling under the music's skin that fusion is coming.

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 Mother Ship by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Mother Ship
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matthew T
Prog Reviewer

4 stars He only made it to 37 ( Untreated Pneumonia)but he left his mark and will always be remembered as one of the greatest if not the greatest Jazz organ player ever. Larry did not ride a groove although he sure knew how to as shown by his earlier albums prior to becoming a Blue Note man. He took the organ to new heights and showed just what the instrument could do but always there was something there and in this album the feeling throughout is urgency and this motors along pretty much the whole time with that vibe.

Do not fear the time is 1969 and Alfred Lion is no longer doing his thing but hey, Francis Wolff is producing proceedings and can't you tell by the cover with another great photo of his..Larry Young shows what a master he has become and with Lee Morgan on Trumpet, Herbert Morgan ( No Relation) on Tenor Saxophone and Eddie Gladden on Drums things are looking promising. I could go on about Lee but Eddie Gladden was a great drummer and he hit the kit hard at times and you sure heard his beat. Later in his career he backed Dexter Gordon and other lumanaries in Jazz..No slouch! The interesting one for me is Herbert Morgan, all I know is he comes from Newark as Larry and Eddie do as well but one thing for sure is he has a wonderful tone on the sax, bold and clear and his solos are just as good as any other top Jazz musician around the traps as evidenced with this recording.He also appears on three other of Larry's recordings with Blue Note

We get under way with the title track Mother Ship and both horn players do the intro and Herbert Morgan takes the first solo with Lee to follow and a quick one from Larry but what is driving this album along is Eddie Gladden on drums at times he is still holding rythmn and yet frenzied at times could be best with his approach. He even give us a solo towards the end of the tune and shows what a master drummer he must be when he had the sense to keep it short. As there is no Bass player Larry is doing rythmn work as in the next composition to follow, Track 2 Street Scene where lee and Herbert swap with the solo order and Eddie is behind it all as well. The absolute standout on this album is track 4 Trip Merchant running at just under thirteen minutes is a little Jazz masterpiece and one groover Larry Young style and he goes all out with one delight of a solo and Eddie Gladden just seems to be pushing the other three musicians along. Lee Morgans turn is what you expect from someone of his class on trumpet and is another great solo. Herbert Morgan holds his own following along. The album finishes off with a straight Jazz composition and is called Love Drops and after the urgency throughout the album is quite a nice finisher and some where in there I get a slight kind of Sunny Samba feel to the composition. I have not mentioned the third track Visions but you will not be disappointed.

Mother Ship I consider to be up there with Larry Young's other great Blue Note recording Unity. One thing it is not Rock but then again it is driving and frenzied at times Jazz but no more out there than any of the famous Miles Davis Quintet albums but with Larry's twist on things and three great musicians with two of them still trying to make a name for themselves in Jazz .This album has to be played for the 2nd time in a row today.

Athough recorded in 1969 Larrys last album with Blue Note was not released till 1980. Sat in the can a long time.

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 Into Somethin' by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1964
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Into Somethin'
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matthew T
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was Larry's 2nd album with Blue Note records and his first under his name. Released in 1964 and produced by Alfred Lion and engineered by Rudy Van Gelder. Sidemen are Sam Rivers on tenor sax,Grant Green on guitar and Elvin Jones on drums.

Larry Young was definately not a Jimmy Smith and that is immediately apparent when listening to his technique on the organ.Where as Jimmy Smith, John Patton,Freddie Roach and Baby Face Willette on the Blue Note Label were players more inclined to play groove Larry Young was more introspective and used the organ more as a vehcile for solos as inclined to be used by a pianist but still could maintain rythmn as there is no bass used.

The first track Tyrone is a Larry composition as all the other tracks are also composed by Larry except track 2 Plaza De Toros which was a Grant Green number. The tune rolls along in a relaxed groove and Larry is first up with the solo followed by Grant on guitar and Sam Rivers on Sax .

Plaza de Toros,Grant Green comes in first,followed by Sam on sax and then Larry.Grant Green has written the piece in a spanish style and of course I love the track. Sam rivers solo is great,how he gets that spanish feel is beautiful on his tenor.

On Ritha the last track there is no Sam he was ommitted as Larry was more after a trio for this tune. A quiet relaxed piece as is the whole album. This is not out there but more inclined to be a straight up Jazz album but one can here that things were changing and Hard Bop was starting to tire with the fans and muscians at this time and Jazz was changing again and heading towards the Avante Garde and a more free approach which ia apparent in Larry's later albums to come.

Progressive no, Great Jazz Yes.

4 Stars great album with a typical great Blue Note production

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 Unity by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.68 | 8 ratings

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Unity
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 「It has left as a musician and I want to have grown. And, it was influenced from John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor in various musicians. 」Music might not only be absorbed but also he is included in the real intention of his remark and the succession of a concept of the music and a mental part is included. The part of "Mode" and "Free" might be reflected enough for this album. And, posture that understood the music character that he had to succeed to for playing the organ enough and expressed it positively will have been one position that he had built for modern Jazz.

He departed this world young 37-year-old on March 30, 1978. It is said that the bizarre behavior stands out or it was not able to perform satisfactorily in the fall of life. However, the work left especially on business with Blue Note in the history of his music was a very high-quality work. The shape of the music that he had pursued in the flow of the mode jazz might have made a clear distinction. After Jimmy Smith reflects the shape of the organ in Jazz, it is said that there was time when the difficulty was felt in the approach of a variety of keyboard players to the position. It is not an exaggeration to say that the element that always caught the age from the mode and the idea that bases Free by Larry Young and built a new concept might have built the revolution and the style with an original methodology however.

Time when this album had been recorded was time when he had belonged to the religion. And, he was using time believer's name well when entering the 70's. It is learnt to say that he understands things at this time and it has the broad outlook through music. There is an opinion made that the part of Soul is insufficient for his performance for his music character, too. However, it is likely to have worked on music with the element with the artistry refined from the taste of Soul further for his music.

「I tried to become a genuine musician. And, it was able to be discovered that a lot of other matters that had to be done existed. I thought that I talked about people through music. 」The great achievement that a wonderful performance with LifeTime with Tony Williams and a reformative idea and oneself showed the talent as the the establishment of Jazz in various fields might be a point that should make a special mention. And, it will be sure to be one of the albums that this album is always loved by the fan. This album was recorded in New York on November 10, 1965.

"Zoltan" The march of the suite that Zoltan of the composer in Hungary composed to the introduction part is used. Sax of Joe Henderson that brings element of Free in to rhythm of Latin fast as theme centering on form of AABA. And, it performs and Ad-Rib of Woody Shaw that plays a perfect unison. All of musicians' performances might be powerful. The performance of Larry Young that has succeeded to the spirit of Coltrane might be also indeed splendid.

"Monk's Dream" is a tune of Thelonious Monk with the form of AABA. The tune progresses around the theme of a very glossy organ. The performance of Duo by Elvin Jones that plays Larry Young to make good use of the foot pedal with a bold rhythm might exactly have power. Solo of Elvin Jones to answer the part at the same time as reflecting the flow of the mode that Larry Young thinks about in the melody and Ad-Rib of the tune also continues the quality of the tune.

"If" is a tune written by Joe Henderson. Flow of nature that shifts from Solo to Solo of trumpet to which Sax in addition to theme with complex melody explodes. And, it knows the mode jazz and the melody of the organ carried out with which fast and slow overflows. Ensemble is splendidly done.

"The Moontrane" is a tune written by Woody Shaw. It indeed has the theme to feel the element of new the establishment of the mode jazz to be enough. It shifts from the trumpet to Sax and it ties to the organ Solo. Cymbals legato of smart Elvin Jones continues the atmosphere of the tune. And, it flows. move from Solo of the organ to drum SoloShift to theme. This flow indeed draws the flow of the mode jazz.

"Softly As A Morning Sunrise" is one of the tunes that represent the tune of standard jazz. The flow of the theme and Solo caught from a music character at that time at the time of drew the flow of the mode jazz might be suitable as the flow of the album. Trumpet from Sax. And, the listener will feel the tasty flavor if it listens to the shift of Solo of the organ. The composition of the tune that continues the dash feeling to the last minute is a masterpiece.

It is said that "Beyond All Limits" that decorates the end of the album is a tune that Woody Shaw wrote at 18-year-old time. Solo of Sax to continue theme that progresses rapidly and the element. And, Solo that the trumpet that sweetens the pie to own tune is fast. And, rhythmically of the drum that often takes the element of Latin perfect. The performance with an exactly powerful performance of Larry Young is developed.

An always popular in work that Larry Young left Blue Note album is this "Unity". The fact from which this album was caught as new the establishment by the listener in the work of jazz at that time might be a part that becomes one shape as a music character at that time at the time of advocated it by Larry Young, exists, and is proportional to the flow.

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 Spaceball by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Spaceball
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I do not know a musician reformative like this so much in the organist of limited Jazz. The fact that always calls the reformation in music without being captured to the item of Jazz by him is guessed that there are people who evaluate it high also in the world. The nickname that is called, Larry is "John Coltrane that plays the organ" for Japan where I live has infiltrated. However, I do not know whether the nickname passes in the world. It might be difficult to find the fact to which he performs by the style of his music like Coltrane according to the album. He might not neglect [**ne] [wo] and the posture that keeps always being reformed be common with Coltrane. Therefore, puzzled is also true to his reformation and creation in the fan the admission of possession Larry of the fact. However, it might have been his belief that he always continued a reformative performance for the performance. The music that he had performed in the 1960's always had the groove. It might have been natural for him to perform it with "Lifetime" and other musicians.

This album is an album announced before two years his deaths and the last album of fact [kare]. His music character is consistently unfolded as for this album including very funky "Moonwalk" in the age. He arrived at this music character by his posture. There might be some reformative parts if it sees the flow of his music.

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 Heaven on Earth by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1968
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Heaven on Earth
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

— First review of this album —
2 stars After the brilliant Contrasts album on which Larry Young sounded like he was just about to step into his destiny as a leader in the new jazz fusion style, Larry throws us a curve ball with the inconsistent and sometimes backward looking Heaven on Earth. This isn't a terrible album, but I wouldn't recommend it to people seeking a first look at Larry's incredible B3 playing. Fortunately though, there is enough good on here to be worthwhile to hardcore Young fans like myself.

Larry is known for putting out albums that are stylistically all over the map, in that respect this album takes the cake. The album opener is Infant, a 'fun' soul-jazz number that isn't bad, but Larry had moved past this style years ago. Is this a blatant attempt to score a commercial hit? I love B3 based soul-jazz, but at this point in his career Young is capable of so much more. His playing on this one sounds dumbed down and uninspired.

The next two numbers are much better, in fact Hereafter belongs in the Larry Young hall of fame. This cut is a great mix of avant-African subtle polyrhythmic grooves with laid back spacey psychedelic Hammond sounds and a great guitar solo from George Benson. Although George is best know for his commercial work, when put to the test he can play modern jazz as well as, if not better than any jazz guitarist out there.

Side two opens with Heaven on Earth, another soul-jazz number, only this time Larry and his crew sound a lot more modern, inspired and aggressive. This cut shows Young playing in that forceful semi- minimalist style that he will explore further on Lawrence of Newark, plus there is a series of majestic chord build ups in the middle section that would make any caped prog-rock keyboard player jealous.

Next up Young switches styles again with a slightly off-kilter version of the lounge-jazz classic Call Me. This one may sound like easy listening to many, but Benson and Young throw in enough slightly avant twists to keep it interesting. The album closer is the classic jazz ballad My Funny Valentine, sung by Larry's wife Althea. Once again Young and Benson's accompaniments are unique and inventive, but overall the band plays this one pretty straight. Was this one more shot at a commercial hit?

I like this album, but I would not recommend it to anyone but already committed fans of Larry Young's totally unique musical vision and playing.

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 Lawrence of Newark by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.70 | 7 ratings

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Lawrence of Newark
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Son of Ra catches some rays from the deck of the new Ark

For those of you who like your Hammond organ pulped through a blender prior to its fondant strains navigating your ear canals, welcome to heaven. The spirit of Sun Ra permeates this record like a sweet smelling smog, but rest assured Young, in contrast to his mentor, knew it was only astronomers that get paid to stare into space. So no stupefied hippy cosmic world-view here thank you very much. There are moments on Lawrence of Newark when Young appears to unwittingly ape the tacky strains of Joe Meek's Telstar', when his organ is mutated and cajoled into a rather twee psychedelic stylophone on steroids. Together with what sounds like the entire staff of Perception Records plus their immediate families and pets contributing percussion, this album is one heady groove led trip from start to finish. It does sound older than the '1973' indicated on the cover, as the sort of sonic landscape this inhabits would appear to be firmly rooted in the trippy late 60's. There is some jaw-dropping playing from Young and his collaborators here, and you can certainly trace in his phrasing, sounds and note choices the source that would inspire the likes of Rod Argent, Keith Emerson, Dave Greenslade et al to assimilate these ideas into a more accessible form in the prog domain.

Cluster Headaches - don't reach for the medicine cabinet just yet

One of the many hurdles to overcome when listening to this challenging music (apart from it being just really weird sh*t) is Young's frequent use of tonal clusters. Go to a piano and play C - C# and D as a chord. Yuch! it sounds like one of Henry Cowell's farts released from a jam jar after 40 years. It may surprise you that this device has been around as early as Jelly Roll Morton's Tiger Rag and Scott Joplin's Wall Street Rag. (Blimey Guvnor!) Later developments in keyboard jazz by Thelonius Monk, Horace Silver, Cecil Taylor and Dave Brubeck amongst others, would further exploit these dissonances during their improvisations and eventually paved the way for the free-form jazz* that was to follow. (*a.k.a Cowell's Gastric Disorder) On an instrument with a relatively short sustain i.e. the piano, the effect is that of a brief jarring frisson. When transposed to a Hammond Organ however, with controllable sustain and filtered through a multitude of freaky outboard effect gizmos, the experience cannot be dissimilar to being witness at the aural autopsy of a (still breathing) cat.

Guitarist James 'Blood' Ulmer will be a name familiar to many but I confess that his playing has always left me cold, be it on his own solo work Are You Glad to be in America? or that contributed to the 'harmolodics' era output of Ornette Coleman. His ragged and spiky guitar here comes across as mainly textural and the wah-wah saturated effects that much of his playing is buried under, merely serves to date the recording horribly.

There is a distant echo of America by the Nice on the underlying groove that percolates beneath Sunshine Fly Away but the melodic vocabulary over the top is firmly that of an eastern inflected modal bop flavour. This features a beautiful and plaintive strand of saxophone that snakes and slithers its way in and out of the febrile and hypnotic pulsing accompaniment. Abdul Shahid and Howard T King are listed on drumkit on the sleeve, and judging by the welter of percussive salvoes that assail us on just this track alone, it is not inconceivable that both gentlemen may have manned the traps here and elsewhere?

The Khalid of Space Part Two references one Khalid Yasin, the politicised version of Young's own name (as was de rigeur for those African Americans citing 'expanded consciousness' and feckless enough to fall for the racist bile of Louis Farrakhan) . The sorts of reference points I hear during this could include On the Corner by Miles Davis, a smidgen of 'mystical phase' Graham Bond, 'spacey' Krautrock in general, Sun Ra and some of Arthur Brown's excitable hallucinatory moments. If you listen closely to this number you can hear what at first, sounds like the sort of bubbling sequencer effect that the dance fraternity would have us believe they patented. Not so, as it is the cello of Diedre Johnson that produces this wonderful and enervating phenomenon. Pity you can't sue for smugness aforethought.

Organ lovers should be frogmarched in front of a stereo and forced to hear Saudia whereupon they will break down into inconsolable sobbing at just how much of this track has been plagiarised by the prog keyboard giants. (Dave Greenslade in particular must be squirming in his front row seat at the Colosseum, bought with a forged ticket) The playing, texture and compositional heights this little critter reaches are sublime. Nuff said.

No experimental fusion album would be complete without a little 'scooby snack' clocking in at under two minutes and obviously culled from a monster jam that involved sleeping bags and a shift roster. Alive displays a healthy resilience in its truncated form and proves that judicial editing can reap huge dividends. You don't have to eat ALL the jaffa cakes in the box to prove you like them.

Hello Your Quietness - Yet another example during the intro of a manual sequencer (sic) ostinato on this record that steals a march on dance music yet some 20 years hence. Given the brazen eschewal of traditional jazz rhythms that preceded it, this develops rather incongruously into a familiar Latin hued groove. A tad noodley in places yes, but in a genre where Noodle is God, Hello Your Quietness is at the very least agnostic. Lovely breathy sax appears to placate some agitated and neurotic trumpet on this one, with the dialogue being very, very human and heart warming. Thinking man's cacophony.

Lawrence of Newark is not for those of feint heart or head, as it can be both forbidding (in its dissonances and lack of traditional structure) and frustrating (in its liability to disintegrate at any moment and production flaws) but is well worth some of your time if you are of an adventurous spirit and willing to cast aside some of your habitual perceptions of what constitutes 'form'

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 Unity by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.68 | 8 ratings

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Unity
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Bashin....the predictable Jimmy Smith

Prior to this I believed that Jimmy Smith had completely monopolised the jazz organ domain during his lifetime but not so, as this excellent album can testify. Although it certainly inhabits a harsher and less accessible landscape than that explored by Smith, it will reward your time by being perhaps one of the less daunting routes to enter the forbidding world of hard/post bop. First of all please don't expect this to sound conventionally proggy in the least as you are listening to a 'straight no (sound)chaser' jazz album y'all?.

Visitors to this site will be familiar with the name Larry Young from the subsequent stints he did with Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles Davis (Bitches Brew) Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin and various other very badly dressed men in the burgeoning fusion movement of the early 70's.

At this point in his career after signing to the famous Blue Note label, there was a palpable modal influence to much of Young's playing via the avowed inspiration from developments in this area by John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Considering he was only 25 at the time, Young certainly betrays no sign of being fazed by his illustrious and considerably more experienced sidemen of Woody Shaw (trumpet) Joe Henderson (saxophone) and Elvin Jones (drums)

Many of you may ask on first acquaintance with this album, and with good reason, Who plays the bass on this dude? Please be aware that Mr Young provides all the slinky bass lines heard on Unity using his foot pedals on the organ. Think about this for a moment, is that independence of four limbs OR WHAT? Jimmy Smith also dispensed with a dedicated bass player in identical fashion, but I suspect that this was more to avoid the session fees involved. (Jimmy was a notoriously grumpy git by all anecdotal accounts).

The good news is that very little here sounds remotely like the sort of jazz standards filler that Mr Smith used to clutter most of his trio records with. (I'm always exasperated by those jazzers who choose any old scrapyard wreck with which to show off their advanced driving skills)

Zoltan - presumably Shaw drew his inspiration from the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly (a contemporary and drinking buddy/golf partner of Bartok?) This starts with Jones tongue in cheek (but still swinging) military march snare before heading off into a main theme that somehow transcends the inherent stiffness of any 2/4 pulse in a quite delightful way. Very effective and simple symmetry employed by ending the tune with a reprise of Jones parade ground snare.

Monk's Dream - It's hardly surprising that a tune from (the loneliest) Monk should elicit a nod of accord from Young, as both he and the composer share a fondness for angular motifs and unresolved harmonic destinations that lend their music a neurotic listless feel. Like so many of Monk's edgy and alien melodies, this is another that will invade your cranium unbidden, unidentified and usually at 4 am. (see Well You Needn't for an instance of a tune that becomes tantamount to a sleep virus) Elvin Jones short drum solo and rippling toms to the end are an unfettered joy on this.

If - A Joe Henderson number that deploys bop's habitual fractured and dislocated melodic writing utilising large interval leaps. This makes this avenue of jazz somewhat hazardous to negotiate but perseverance is the key to avoid indoor road rage provoked by prog snobs who might 'cut you off'. Your steadfastness will be rewarded by the subtle and implied harmonic structure being eventually revealed.

The Moontrane - Woody Shaw's enduring and memorable composition proves a fine springboard for the whole band to plunge headlong into some exhilarating interplay and improvisation. Another glorious drum solo from Elvin Jones that is carefully paced and unflinchingly musical i.e. it has a beginning, a development and a conclusion.

Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise - The original song was written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein for a musical The New Moon (nah, I've never heard of it/them either) Judging by the results here, I would imagine that Tuxedo habitués of Broadway would be at a loss to recognise same under the welter of bristling license as taken by Young and Co. If this is a morning sunrise fellas, none of you ain't slept. (Darkness at noon more like, and transparently ironic)

Beyond All Limits - Despite my nagging dread inferred from the title, this does not generate into free form jazz wank mercifully. However it does deploy another common bop technique by using what I think are called 'through composed solos' i.e. the improviser plays through the harmonic changes in a linear fashion with the phrasing, melodic shape and pivotal points all imposed thereon by the listener (What, you mean we have to make the tune up ourselves!?) At the lukewarm primordial soup level of my understanding of any type of jazz....Yep, sort of. You do get accustomed to it after a while, and just remember, you get to hear MANY differing melodies from repeated listening to the same source materials this way.

Here's the rub gentle readers:

How to appraise an unadulterated jazz album on a progressive rock website? I don't want us to get embroiled in another tiresome 'Is jazz prog ?' debate but it took PA's very own 'Easy Money' to explain patiently to your obtuse correspondent that the excellent addition to any prog music collection needn't necessarily be a prog album at all. (Seems painfully obvious now but what a silly furry critter I am)

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 Contrasts by YOUNG, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Contrasts
Larry Young Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

— First review of this album —
4 stars After producing two albums that were fairly unified in their musical vision; 1965's Unity with it's dry cerebral post bop, and 1966's Of Love and Peace with it's restrained and tasteful avant-garde approach, Larry Young goes totally eclectic with Contrasts and gives us a strong hint of what he will be doing when he joins the growing psychedelic jazz rock movement in the next couple of years. Most jazz critics prefer the two previous albums with their easy to identify musical styles and abstract intellectual jazz approach, but I think Contrasts is more the true Larry Young album, quirky, strange, unpredictable and totally original.

The album opener, Majestic Soul, is my favorite. This is a hot groove number with loud upfront congas driving the beat. The horns add avant rushes of sound as does Larry with his B3, which seems to be getting louder and more rock like. This is getting very close to the psychedelic African jazz rock that Larry will perform on Lawrence of Newark. This is followed by Evening, a bizarre off-kilter bossa flavored lounge jazz number that veers into Sun Ra territory.

Next up is Major Affair, a high intensity duet featuring Young and drummer Eddie Gladden. It's hard to describe this one, I guess you could call this jazz, but it is more like some kind of avant prog rock with it's bizarre semi-classical melody and modern structure. I've always thought that Young had a big impact on Keith Emerson, and you can really hear it on this one. Tender Feelings follows with some hard bop swing with heavy snare hits that border on rock. All the soloists dig in and produce the hard groove of a late night club and keep things fresh and unpredictable with some colorful avant flourishes.

Means Happiness is an expressive modal drone number ala John Coltrane's Om. The horns scurry and blend in the background while Larry's Hammond shimmers on top. This kind of music always sounds like an ode to the sunrise. The album closes with the ballad standard Wild is the Wind. Strangely wild is this version with Larry's wife Althea providing deep vibrato heavy vocals that seem to come from an older era when jazz singers still had some operatic influence. Larry's organ playing is weird and barely audible till it swells like an ancient ghost in the lower registers and fades again. It's not my favorite, but it's hard not to respect something this odd and peculiar.

This album is great at showing where Young will be heading in the 70s, which is pretty much everywhere: psychedelia, jazz rock, prog rock, African fusion, lounge exotica, and some styles of his own invention.

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Thanks to easy money for the artist addition.

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