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Famous Like Me > Composer > C > Larry Carlton

Profile of Larry Carlton on Famous Like Me

Name: Larry Carlton  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 2nd March 1948
Place of Birth: Torrance, California, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Larry Carlton is arguably one of the era's best respected jazz guitarists, dividing his recording time between solo recordings and session appearances with more popular bands. Over his career Carlton has won four Grammys for his performances and compositions. Appreciated by smooth jazz fans for his subtle, velvety style, Carlton learned to play guitar when he was six years old. He started playing jazz in high school, influenced by blues guitarist B.B. King and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.

For much of his earlier career, Carlton was a session musician in Los Angeles, appearing on up to 500 recordings a year. During the 1970s, he performed on thousands of recordings, including work by Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell and Quincy Jones. His guitar solo on Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" from their 1978 LP The Royal Scam was voted as the third best guitar solo on record by Rolling Stone magazine. However, his first recording was the solo LP in 1968, titled With a Little Help From My Friends. From 1971 to 1976 he played with the jazz-rock group The Crusaders, after which he had a full-fledged solo career. He signed with Warner Brothers records in 1977, and produced six solo albums from 1978 to 1984, including an excellent eponymously titled debute and the Grammy-nominated LP Friends.

His solo career took a twist in 1985 when he signed with MCA Master Series for an acoustic jazz album. The result was Alone, But Never Alone which with its warm but sparse and emotive arrangements is largely considered a masterpiece of the genre. From 1985 to 1990 Carlton did various solo projects, winning another Grammy for his cover of Michael McDonald's "Minute By Minute" from the successful LP Discovery. While working on his 1989 electric guitar LP On Solid Ground, Carlton was the victim of random gun violence, shot in the throat outside Room 335, his private studio in Southern California. The bullet shattered his vocal cord and caused significant nerve trauma.

Through intensive therapy and a positive frame of mind, Carlton eventually was able to complete the album. He continued his work with the electric guitar in 1991 when he started to record a blues album, but decided to delay the project to meet demand for a more commerically-oriented jazz offering, which resulted in Kid Gloves. The rawer, southern-blues infused Renegade Gentleman was finally released in 1993. From 1994 to 1997 Carlton did various tours and released an album with similar Los Angeles-based guitarist Lee Ritenour. Shortley thereafter, in 1997, he took Ritenour's place in the successful smooth jazz quartet Fourplay.

In 2000, Carlton furthered his solo career with the polished Fingerprints, which at its strongest points demonstrated his continued growth as a composer. His career received another considerable boost the following year when his live album No Substitutions: Live At Osaka was awarded a Grammy for best jazz performance. His most recent work includes the stripped-down, aggressive Sapphire Blue, which features impressive guitar work for both jazz and blues fans.


Larry Carlton is usually identified with the Gibson ES-335 guitar. Gibson produces a signature Larry Carlton model based on Larry's own 1968 '335.

Carlton plays Dumble Amplifiers.

External Link

  • Larry Carlton Homepage
  • Larry Carlton Guitar Tabs

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Larry Carlton