Larry jamming with Jimi at the Scene, NY (date?)
Larry Coryell :
Fusion-guitar pioneer began melding rock and jazz as early as 1966 with Free Spirits. Jammed with Hendrix after-hours at The Scene before forming The Eleventh House in the early ’70s.
Jimi had a trio that sounded like an avalanche coming down off Mt. Everest. Even when he laid out his band thundered on, bringing to mind Miles Davis’ fabled comment: “This black dude made two white cats play their asses off.” I loved that! Wes Montgomery was also playing around New York at the time but a Hendrix performance compared to a Wes performance—I once saw them both the same night—was simply iconoclastic. It was beyond categorization of jazz versus pop or blues. It was a force unto itself. There were, to be sure, elements of the avant-garde that was de rigueur in New York at the time in Hendrix’s music. Plus, it was loud—not obnoxious and unpleasant loud like certain counterparts. But it was, at the same time, sweet, romantic, hard, scary, comforting, spontaneous and free in spirit and—because of the extra tones and overtones coming out of the distortion—in the harmony.
The unison of electric bass and guitar of the C&W-type chords in “Hey Joe” sounded not unlike Stockhausen or Stravinsky or the Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, for example. A lot of these similarities with facets of jazz were totally not consciously intended, I’m guessing. Jimi just wanted to play his thing as he saw it. He was like a Mozart surrounded by Salieri. At least when I was around him, he never stopped and let his ego assess his work and compare it favorably or unfavorably with others in a who’s better than who sense.
"All of us are a product of our times. The stuff going on among the rock and pop people was just as exciting as the jazz (in the '60s), especially Jimi Hendrix. I went to jam sessions, where Hendrix would just take over a club like the Café Au Go Go. This was before synthesizers, but he was getting his guitar to sound like a synthesizer. That was going on hand in hand with all the avant-garde stuff played on the jazz scene."
[Larry interviewing Stevie Ray Vaughn, mentioning that it may be him introducing the song Hey Joe to Jimi, in fact the third person I am aware of suggesting so. well, who knows?]
CORYELL: There's often unknown people who teach you the basics of music. My guy had this record called 'Come On' by Earl King, and he was crazy about the fact that the guitar soloist partially arpeggiated in the E minor chord. My guy went nuts because he would play the G natural and wouldn't bend the G natural towards the G sharp. He thought this was the greatest thing that ever happened And so every band in Seattle subsequently learned that song. And when I met Hendrix in New York in '66 or '67, I mentioned that 'cause we were talking about songs that were indigenous to Seattle. The next time I heard that song it was on the radio and Hendrix had recorded it. I don't know whether it was at mysuggestion or not but I feel a strong connection from my unknown teacher - who's probably in a hospital somewhere in Spokane, Washington, dying of alcoholism - who was so adamant about teaching me the basics of blues. While I was listening to Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane and using that stuff as a foundation for what I wanted to do, he stayed right there in the earth part. Great virtuosity in that area of music which is roughly known as blues and rock'n'roll never really changes, 'cause the minute you go out of it you're into fusion or something else. Anyway, the David Bowie thing probably catapulted you into large-scale recognition. How did you feel about it?
[for a March 2010 with Larry Coryell, see]
[Apparently, his 1971 album Live at the Village Gate was heavily influenced by Band of Gypsies]