Larry Carlton is a guitarist that has spanned all genres
including jazz, rock, and jingles.
Coming up in Southern California, Carlton picked up his first guitar at age 6 and never put it down. Carlton was introduced to jazz in junior high. That was cultured by hearing artists like Barney Kessel, B.B. King, and Coltrane. Larry Carlton would go on to winning 4 Grammy Awards and be nominated 19 times and perform on more than 100 gold albums.
Larry Carlton’s Early Work
In 1968 Carlton recorded his first LP, With a Little Help From My Friends. This placed him in the midst of famous jingle singers, The Going Thing, recording on Camera and radio commercials for Ford. In the middle of his second year, he transitioned to Musical Director for Mrs. Alphabet an Emmy-nominated children’s show. Larry was able to show off his acting skills briefly as the co-star, “Larry Guitar”. Carlton broke ground with his new trademark volume pedal technique, eloquently displayed in his featured performance on Cursady One with the jazz/rock group The Crusaders in 1971. Carlton performed on 13 of The Crusaders albums through 1976.
In 1973, Carlton released his second solo project, Singing|Playing, aptly titled, as not only played guitar but also performed vocals on eight of the tracks. He truly found his career in playing as a session player for artists from Sammy Davis Jr., and Herb Alpert to Quincy Jones, Paul Anka, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, and Dolly Parton…All while still performing more than 50 dates a year with The Crusaders.
Transitioning Away from Session Work…
Carlton began focusing on the challenges of arranging and producing and built his own studio – Room 335 – in his home. It’s during this time that Carlton arranged and produced pieces for Barbra Streisand, Joan Beaz, and Larry Gatlin. He also produced and co-wrote the theme for the hit sitcom Who’s The Boss and the soundtrack for Against All Odds.
Carlton’s time with The Crusaders began to dwindle and he found himself signed to Warner Bros in 1977. Between 1978 to 1984, he managed to record six albums: Mr. 335 Live In Japan; Friends; Eight Times Up; Sleep Walk; Strikes Twice; Larry Carlton. His self-titled album was released on the heels of his debut session with rock supergroup Steely Dan.
By 1980, Larry Carlton had over 3,000 studio sessions under his belt and picked up four Grammy nominations. In 1985, Carlton was approached by MCA to do an acoustic jazz album. His first record for the new label was Alone, But Never Alone, which attained No. 1 on the Radio & Records and Billboard Jazz Charts.1987 was a rewarding year for Larry Carlton. Not only did he receive a Grammy for “Minute by Minute”, but he also received a Grammy for “Best Jazz Fusion Performance” for his live album Last Nite. Carlton then received a Grammy-nomination for his all-electric album, On Solid Ground.
Larry & Lee, Carlton’s 1995 collaboration with Fourplay guitarist Lee Ritenour, garnered his eighth Grammy nomination. After the release of The Gift in ’96 and Larry Carlton Collection Volume 2 in ’97, he was placed in the group Fourplay, as Lee Ritenour left to pursue his own label. Carlton doubled the fun by signing to Warner Jazz as a solo artist at the same time. Since then he has released two albums with Fourplay: 4 in ’98 and a refreshingly different Christmas album, Snowbound, in October ’99.
Larry Carlton has set a standard for artistry that spans three decades (and two centuries) and he is undoubtedly destined to leave his mark on jazz, blues, pop, and rock for the foreseeable future…
See the Larry Carlton Quintet Live at the Folly Theater
Don’t miss your opportunity to see this guitar legend at the Folly Theater on October 12th at 8 PM.
A JazzTalk with Joel Nichols will start the evening at 7 PM.
Win Tickets & a Meet & Greet with Larry Carlton
Follow the link below to learn about winning a Meet & Greet with legendary Larry Carlton
The Folly Theater thanks it’s generous Jazz Series Donors