Saturday, September 14, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Larry Young

Artist:Larry Young
Song:Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise

Organist Larry Young was usually overshadowed by Jimmy Smith when both recorded for Blue Note in the 60s. The 1965 album Unity is probably one of Young's best and is a worthy introduction for newcomers. Young was also a big part of the early days of jazz fusion. Sadly, he died prematurely in 1978. He was born Oct. 7, 1940 in Newark, NJ. Young worked as a sideman in New York in the 50s with guys like Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley. He signed with Prestige Records in 1960 and recorded three albums that were clearly influenced by Jimmy Smith. Young was a big Smith fan. When he moved to Blue Note in 1964, he mixed his Smith influence with the post bop of John Coltrane. Young's first recordings at Blue Note were with guitarist Grant Green and drummer Elvin Jones and were released under Green's name. That trio added sax player Sam Rivers for Young's debut as a leader Somethin' Else. On Unity, Young again recorded with Jones along with trumpeter Woody Shaw and sax player Joe Henderson. Shaw and Young toured together in Europe and Shaw had just moved back to New York after a year living in Paris. He wrote three of the six songs on the album. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise was written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1928 operetta The New Moon. Nelson Eddy sang it in the 1940 film. Artie Shaw popularized the song in 1938 and it has become a jazz standard. The Modern Jazz Quartet recorded it in 1952 and a who's who of jazz has recorded it over the years. Unity is available as a budget CD. In the late 60s, Young started experimenting with avant garde jazz and rock. He even jammed once with Jimi Hendrix which is on the Hendrix album Nine To The Universe. Young left Blue Note in 1969 and joined the pioneering jazz fusion group The Tony Williams Lifetime along with guitarist John McLaughlin. They recorded three albums. He also played on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. Young recorded two jazz fusion albums for Arista in the mid-70s as Larry Young's Fuel. Young checked into the hospital with stomach pains and died there on Mar. 30, 1978 at age 37. He was being treated for pneumonia but the cause of death is unknown. Usually musicians who die young are forgotten. Larry Young recorded some great albums in the 60s and was an innovator of jazz fusion. Here's a video for Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise by Larry Young.

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