Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B, Rock
Carlton's debut was 1968's With a Little Help From My Friends, a respectable if not boring effort of him playing popular songs of the time. As the guitarist for the Crusaders, he helped to personify their commercial and fu... more »
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Carlton's debut was 1968's With a Little Help From My Friends, a respectable if not boring effort of him playing popular songs of the time. As the guitarist for the Crusaders, he helped to personify their commercial and fulfilling West Coast sound from 1971-1976. During the end of his tenure, it seemed like the group was limiting what he could do on his own. In many respects, Larry Carlton renews the artist. Unlike many efforts of the time, Carlton enlists a small, accomplished band with bassist Abe Laboriel, drummer Jeff Porcaro, and Greg Mathieson on keyboards. "Room 335," an ode to the studio in L.A. where this was recorded, all but sets the stage for the style of his early solo work. "Nite Crawler," a track Carlton originally did with the Crusaders for Free As the Wind, shows up here. In this version, Carlton's lines replace Wilton Felder's sax lead and this is better than original. The album's best track, the exhilarating "Rio Samba," is a more muscular take on the work Lee Ritenour did at the time as Carlton hits amazing notes, aided by Mathieson's keyboard work. The last track, "(It Was) Only Yesterday" has Carlton's inimitable style of doing a disconsolate song with the emotion of his guitar providing a catharsis. Larry Carlton is a self-production and was a great way for Carlton to again do solo work. ~ Jason Elias, All Music Guide
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This one's on FIRE
David Porter | Tucson | 10/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has long been one of my all time favorite jazz albums. I say this despite two wimpy songs with vocals and sophomoric lyrics. The rest of the album really burns. Larry has such wonderful melodic and harmonic command of both music in general and guitar in particular that after twenty years of listening to this and playing (I'm a guitarist too) some of the songs I'm still amazed. Everyone loves "Room 335", obviously a Carlton signature tune. "It Was Only Yesterday" is an exercise in emotive playing and at the same time a lesson to all in how to play expressively with restraint; and the song is all the better for what Carlton doesn't play. Two songs that really energize this record are the absolutely blazing tunes "Don't Give It Up" and "Point It Up". You'd better be sitting down when you hear these.
Now for the inane Steely Dan comparisons...this record is nothing like those guys! Steely Dan was all about slick and often sleazy style ("Hey Nineteen" and "Cousin Dupree" come to mind). Carlton's record is about guitar playing. The intro to "Room 335" surely sounds like "Peg" but hey, how do you know that chord progression wasn't Carlton's to begin with? Get over it and get this CD."
Larry Unleashed: A collection of astounding jazz rock guitar
John Palmer | Scarsdale, NY United States | 11/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Basic guidance first: this album rocks to hard for smooth jazz fans and is too smooth for hard rock fans. It is not jazz fusion a la Mahavishnu, Return to Forever or Weather Report.
However, if you like great jazz rock guitar solos and especially if you like the solos that Carlton provided to the Crusaders and Steely Dan ("Kid Charlamagne"), this is THE LARRY CARLTON disk.
In fact, I would say this is very much a guitar players album for those who like to blend jazz and blues and like to play with some distortion/sustain in their tone. Of course, these players need to have healthy self esteem about their playing: the solos on this album are humbling.
All of the trademark Carlton elements are here: unpredictable, but harmonically lyrical note choice, buttery distortion, masterful overtone feedback manipulation and, most of all, touch sensitivity in the extreme. Larry can go from bedroom quiet picking to Stevie Ray Vaughan screaming bends and all points in between.
Around the time this album came out, Larry was interviewed by Guitar Player magazine. What I remember most is him saying something to the effect that he wanted to show Jeff Beck, a new convert to the rock jazz scene, how it should be done on a tune call "Don't Give it Up."
On that tune, Larry does the most fanastic, stop-time guitar break I've ever heard. (Second place goes to Jimmy Page on "Whole Lotta Love.") Guitar hero game over!"