Guitarist Larry Coryell, hailed by many as the “Godfather of Fusion,” was born on this day (April 2) in Galveston, Texas, in 1943. With a virtuosic technique that merged scathing rock pyrotechnics and intricate jazz harmony, Coryell carved out a prolific career in music that spanned genres and defied simple categorization. His 1970 album Spaces is considered to be one of the earliest entries into the jazz fusion genre (some critics say it was the album that launched jazz fusion).
It’s easy to hear why. For one, the album’s personnel reads like a jazz-fusion Hall of Fame — with Billy Cobham on drums, Chick Corea on piano and Miroslav Vitouš on bass. For an added boost, Spaces even features an additional guitarist in Mahavishnu Orchestra member John McLaughlin. Our Song of the Day, “Chris,” shows off the quiet power of this innovative quintet. It’s a wonderfully textured piece, shifting between moments of buoyant calm and tangled intensity. Sadly, Coryell died of heart failure in 2017 after a performance in New York City.