A John Coltrane influenced organist and founding member of drummer Tony Williams 1970’s “Lifetime” band that also included guitarist John Mcgloughlin.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, un-like the popular Jimmy Smith Larry was widely known for pioneering a modal and more rhythmic approach to playing organ. He attended the Arts High School in Newark in 1954. He was born Larry John McCoy and learned to appreciate the organ from his father Larry Young Sr. at pre-school age. He was called the “genius of virtuosity” in high school. He started using the name Larry Young when both he and his father were playing gigs around Newark.
Jack McDuff called him “The Coltrane of the Organ”. He later recorded with Coltrane and met drummer Elvin Jones who recorded with extensively. He went on to record with Mile Davis, Joe Henderson, Jimi Hendrix, Lionel Hampton, George Benson and many others.
His popular composition “Tyrone” (dedicated to his son who passed away at an early age) along with “Ritha” became jazz organ classics.
Larry Young received the Hammond “Excellence” award and was rated the #1 top organist in the world by Hammond in 1972.
The experience of playing before huge audiences on other tours had warped his judgment. He could not understand why musicians of far less ability and vision were so successful in the commercial marketplace while his efforts in the same idiom were not.
He toured with Houston Person and recorded with drummer Joe Chambers.
He passed away under mysterious circumstances but left a legacy of masterful performances.