You’ve heard Larry Carlton play. You may just not know it.
In addition to his extensive solo work and his award-winning guitar play with Steely Dan, Carlton was so sought after as a session guitarist that he had amassed more than 3,000 studio performances by the early 1980s, and has appeared on over 100 gold albums.
His fluid and versatile blend of jazz and blues has landed him gigs with a wide array of artists, ranging from Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Jerry Garcia, to Paul Anka, Quincy Jones and Herb Alpert. He’s even played with the Partridge Family.
And he co-wrote the theme song for TV’s “Who’s The Boss” and arranged the soundtrack for the move Against All Odds.
Nicknamed “Mr. 335” for his tendency to favor the Gibson ES-335 guitar, the Grammy-winning guitarist can simply do it all.
(photo courtesy of LarryCarlton.com)
He also recorded extensively as a member of The Cursaders, a jazz/rock group with whom Carlton recorded on 13 albums since the early 1970s.
His work with Steely Dan is itself memorable — Carlton’s guitar work on “Kid Charlemagne,” off the group’s album, The Royal Scam, was dubbed one of the three best guitar licks in rock by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Carlton’s career was almost cut short in 1988, when he was attacked outside Room 335 — his Los Angeles studio — and shot in the throat. He recovered in time for the release of his next album, On Solid Ground — another Grammy nominee.
And recover he did: His continued recording and session work earned him a spot on Hollywood’s Rockwalk — inducted alongside gitar greats Stevie Vai, Joe Satriani and Jimmy Vaughn.
So, don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon.
(NOTE: This is part of my ongoing series of reports on guitar players who fly under the mainstream radar. Keep checking The Listening Room for future installments of guitar players you should know – JF)