Larry Young (1940-1978) was an American jazz organist and occasional pianist. Young pioneered a modal approach to the Hammond B-3 (in contrast to Jimmy Smith's soul jazz style). However, he did play soul jazz also, among other styles. His characteristic sound involved management of the stops on the Hammond organ, producing overtone series that caused an ethereal, drifting effect; a sound that is simultaneously lead and background.
Young was born on the 7th October 1940 in Newark, New Jersey. He played with various R&B bands in the 1950s before gaining jazz experience with Jimmy Forrest, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, and Tommy Turrentine. Recording as a leader for Prestige from 1960, Young made a number of soul jazz discs including Testifying, Young Blues, and Groove Street. When Young went to Blue Note in 1964, his music began to show the marked influence of John Coltrane. He recorded many times as part of a trio with guitarist Grant Green and drummer Elvin Jones, occasionally augmented by additional players; most of this sequence of albums was released under Green's name, though Into Somethin' (with Sam Rivers on saxophone) became Young's Blue Note debut. Unity, recorded in 1965, remains his best-known album; it features a front line of Joe Henderson and the young Woody Shaw. Subsequent albums for Blue Note (Contrasts, Of Love And Peace, Heaven On Earth) also drew on elements of the 1960s' avant-garde and utilised local musicians from Young's home town of Newark. Young then became a part of some of the earliest fusion experiments: he played on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, then - with guitarist John McLaughlin - he joined Tony Williams Lifetime trio. His sound with Lifetime was made distinctive by his often very percussive approach and often heavy use of guitar and synthesiser-like effects. He is also known to rock fans for a jam he recorded with Jimi Hendrix, which was released after Hendrix's death on the album Nine to the Universe
His characteristic sound involved management of the stops on the Hammond organ, producing overtone series that caused an ethereal, drifting effect; a sound that is simultaneously lead and background.
Young died from untreated pneumonia on the 30th March 1978 in New York City, at the age of thirty-eight.