Larry Carlton
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Larry Carlton

Larry Carlton
Larry Carlton plays guitar 1987.jpg
Larry Carlton in Ithaca, New York, 1987
Background information
Larry Eugene Carlton
Born (1948-03-02) March 2, 1948 (age 71)
Torrance, California, U.S.
GenresJazz fusion, rock, pop
Musician, composer
LabelsWarner Bros., MCA, GRP
Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, The Crusaders, Fourplay, Robben Ford

Larry Eugene Carlton (born March 2, 1948) is an American guitarist who built his career as a studio musician in the 1970s and '80s for acts such as Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell. He has participated in thousands of recording sessions, recorded on hundreds of albums in many genres, for television and movies, and on more than 100 gold records. He has been a member of the jazz fusion group The Crusaders and smooth jazz band Fourplay and has maintained a long solo career.[1]

Music career

Session work

Carlton was born in Torrance, California in 1948 and at the age of six began guitar lessons. His interest in jazz came from hearing guitarist Joe Pass on the radio. From Pass he moved on to jazz guitarists Barney Kessel and Wes Montgomery and blues guitarist B.B. King. He went to junior college and Long Beach State College while playing professionally at clubs in Los Angeles.[1]

During the 1970s, he found steady work as a studio musician on electric and acoustic guitar in a variety of genres: pop, jazz pop, rock, rhythm and blues, soul and country. Carlton appeared on hundreds of recording sessions with Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Bobby Bland, Sammy Davis, Jr., Paulinho Da Costa, the Fifth Dimension, Herb Alpert, Christopher Cross, Dolly Parton, Andy Williams, and the Partridge Family. Carlton performed on Mike Post's 1981 "Theme from Hill Street Blues".[] In 1982 he appeared on The Nightfly by Donald Fagen, lead singer for Steely Dan.[1]

His guitar work on Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" from their 1976 LP The Royal Scam was ranked No. 80 on a list of the best guitar songs by Rolling Stone magazine.[2]

Solo career

Carlton recorded his debut solo album, With a Little Help from My Friends, in 1968. In the mid-'70s he built a home studio and called it Room 335 after the Gibson ES-335, an electric guitar he often played. He has recorded most of his albums at Room 335. In 1988, with his solo career in ascent, he was shot in the throat by a teenager outside Room 335 and suffered nerve and vocal cord damage, which delayed completion of the album he was working on at the time, On Solid Ground.[1][3] His left arm was paralyzed and for six months he was unable to play more than a few notes.[4]

Carlton produced six albums from 1978 to 1984. His version of "Sleepwalk" by Santo Farina climbed the pop and adult contemporary charts. From 1985-1990 he did various solo projects, including the live album Last Nite.

Carlton was commissioned to compose music for the king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in honor of the king's birthday.[1] He recorded The Jazz King (Sony BMG, 2008) with a jazz orchestra that included Tom Scott, Nathan East, and Earl Klugh.[5]

Awards and honors

Notable instruments

Carlton is best known for his 1969 Gibson ES-335.[6] Other guitars he owns and plays include a 1951 Fender Telecaster, a 1964 Fender Stratocaster, and a 1955 Gibson Les Paul Special.[7] He has used a Fender Vibrolux amplifier, but his standard setup included a Dumble.[6]

Personal life

Carlton married contemporary Christian music artist Michele Pillar in 1987; they divorced in 2013. He is the father of Katie Carlton and bass player Travis Carlton. Larry's niece is a singer named Vanessa Carlton.[]


Solo studio albums

  • 1969 With a Little Help from My Friends (MCA)
  • 1973 Playing/Singing (MCA)
  • 1978 Larry Carlton (Warner Bros.)
  • 1980 Strikes Twice (Warner Bros.)
  • 1982 Sleepwalk (Warner Bros.)
  • 1983 Friends (Warner Bros.)
  • 1986 Alone / But Never Alone (MCA)
  • 1987 Discovery (MCA)
  • 1989 Christmas at My House (MCA)
  • 1989 On Solid Ground (MCA)
  • 1992 Kid Gloves (GRP)
  • 1993 Renegade Gentleman (GRP)
  • 1995 Larry & Lee with Lee Ritenour (GRP)
  • 1996 The Gift (GRP)
  • 2000 Fingerprints (Warner Bros.)
  • 2001 Deep Into It (Warner Bros.)
  • 2003 Sapphire Blue (Bluebird)
  • 2006 Fire Wire (Bluebird)
  • 2006 The Jazz King - H.M.The King Bhumibol Adulyadej Musical Compositions
  • 2007 Greatest Hits Rerecorded Volume One (335)
  • 2010 Plays the Sound of Philadelphia (335)
  • 2010 Take Your Pick with Tak Matsumoto (335)
  • 2012 Four Hands and a Heart, Volume One (335)
  • 2014 Four Hands and a Heart Christmas (335)
  • 2015 Session Masters (335)



  • 1979 Mr. 335 Live in Japan (Warner Bros, Japan)
  • 1983 Eight Times Up (Warner Bros.)
  • 1986 Last Nite (MCA)
  • 1994 Live at the Greek (Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Deron Johnson & Najee) (Slamm Dunk, Epic)
  • 2001 No Substitutions: Live in Osaka (with Steve Lukather) (Favored Nations)
  • 2007 Larry Carlton with Robben Ford Live in Tokyo (335)
  • 2009 Larry Carlton Trio, The Paris Concert (335)
  • 2013 Larry Carlton & Robben Ford Unplugged (335)
  • 2015 Larry Carlton David T. Walker @ Billboard Live Tokyo (335)
  • 2016 At Blue Note Tokyo (with Steve Lukather) (335)
  • 2017 Lights On (with SWR Big Band) (335)


With Fourplay

  • 1998 4
  • 1999 Snowbound
  • 2000 Yes, Please
  • 2002 Heartfelt
  • 2004 Journey
  • 2006 X
  • 2008 Energy
  • 2015 Silver

With The Crusaders

  • 1972 1
  • 1973 The 2nd Crusade
  • 1973 Unsung Heroes
  • 1974 Scratch
  • 1974 Southern Comfort
  • 1975 Chain Reaction
  • 1975 Those Southern Knights
  • 1976 Free as the Wind
  • 1980 Standing Tall
  • 1986 The Good and the Bad Times
  • 1994 Happy Again
  • 1996 Way Back Home
  • 1996 Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 2003 Groove Crusade

As sideman

With Steely Dan

  • 1975 Katy Lied
  • 1976 The Royal Scam
  • 1977 Aja
  • 1980 Gaucho

With Joni Mitchell

  • 1974 Court and Spark
  • 1975 The Hissing of Summer Lawns
  • 1976 Hejira
  • 1977 Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
  • 1982 Wild Things Run Fast
  • 2004 Dreamland
  • 2014 Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced

With others


  • Larry Carlton Collection, (1990)[11]


  • 1987 Larry Carlton Live
  • 1989 Star Licks Larry Carlton
  • 1992 Star Licks Larry Carlton Vol. 2
  • 1997 Larry Carlton Live at Montreal International Jazz Festival
  • 2002 Ohne Filter (inakustik)
  • 2002 Live at Montreal Jazz Festival (Eagle)
  • 2004 Larry Carlton Recorded Live in Paris
  • 2005 Carlton/Lukather Band - The Paris Concert (inakustik)
  • 2007 Larry Carlton with Robben Ford Live in Osaka (335) - bonus DVD with CD Larry Carlton with Robben Ford Live in Tokyo
  • 2008 Carlton, Ford + Autour Du Blues - The Paris Concert (inakustik)
  • 2008 Carlton and the Sapphire Blues Band - The Paris Concert (inakustik)
  • 2009 Carlton Trio - The Paris Concert (inakustik)
  • 2004 Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Skelly, Richard. "Larry Carlton". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ ""The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs"". Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  3. ^ Gress, Jesse (September 1, 2009). "10 Things You Gotta Do To Play Like Larry Carlton". Guitar Player. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Heim, Chris (June 30, 1989). "Guitarist Larry Carlton Puts Tragic Shooting Behind Him". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "The Jazz King Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ a b Heidt, John (May 2001). "Larry Carlton: The Return of Mr. 335". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ Bolinger, John (July 2014). "Rig Rundown: Larry Carlton". Premier Guitar. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "Larry Carlton | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "Theme from Hill Street Blues". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "Larry Carlton | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Carlton, Larry, Larry Carlton Collection, GRD-9611, GRP Records, 1990

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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