There’s a very good chance that you’ve heard Larry Carlton before, and an even better chance that you don’t know it: “Mr. 335” (due to his use of Gibson’s ES 335 hollowbody guitar, which he uses in neither of these cuts) has worked as a session guitarist on countless other artists’ recordings since the early Seventies. He was a member of the Crusaders from 1971 through 1976, and released six solo albums between 1978 and 1984. His first acoustic album, 1985’s Alone / But Never Alone, included a version of “The Lord’s Prayer.” He was the victim of a random attack, shot in the throat outside his studio in 1988, while he was working on 1989’s On Solid Ground. He bounced back quickly from that incident, finishing the album by the end of the year, and recorded Last Nite, a live recording of primarily jazz standards, the following year. He has performed with Toto’s Steve Lukather, blues guitarist Robben Ford, Steely Dan, and fellow LA session man Lee Ritenour, whom he replaced in the band Fourplay (he has since left Fourplay, to be replaced by Chuck Loeb). His latest project is 2011’s Plays the Sound of Philadelphia.
The two tracks here are a couple of my personal favorites, from On Solid Ground: live performances of “Bubble Shuffle” and Steely Dan’s “Josie,” which he recorded with them for their 1977 Aja album. Enjoy!