Golden Ages of Music: When Newark’s Larry Young (almost) levitated the White House

Newark born Larry Young (1940-1978) was a groundbreaking (understatement) jazz/acid rock organist, virtually unknown outside of jazz circles. He learned organ in his father’s organ club, the Shindig, during the seminal years of Newark’s jazz organ history. He recorded a dozen albums under his own name (with such luminaries as Joe Henderson, Sam Rivers, Elvin Jones, Lee Morgan, Woody Shaw, and Pharoah Sanders), and almost a couple dozen more as a sideman (with the likes of rockers John Mclaughlin, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix, as well as jazz musicians Miles Davis (he participated, uncredited, in the seminal Bitches Brew sessions), Booker Ervin, and Grant Green. A recent live discovery from Paris is documented in a 2016 New Yorker article, and a great overview of his career appears in the excellent Music Aficionado.

1972 found Young playing in Love Cry Want, a trio under the leadership of drummer/keyboardist  Joe Gallivan (another under the radar musician with a long, illustrious career that happily continues today). Jimmy Molneiri rounded out the trio. Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, right across from the White House, was the setting for a Sunday afternoon concert featuring the band. With Young leading the way, it was one of the most out rock/funk/jazz concerts of its time. Legend has it that the concert could be heard across the street by President Nixon himself, who ordered J. R. Hadelman to stop the music for fear it would “levitate the White House.”*

Fortunately, before the concert was stopped, it was recorded and is currently in print on Joe Gallivan’s New Jazz label. Youtube clips appear below. One of the most important documents of the post Bitches Brew jazz/fusion/rock era.

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*While Nixon may not have been into spacey acidy music, he was apparently a true Duke Ellington fan, honoring him with a White House dinner and a Presidential Medal of Freedom award. Nixon, and his then VP Sprio Agnew, were both decent piano players; Nixon played piano and sang Happy Birthday to Ellington. The following day, Ellington’s band had a gig at a high school prom in Oklahoma City!

 

Love Cry

 

Peace

 

Tomorrow, Today Will Be Yesterday

 

Ancient Place

 

Great Place

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