Larry Young, also known as Khalid Yasin, was an innovative American jazz organist born on October 7, 1940, in Newark, New Jersey. His music spanned various genres, including jazz, soul jazz, jazz-funk, modal jazz, and jazz fusion. Young started his music career in Newark, performing in a vocal group and a jazz band during his high school years. He played with various R&B bands in the 1950s and gained significant jazz experience with artists like Jimmy Forrest, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, and Tommy Turrentine.
Starting in 1960, Young recorded as a leader for Prestige, producing soul jazz albums like “Testifying,” “Young Blues,” and “Groove Street.” His signing with Blue Note around 1964 marked a transition in his music, showing a strong influence of John Coltrane. His most enduring work from this period includes collaborations with Grant Green and Elvin Jones. His album “Unity,” recorded in 1965, is his best-known work, featuring Joe Henderson and Woody Shaw. Young also contributed to the early fusion movement, notably through his work on “Emergency!” with the Tony Williams Lifetime and Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew.” He was known for a percussive approach and heavy use of guitar and synthesizer-like effects, including a notable jam with Jimi Hendrix.
Larry Young passed away on March 30, 1978, in a hospital while being treated for what was reported as pneumonia, although the actual cause of his death remains unclear.