The 1978 self-titled solo album of Larry Carlton, also known as Room 335, opens up with the song “Room 335” named after his recording studio in Hollywood, CA. The track has always been under contention for borrowing heavily on the Steely Dan song, “Peg”. While the opening guitar rhythm progression is reminiscent of “Peg” the song quickly develops into its own composition. Similar to Pat Metheny compositions, but in a less sophisticated way, Carlton composes in a very upbeat and positive manner. This is why both are considered forefathers of the Smooth Jazz format. The album features a host of L.A. studio musicians with Abraham Laboriel on bass guitar, Jeff Porcaro on drums, Paulinho da Costa on percussion, Greg Mathieson on keyboards and engineered by Steve Carlton. I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry years ago in the lobby of a Holiday Inn hotel in New York City before his gig at the Blue Note. During his early days of recording in studio Room 335, he would meticulously place microphones inches away from the amps and drums to the point of driving himself nuts. Unlike his engineer, who would just walk in and quickly place the mics where they needed to be. He continued to explain that in those days, although he was a very experienced guitarist, he felt out of his element playing the role of the recording engineer. He also told me a great story of how he acquired his famous Gibson ES 335 in the late 1960’s, when he walked into a local music store in California. The guitar originally had a trapeze tail piece, which he replaced with a hard tail stop piece. Bottom line, in all of its glory “Room 335” represents that moment when Carlton stepped out of the shadows of being a studio musician to a solo artist. Aren’t we glad he did!
About the Curator: Brian Tarquin
Multi Emmy Award winning Brian Tarquin is an established top rate composer/guitarist. He has won 3 Emmy's for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series” and has been nominated for an Emmy 6 times. In 2019 Tarquin received a Global Music Gold Award for his release Orlando In Heaven for “Best Album.” Three years in a row (2016-2019) Tarquin received “Best Album of the Year” nominations from the Independent Music Awards for his releases: Guitars for Wounded Warriors, Orlando in Heaven, and Guitars for Veterans. On which, Tarquin shows his guitar prowess alongside such world-class shredders as: Steve Morse, Larry Coryell, Billy Sheehan, Bumblefoot (Guns N’ Roses), Reb Beach (Whitesnake), Chuck Loeb (FourPlay) to name a few. In 2006 SESAC honored him with the Network Television Performance Award. Tarquin has graced the Top Billboard Charts with such commercial releases as: This is Acid Jazz, Vol. 2, Sweet Emotions, and Bossa Brava: Caliente on Instinct Records, followed by several solo jazz albums, which charted Top 10 at Smooth Jazz Radio R&R and Gavin charts. Brian has appeared on 38 releases, selling over 140,000 records in his career.