Watch: Never-Before-Seen Ralph Towner and Larry Coryell Footage


Seattle-based film director and friend Kristian St. Clair is one of those tireless record hounds and researchers who is always turning us on to new (and old) music. He directed an entire documentary on big band jazz leader Gary McFarland and is currently wrapping up a sprawling documentary on the life and times of producer Jack Nitzsche. Closer to home, he’s assisted us with innumerable Fretboard Journal video shoots over the years. (We’re also plotting a collaboration project or two with him that we know you’ll all love.)

Recently, Kristian has been working with the estate of jazz legend Chuck Mahaffay, where they uncovered a treasure trove of unreleased clips. This ’60s footage from daytime Seattle TV may seem quaint, but for guitarists it’s are truly astonishing: Here are the first professional gigs for musicians Larry Coryell and Ralph Towner. (Coryell worked for Mahaffay’s band, The Individuals, at the age of 19; Towner served as his replacement.)

Enjoy these rare, early clips featuring two, distinctly different jazz guitar greats.

ICYMI: Nels Cline interviewed Ralph Towner for the FJ’s 39th issue. Read it here and don’t forget to subscribe to our reader-supported magazine.