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JAZZ : Carlton Is Back, and He's Better

August 23, 1990|DON HECKMAN

The last 2 1/2 years have been a long and often difficult road for guitarist Larry Carlton. In April of 1988 he was inexplicably struck down by a gunshot while standing outside his Studio City home. The near-fatal bullet--fired by a still-unknown assailant--severed the carotid artery in Carlton's neck and disabled one of his vocal cords. For months there was a real question whether the nerve trauma, which extended into his left arm, would prevent him from ever playing the guitar again.

But Carlton persisted. He and his wife Michele, both born-again Christians, did ". . . a lot of praying," he says. Remarkably, Carlton was playing his instrument within the year. His voice, limited to a whisper for many months, slowly began to return.

When he opens Thursday, Aug. 23, at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, Carlton's listeners will see and hear a reinvigorated performer. He is now playing at least as well, and perhaps better than he ever has. His solo work seems enriched and deepened--the result, perhaps, of the many hours of technical practice and musical re-evaluation that were part of his recovery.

Recently, in a performance at Universal Amphitheatre, Carlton took his recovery one step further by opening his show with a strongly stated vocal on a whimsical, blues-styled tune "Crazy Momma."

"This is the first time in three years that I've sung in public," he told his audience. The cheering crowd clearly confirmed that Carlton, feeling fine and once again moving forward with his career, is back on track and ready to roll.

Who: Larry Carlton.

When: Thursday, Aug. 23, at 8 and 10:30 p.m.

Where: The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.

Whereabouts: Interstate 5 to the San Juan Creek Road exit. Left onto Camino Capistrano. The Coach House is in the Esplanade Center.

Wherewithal: $17.50.

Where to Call: (714) 496-8930.

* JAZZ LISTINGS, Page 21.

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