Julie Coryell, Jazz-Rock Historian, Dies at 61


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Julie Coryell, who wrote a seminal history of jazz-rock fusion and while married to the guitarist Larry Coryell, managed his career and contributed to his recordings, died on May 10 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. She was 61 and lived in Hyde Park, N.Y.

The cause was undetermined, said her son Murali.

Ms. Coryell’s book, “Jazz-Rock Fusion: The People, the Music,” first published in 1978, was one of the earliest serious histories of fusion. It contained interviews with 58 musicians, including Jaco Pastorius, Randy Brecker, John Abercrombie and Mr. Coryell, along with photographs by Laura Friedman. It also included a rare interview with Miles Davis, conducted during his retirement years in the late 1970s.

Born Julie Nathanson in Manhattan, Ms. Coryell was the daughter of Carol Bruce, an actress and singer, and Milton Nathanson. She met Mr. Coryell early in his career. They married in 1968 and she became a visible part of his music: she appears on the covers of his 1969 albums “Coryell” and “Lady Coryell,” whose title song is dedicated to her. She also sang on some songs, including “Beyond These Chilling Winds” on the 1971 album “Larry Coryell at the Village Gate.”

In addition, she worked as her husband’s manager and helped write a number of songs that became part of his repertory, including “Spaces (Infinite)” and “Chris” from his 1970 album “Spaces.” That album is considered an early landmark in fusion, the branch of modern jazz that borrows from rock and other styles.

She moved to Woodstock, N.Y., in 1986, a year after she and Mr. Coryell divorced, and helped found the Woodstock Experimental Writers Theater, her son said.

In addition to her son Murali, of Boiceville, N.Y., she is survived by another son, Julian, of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren.

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