Larry Klein is a multiple Grammy winning, American record producer, musician/songwriter/label executive whose most recent productions include forthcoming albums by Decca UK/ Verve/ Universal artist Melody Gardot (the 2nd album Klein has produced for Melody, the first being the international multiple platinum “My One And Only Thrill”), a new album for UK soul singer Lemar, for Sony Masterworks, the Grammy-winning Laura Nyro song-cycle “Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro” by the pianist Billy Childs, and featuring Renee Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Shawn Colvin, Rickie Lee Jones, and others, and a new album for Sony Masterworks by the legendary singer-songwriter JD Souther that will be released in April 2015. Klein also oversees his own imprint through Capitol/Universal, the label Strange Cargo.
Among Strange Cargo/Capitol’s recent releases are the Grammy-nominated alternative album by Thomas Dybdahl, “What’s Left Is Forever”, which Klein also produced, a forthcoming album by Swedish singer and songwriter Anna Bergendahl, and the Juno-nominated Album Of The Year album by Canadian singer and songwriter Bobby Bazini “Where I Belong”, and the soundtrack to the hit Showtime series House Of Lies, which Klein co-produced and curated along with KCRW DJ and music supervisor Chris Douridas.
Throughout his career, Klein has been recognized as an award winning producer and collaborator, working with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Tracy Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux, Walter Becker, Luciana Souza, Melody Gardot, Pink, Seal, numerous albums with Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan, Don Henley, Warren Zevon, Celine Dion.
He produced the Grammy 2007 Album Of The Year-winning, and Best Contemporary Jazz Album Of The Year, River: The Joni Letters with Herbie Hancock, featuring vocals from stars such as Norah Jones, Joni Mitchell herself, Tina Turner, Luciana Souza, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Leonard Cohen. He also produced the last record that Herbie Hancock released, the genre-traversing Imagine Project.
Klein is currently producing albums for a diverse array of artists, including Georgia-born southern gospel/soul singer Lizz Wright, a new album with jazz/blues singer Madeleine Peyroux, a genre-defying new album with the Chinese piano virtuoso Lang Lang, a new album with Luciana Souza for Sunnyside Records, and more.
Also recognized as one of the premier bass players/musicians in the world, Klein has performed on most of his production efforts. Klein has also worked as a composer, music producer, and musician on many films. He composed the underscore and produced the music for the Martin Scorsese produced, Allison Anders film “Grace Of My Heart”, and a biopic about the infamous country session guitarist Hank Garland in a film entitled “Crazy”. He has played on numerous scores and film soundtracks, beginning with Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” in 1980.
Early Musical Career
Klein grew up in southern California, and it was an after-school musical program at The Community Schools at U.S.C. that enabled him to hone his playing and compositional skills with university professors while still in high school. He worked in with various Jazz and Latin groups while still a college student at Cal State L.A, early breaks that led to nearly five years of touring with Hall of Fame caliber groundbreakers like Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Willie Bobo among others.
Klein began to garner the reputation of a musical prodigy, with legendary Stanley Clarke later citing him in an interview as one of the handful of great bass players who have ‘moved beyond the bass.’ Klein appeared on a wide assortment of records in the mid-70’s and early 80’s, displaying a tremendous range, working with diverse artists such as Dianne Reeves, Bobby McFerrin, Robbie Robertson, and Neil Diamond.
It was Klein’s work with Robertson that led to his other collaborations with a host of goundbreaking rock musicians such as Don Henley (Building The Perfect Beast, The End Of The Innocence), Bob Dylan (Down In The Groove), Bryan Adams (Waking Up The Neighbors), Joni Mitchell (Grammy winning Turbulent Indigo, among others), as well as Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Randy Newman and Warren Zevon.
Joni Mitchell And ‘Rock’ Influence
Klein’s celebrated collaboration in and out of the studio with singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell became the cornerstone of his early collaborative period. The two became romantically linked during the making of 1982’s Wild Things Run Fast, becoming husband and wife the same year. The duo forged an intense creative relationship that would endure for more than a decade, and include such monumental albums as their first joint production, 1985’s Dog Eat Dog, and their Grammy winning swan song, 1994’s Turbulent Indigo.
Klein’s impeccable collaborative credentials and revered bass playing skills also saw him play on some of the biggest albums of the late ‘80s rock era: Don Henley’s Building the Perfect Beast (1984) featuring his work on the classic single “Boys of Summer”, Henley’s “The End Of The Innocence”, Peter Gabriel’s So (1986), and Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut album with the smash hit “Fast Car” (1988). He toured with Gabriel on the first Amnesty International “Conspiracy Of Hope” tour.
Production Era and Activities
In 1985, Klein knocked off his first solo production credit with Cars bassist Benjamin Orr’s The Lace. In 1988, Joni Mitchell released the Klein-produced Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm.
An enlightening session with producer John Robert “Mutt” Lange during work on Bryan Adams’ 1991 release Waking Up The Neighbors, became another transformational production encounter. Klein’s reputation as a songwriter grew, and he scored several memorable co-writing ventures for talents such as Bonnie Raiit – “The Fundamental Things,” and Warren Zevon – “Genius.” Klein collaborated with the great Warren Zevon on some of his later work, playing bass on songs such as “Mutineer” and co-writing songs on the classic My Ride’s Here (2002).
In the 1990s, Klein began to be recognized as an astute producer of female singer/songwriters, working with critically acclaimed female trailblazers such as Mary Black, (Shine 1997,) and Shawn Colvin (Fat City 1994), Julia Fordham (Concrete Love 2002 and That’s Life 2004) and Madeleine Peyroux (Careless Love, 2004, which made Newsweek magazine’s Year-end Top 10 List).
Klein also reunited in the studio with Joni Mitchell in 2000, with the duo releasing Both Sides Now, a textured re-working of eight great standards and two pieces of Mitchell’s work for full orchestra. A subsequent double CD titled, Travelogue, was released in 2004.
Klein has continued to explore the areas that lie between genre, circling back to his jazz roots to work with mentors of his like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, writing for and producing such hybrid artists as Madeleine Peyroux and Lizz Wright, exploring new areas with diverse artists from around the world such as fado singer and Portuguese star Ana Moura, Norwegian alt-singer-songwriter Thomas Dybdahl, and French pop legend Eddy Mitchell.
Most years you will find his records sitting in various categories of Grammy -nominated projects. His musical curiosity continues to lead him towards a completely eclectic array of artists and projects from every area of music.