Larry Gold was born in 1948 in Kensington, North Philadelphia, of Jewish parents. He started to play professionally with the cello in this early teens as a soloist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. By the mid 1960s he began to play at a supper club called the Latin Casino in the city of Philadelphia, where he supported artists including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr. As the 1960s progressed , session work began to be developed at Cameo Parkway Records studios, where he started to play behind such acts as Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp until the late 1960s.
Before the end of the 1960s Larry stared to work for three music visionaries: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell, who were the architects of the “Philadelphia Soul and R&B Sound”. During the following decades and into the early 1980s, he did session work playing cello as part of the house band, MFSB, playing for the majority of the artists signed to Philadelphia International Records, jointly owned by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The list of artists included Teddy Pendergrass, the O’Jays, Billy Paul, the Jones Girls, the Three Degrees and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Larry also did session work for Thom Bell’s list of clients such as the Spinners, the Stylistics, the Delphonics, and Elton John.
As we fast forward to the 1990s , Larry opened his own full-time recording studio in 1996 to meet the needs of the increasingly long list of clients coming to ask for his assistance with string arrangements in the Philly classic tradition. Two of the many string arrangements that Larry has done can be heard on The Roots’ Grammy-winning single “You Got Me” (featuring Erykah Badu) and Jennifer Lopez’s number one single “If You had My Love”. Larry arranged, conducted and played cello for Jay-Z’s performance on MTV Unplugged with the Roots.
In the 21st century, Larry has written, conducted and arranged strings for Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barrias, Andre Harris and Vidal Davis, Rodney Jerkins, Kirk Franklin, James Poyser, and ?uestlove. It is estimated that Larry has worked on over 200 gold and platinum records to date, which includes writing, arranging, conducting and production. In 2001 he conducted string arrangements for the late Michael Jackson on the multi-platinum album entitled “Invincible”, Michael Jackson’s tenth and final studio album. Internationally, “Invincible”was a commercial success. The album peaked at number one in twelve countries worldwide and sold over 13 million units globally.
Photo: Joe D’Ambrosio (Wikimedia Commons)