Through his extensive work with artists including Carole King and James Taylor, ace session guitarist Danny Kortchmar helped create the signature sound of the singer/songwriter era. A native of New York City, he first emerged during the mid-'60s in local bands including the Kingbees and the Flying Machine, the latter featuring a then-unknown Taylor. In 1967 Kortchmar joined the Fugs, appearing on their Tenderness Junction LP before following bassist Charles Larkey to California, where they teamed with King in the short-lived trio the City. Though the group disbanded after the commercial failure of their 1969 debut Now That Everything's Been Said, both continued backing King on her subsequent solo career; in 1970, Kortchmar also reunited with Taylor for the latter's breakthrough album, Sweet Baby James, and with his subsequent work on King's landmark Tapestry, he established himself among the top West Coast session guitarists of the period.
Amidst this flurry of activity, Kortchmar and Larkey also reunited in the band Jo Mama, debuting with a self-titled 1970 LP; J Is for Jump followed a year later. In 1973, Kortchmar made his solo debut with Kootch; a second effort, Innuendo, appeared toward the end of the decade, but for the most part, he remained best known as a backing musician, lending his talents to records from artists including Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Harry Nilsson, and Jackson Browne. In 1982 he co-wrote a number of tracks on Don Henley's solo debut I Can't Stand Still, most notably the smash "Dirty Laundry"; around the same time Kortchmar began moving into production as well, helming material for a variety of motion picture soundtracks as well as recordings from Neil Young, Jon Bon Jovi, and Billy Joel. By the mid-'90s he was also producing a new generation of performers, including Freedy Johnston and the Spin Doctors. ~ Jason Ankeny