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Larry Coryell - Spaces CD (album) cover

SPACES

Larry Coryell

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.85 | 41 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Probably the album of Larry Coryell that he's most remembered for, and certainly the one of his breakthrough, Spaces came with this extraordinary colourful psychey artwork (a Jacques Wyrs painting) for a jazz album, even if not a pure jazz one. And what an all-star guest line-up too, inclining that LC had already gained respect from his pears way back in 69. Yes in some ways, Spaces is a groundbreaking album

Opening on the fusion-esque title track, which at times sounds like it was written by Ian Carr's troupes Nucleus without wind instruments, Spaces (credited to Larry's wife Julie) rocks right through your brains, with Larry taking first solo and McL the second, we're clearly heading for a guitar fest. We can even hear a bit of the future early Mahavishnu Orchestra in the ascending riff that comes back regularly throughout the 9 mins of the track. In the following track, René's theme, you'd swear that Django Reinhardt was playing, but it's not the case and neither is it for Django's pupil René Thomas (also a Belgian from Liège as Django was), but the track is from him. Closing up the A side, is Gloria's Step where Vitous takes the bow to his stand up bass, and the formation flies into what seems to be an improv, but the song is credited to LeFaro, so most likely, they were quite liberal in the adaptation.

On the flipside, the lengthy Right is Wrong is a cold and quick race between the guitar duo, an impressive showcase for both, both managing to have their own space and style, even if the type of jazz song didn't really allow it with its call for electro-acoustic guitars. Overall this track overstays its welcome a bit and is the weaker link on the album, but it still is an excellent one. The following 9-mins+ Chris (again credited to Julie) is much in the mould of its predecessor, but there is so much more happening here, Corea is making his presence felt on this track. A short guitar tidbits bids us farewell as the needle lifts off the wax plate.

Certainly one of LC's highlights in his career, Spaces remains a classic some almost 40 years after its first release. While this album is not a pure jazz-rock, it isn't a pure jazz album either, but it probably bends a bit more towards the latter possibility. Essential to confirmed early jazz rock fans wanting to understand the birth of JR/F.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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