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Larry Coryell - Larry Coryell & Alphonse Mouzon: Back Together Again CD (album) cover


Larry Coryell

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars This is no doubt the rockiest recording in the Coryell catalogue. It is also however a mixed blessing. This is an Eleventh House reunion of sorts minus Mike Mandel's keyboards, nor any sign of a trumpeteer. It does have a powerful twin-leadguitar approach that rocks harder than almost anything else the House had done prior to this. That is in part due to sometimes-Focus guitarist Phillip Catherine. Some of the album like Rock & Roll Lovers and High Love are among the very best of the Eleventh House repetoire, other parts are quite unlistenable.

Basically, the vocal songs fail, but the instrumentals are almost all great. Side one works, and other than the last song, High Love, side two does not. You would think that musicians of this calibre, especially considering that sometimes they do it very very right, would hear the post recording mix and say,"Hey! We really can't sing, can we? Maybe we should just drop the vocals completely, and just let the record stand on the strength of our playing". Was it ego? A joke? or even an oversight? I do not know, but they were at least ill advised to leave the singing(?) in. Overall, there is a slight sonic shallowness in the overall mix, and even though BacK Together Again has its moments I think Larry and Alphonse miss Mike Mandel's ideas and input.

All that having been said, side one is very good. John Lee once again carries the day with his solid bass-work, and Catherine adds a very proggish element to the compositions, especially his own one Transvested Express. Mouzon is a fantastic drummer, but whenever he desides to go with his "Funky Snakeskin" thing it is time to head for the hills (or patio or whatever). Nonetheless, you could ask your record peddler for a fifty percent discount and just go with side one.

Report this review (#127203)
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Coryell is back on his electric gibson and chewing on the bit to rock it out with his former bandmate/drummer Alphonse Mouzon. Although flawed in some ways this album has been hailed by many as one of the outstanding fusion recordings of the `70s. It`s a wonder that it sat in the vaults of Atlantic Records for almost three decades before being rescued and re-issued on CD by Wounded Bird Records in 2002.

From time to time this album has been critisized primarily due to Mouzon`s desire to get down and be funky. However this is more than adaquetely compensated for by his powerhouse drumming and Coryell`s frequent wailing guitar breaks. After all, it isn`t a reincarnation of The Eleventh House but rather a collaborative effort which was billed as the Coryell/Mouzon Band at the time. Even so, the title track which also features Mouzon on vocals along with a girl chorus, is so ridiculously funked out that one gets the impression that niether Coryell or Mouzon were taking themselves seriously on this one. Mouzon also provides some more quirky vocals on "Reconciliation" and "Get On Up" both of which have a harder edge and cross over back & forth between hard rock and funk.

The essence of the album is Coryell`s overwheming electric soloing which make him sound more like a rock musician , and the other two players who are not just along for the ride here either. Guitarist Philip Catherine, who was fresh out of a short stint with Focus, adds some artsy insight into the project on tracks such as "Transvested Express" and "Beneath The Earth". His effect on the creative end of Coryell`s playing is obvious and some of the flavour from their Twin House guitar duos is echoed here as well with the inclusion of acoustic guitars. Eleventh House alumni John Lee`s fine tuned bass work couldn`t be more suitable for this fusion & roll outing and his sliding bass lines which give way to Coryell`s pyrotechnical guitar soloing on "Rock n`Roll Lovers" give it a wonderful sort of heaviness. It was also the only Coryell piece which recieved some airplay on FM radio for a brief period in the late `70s.

One of Coryell`s more conventional records which will have more appeal to those not into the guitarists more ecclectic explorations. This recording is more along the lines of the brand of fusion Jeff Beck was producing during the `70s and the music here is a lot more fun loving and less technical than a lot of contemporary `70s fusion. A must for fans of fusion of this era despite the fact it is compromised with Mouzon`s preoccupation with jiving it out here and there.

Report this review (#128232)
Posted Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rocking Larry Coryell? Why not. This work is possibly heaviest and rockiest Larry recording. Plenty of guitar soloing, high energy, and - what is most important - not too many deviations from instrumental rock idea.

For sure, everyone will easily hear jazzy background of this music, but main sound is openly heavy rocking, even with shredding. Second guitarist Philip Catherine is a good partner for such direction.

Possibly most interesting and unusual album's moment is drummer Alphonse Mouzon, going funky! So, now you know everything about this release: mostly instrumental jazzy rock, when Larry Coryell goes heavy, Philip Catherine gives him good rocking support as second guitarist, and Alphonse Mouzon support guys with funky rhythms.

Not very characteristic combination, with own pros and cons. I think funky rhythm is great addition to album's music, and it saved album from being straightforward instrumental rock stereotype. But too deep excurse into heavy rock guitar music territory doesn't sounds as positive addition: too often fusion lover's ear will catch simplistic, not jazzy, but more rocky sound combination.

But in whole, very competent album, just possibly more recommended for instrumental rock with strong jazzy feeling lovers. Almost 3,5.

Report this review (#279248)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2010 | Review Permalink

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