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Larry Coryell - Larry Coryel & Philip Catherine: Twin-House CD (album) cover


Larry Coryell

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars With the onslaught of the fusion jazz movement in the early`70s, of which both Coryell and Catherine were proponents, an album featuring more traditional approaches to the guitar was most welcome back in `77 when the first of the acoustic recordings presented here was released. Although the disc takes it`s title from the first of two albums featured here, 1977`s "Twin House", it also contains five samples from "Splendid" released the following year which had similar musical textures which add a bit to the confusion. Why the record company didn`t just go the whole hog and release both in their entireties is one of the many mysteries of the music business. At least the "Twin House" tracks precede the "Splendid" tracks and are interspersed with a previously unreleased lost track from the "Twin House" session which only took one day to complete. So there`s something here for those who bought vinyl copies in the `70s as well.

Coryell had previously worked with Steve Khan in a duo acoustic setting but these performances with Catherine are much more lush and rythmic due to Catherine`s Django Reinhardt inspirations which also seemed to rub off on Coryell to a certain extent here. This is more than evident on a couple of Coryell`s solos particularily on "Nuages" one of two Reinhardt originals presented here. Despite their different cultural and musical backgrounds, Coryell beginning his career in NYC and Catherine being of Anglo/Euro descent, the two guitarists paint themselves on to a common musical canvas with ease. Both take turns starting melodies, accompanying one and other, improvising and sometimes committing errors which were left in for the more discerning of listeners to detect.

The separation between the two guitarists is very distinct with the exception of the more intricate parts of "Airpower" and "Mrs. Julie" which contain some of the few overdubs and alternate tunings on the 12 string guitar. Coryell can usually be distinguished by his somewhat more anxious playing while Catherine tends to stay in Django mode with both never ceasing to dazzle both technically and musically.

Both "Twin House" and "Splendid" were hailed as guitar player`s albums when they were released in the `70s and their appeal in this respect has not diminished with the passage of time. The layman will also glean tremendous satisfaction from these guitar duets ( German pianist Joachim Kuhn helps out on one track, "Dance Dream" ) due to the rythmic aspect which make the pieces constantly bright and exciting. If you are into the late 70s/early 80s super trios wihich featured John McLaughlin, Paco deLucia and Coryel who was later replaced by Al DiMeola, these recordings provide a more tradional modern approach to acoustic jazz in the true sense of the word. Excellent selection from two outstanding jazz recordings of the `70s and an essential for guitar fans of that period.

Report this review (#129156)
Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars I will review the Cd version of this album, because it holds not only the original vinyl (Twin-House sessions), but has five bonus tracks that come from a later session recorded two years later, the Splendid sessions. In many ways this album prefigures the guitar trio albums centred around John McLaughlin by some two years, as this is a pure acoustic guitar duo (no other instruments, except a bass on ) and Twin- House could be a Belgian album rather than a US one, mainly because Catherine signs four tracks to Coryell's two, while two of the five covers are from Django Reinhardt. But if I say it prefigures, I am not saying these infernal trios actually resemble the quiet duos. If anything, TH proves that the guitarist driving those trios overboard is Al DiMeola and his sense of hyper competition and obsession at being the fastest slinger on both sides of the Pecos River. Here, you'll get none of that non-sense and no adrenaline rush either. The two guitarists have decided to avoid any kind of competition and work in complete collaboration spirit, and the album is filled with finesse, camaraderie and fine-entente. However, all of this finesse doesn't leave much room for energy, and the succession of these tracks might seem a bit soporific to some, and downright yawners inducing profound boredom for others.

So the Cd version now lasts almost 65 minutes, which might be a bit much if the two sessions sounded much alike, but fortunately for us the Splendid Session tracks have the odd bass or piano on some tracks, which allow a welcome change, both tracks judiciously placed at the start of the Splendid Session, because the last three tracks revert to the acoustic guitar duo, although the compadres' styles is a bit more tense, but not aggressive. Not really an essential album for the progheads, but many jazz fans will beg to differ. Your call on this one.

Report this review (#162833)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permalink

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