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LARRY CORYELL

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Larry Coryell biography
Lorenz Albert Van DeLinder III - April 2, 1943 (Galveston, Texas, USA) - February 19, 2017

"The greatest musician who ever lived as far as I'm concerned is Jimi Hendrix, but I hate him because he took everything away from me that was mine."
-Larry Coryell

Never consistently identified with any specific style of jazz or music in general, the improvisational guitar technique of Larry Coryell has lent its voice to a myriad of styles and moods of the musical spectrum. Jazz-rock fusion, blues, folk, contemporary classical, post bop, East Indian modal as well as forays into rhythmic Brazilian ethnic music make up some of the styles he has mastered over the course of 40 years of recording and performing. The configurations in which he performed were as equally as diverse and he has appeared in super bands, guitar duos, trios as well as a brooding unaccompanied soloist.

Born in Galveston, Texas on April 2, 1943 Coryell grew up in the Seattle, Washington area where his mother introduced him to the piano at the tender age of 4. He switched to guitar and played rock music while in his teens. He didn't consider himself good enough to pursue a music career and studied journalism at The University of Washington while simultaneously taking private guitar lessons. By 1965 he had relocated to New York City and began taking classical guitar lessons which would figure prominently in later stages of his career. Although citing Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry as early influences he also took cues from jazzmen such as John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery. He was also inspired by the popular music of the day by the Beatles, The Byrds and Bob Dylan and worked diligently to meld both rock and jazz stylings into his technique. This was reflected on his debut recording performance on drummer Chico Hamilton's album " The Dealer" where he sounded like chuck Berry at times with his almost distorted "fat" tone. Also in 1966 he formed a psychedelic band called The Free Spirits on which he also sang vocals, played the sitar and did most of the composing. Although conceptually the band's music conformed to the psychedelic formula with titles like "Bad News Cat" and" I'm Gonna Be Free" it foreshadowed jazz rock with more complex soloing by Coryell and Sax/flute player Jim Pepper. However, it wasn't until three years later after apprenticing on albums by Vibraphonist Gary Burton and flutist Herbie Mann and gigging with the l...
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LARRY CORYELL discography


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LARRY CORYELL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.42 | 21 ratings
The Free Spirits: Out of Sight and Sound
1967
3.03 | 17 ratings
Lady Coryell
1968
3.69 | 27 ratings
Coryell
1969
4.01 | 49 ratings
Spaces
1970
4.34 | 38 ratings
Barefoot Boy
1971
4.05 | 13 ratings
Offering
1972
2.26 | 10 ratings
The Real Great Escape
1973
4.04 | 53 ratings
The Eleventh House: Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell
1974
4.06 | 24 ratings
Planet End
1975
4.15 | 30 ratings
The Eleventh House: Level One
1975
2.98 | 17 ratings
The Restful Mind
1975
3.74 | 7 ratings
The Lion and the Ram
1976
3.03 | 10 ratings
Basics
1976
3.37 | 15 ratings
The Eleventh House: Aspects
1976
3.30 | 20 ratings
Larry Coryell & Alphonse Mouzon: Back Together Again
1977
3.10 | 12 ratings
Larry Coryel & Philip Catherine: Twin-House
1977
3.25 | 7 ratings
Larry Coryel & Philip Catherine: Splendid
1978
3.46 | 7 ratings
Standing Ovation
1978
3.48 | 7 ratings
Difference
1978
3.53 | 6 ratings
European Impressions
1978
3.19 | 7 ratings
Larry Coryell, John Scofield & Joe Beck: Tributaries
1979
3.58 | 8 ratings
Return
1979
2.54 | 4 ratings
Boléro
1981
4.00 | 2 ratings
Boléro
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Le Sacre du Printemps
1983
2.09 | 2 ratings
Comin' Home
1984
3.00 | 2 ratings
Larry Coryell & Michał Urbaniak: A Quiet Day in Spring
1984
2.25 | 3 ratings
Larry Coryell & Alphonse Mouzon: The 11th House
1985
4.62 | 4 ratings
Larry Coryell & Emily Remler: Together
1985
2.00 | 2 ratings
Toku Do
1988
2.00 | 1 ratings
American Odyssey
1990
1.04 | 4 ratings
Fallen Angel
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sketches of Coryell
1996
3.10 | 11 ratings
Spaces Revisited
1997
3.91 | 7 ratings
Larry Coryell, Steve Smith & Tom Coster: Cause and Effect
1998
2.00 | 2 ratings
Monk, Trane, Miles & Me
1999
2.00 | 1 ratings
New High
2000
2.67 | 2 ratings
The Coryells
2000
3.08 | 4 ratings
Moonlight Whispers
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Inner Urge
2001
3.18 | 2 ratings
Cedars of Avalon
2002
3.27 | 6 ratings
Tricycles
2003
3.05 | 3 ratings
Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey & Lenny White: Electric
2005
3.50 | 4 ratings
Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey & Lenny White: Traffic
2006
3.05 | 3 ratings
The Lift
2013
5.00 | 1 ratings
Heavy Feel
2015
4.67 | 3 ratings
Barefoot Man: Sanpaku
2016

LARRY CORYELL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.10 | 12 ratings
At the Village Gate
1971
4.15 | 7 ratings
Fairyland (Montreux Festival, 71)
1971
4.00 | 4 ratings
Two for The Road (with Steve Khan)
1976
4.00 | 11 ratings
Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House at Montreux
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Larry Coryell, Philip Catherine & Joachim Kuhn Live!
1980
2.51 | 3 ratings
Live from Bahia
1992
4.00 | 1 ratings
Three Guitars (with Badi Assad and John Abercrombie)
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Power Trio (Live in Chicago)
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Laid Back & Blues Live at the Sky Church in Seattle
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Earthquake at the Avalon
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Free Spirts: Live at the Scene February 22nd 1967
2011

LARRY CORYELL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Three Guitars (with Badi Assad and John Abercrombie)
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
A Retrospective (A Sequel to His Story)
2007

LARRY CORYELL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 7 ratings
The Essential Larry Coryell
1975
4.00 | 1 ratings
Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House Improvisations - The Best of the Vanguard Years
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Prime Picks: The Virtuoso Guitar of Larry Coryell
2010

LARRY CORYELL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Free Spirts: Tattoo Man / Girl of the Mountain
1966
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Free Spirts: I Feel a Song / Storm
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Free Spirts: Blue Water Mother / Cosmic Daddy Dancer
1967

LARRY CORYELL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Eleventh House: Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.04 | 53 ratings

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The Eleventh House: Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars With 1969's Spaces (released, mysteriously, some 19 months after it was recorded), it felt as if guitarist Larry Coryell might have been a little reluctant to jump fully on board the Power Rock infusion of the Jazz-Rock Fusion movement, but then I'm sure he could see the commercial, critical, and financial success his band mates from that album were having: John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miroslav Vitous with Weather Report, and Chick Corea with his Return To Forever project.

Tapping into some of his more adventurous New York City-based friends this was what he came up with. Released in February of 1974.

1. "Birdfingers" (3:07)Alphonse Mouzon gets us started, showing off a little of his skills before the song's swirling melody lines are launched by Larry Coryell and Randy Brecker and, later, Mike Mandel. Man! These guys are all moving!--especially the afore-mentioned trio. Great opener putting it all out there! (9.75/10)

2. "The Funky Waltz" (5:10) using a "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"-like bass and cymbal foundation the synth, trumpet and electric guitar lines established over the top are nice though the weird "fireworks"-like synth flares are pretty annoying. Larry's mute/wah-affected solos in the second and third minutes have the sound that is similar to that of the pedal steel that I hear from Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on Can't Buy a Thrill or the horns from the Pretzel Logic album. (8.66667/10)

3. "Low-Lee-Tah" (4:17) opening with a reverbed guitar arpeggio display similar to something we all heard on the Mahavishnu albums. The rest of the band slowly joins in, not yet shifting the tempo into anything above first gear but maintaining a great atmosphere of potential energy. Randy Brecker takes the first solo. I wish they had mixed him better: more a part of the song instead of feeling outside of the others. Larry takes the next solo using lots of bending of notes on the fretboards like John McLaughlin does with his special scooped frets for his Indian music. Pretty cool but not perfect. (9/10)

4. "Adam Smasher" (4:30) A bit of a Steely Dan sound to this one with the funk bass and drums and clavinet. Mike Mandel's Fender Rhodes takes the first solo sounding like the next Bob James generation of the Herbie/Chick sound. Randy's solo is interesting for his virtuosic use of the muting device. Larry's solo is next: he's using a wah-pedal/device that gives another shape and sound to his dextrous guitar play. (It almost sounds like the talkbox tube made famous by Peter Frampton.) (8.875/10)

5. "Joy Ride" (6:08) more laid back music that allows more space for the musicians to be heard and appreciated. During the first two minutes as the band establishes the foundations and framework of the song, Larry's guitar playing sounds almost like he's playing an acoustic: so smooth and fluid. Later he gets more aggressive and fiery in his particular way. The keys are particularly noticeable throughout, feeling something between Herbie Hancock and Bob James. I like the picking up of the pace in the fifth minute for the duelling between Larry and the wah-effected ARP and trumpet. Overall, another song that is perhaps a little too simple in its basic construct: like having white bread when you want wheat or rye. (8.75/10)

6. "Yin" (6:03) more power jazz-rock fusion that seems to be trying to sound like Billy-Cobham led Mahavishnu music. I like Larry's abrasive rhythm guitar while supporting Randy Brecker's great first solo. His solo in the third minute over the high-speed rhythm track below is awesome--as is the hard-driving work of bassist Danny Trifan and drummer Mouzon. Perhaps the best song on the album. Randy, Alphonse, and Danny are extraordinary. (9.75/10)

7. "Theme for a Dream" (3:26) slow and dreamy with a bit of a feel of an interlude song from a Broadway musical. The kind of musical landscape that spawned the Easy Listening and Smooth Jazz genres of music. Larry's muted and effected guitar sounds a lot like the virtuosic background guitar play of Steely Dan's great guitarists like Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon, Dean Parks, Hugh McCracken, and Lee Ritenour. It's pretty! (8.875/10)

8. "Gratitude 'A So Low'" (3:21) a solo electric guitar song from Larry. Not very melodic nor even super impressive! (8.666667/10)

9. "Ism - Ejercicio" (3:59) trying to be heavy and ominous, it's just not working: neither the chord progression, low end, or pacing. The bass-and-drum race of the second minute is an odd and not altogether engaging motif, nor is the next heavy, plodding Mahavishnu-like blues-rock motif over which Randy's muting play solo ensues. Then there is the YES- like motif in the final minute in which Alphonse's drumming sounds out of sync with the others. (8.6666667/10)

10. "Right On Y'All" (4:21) a fairly together fast-driving song with more sounds and stylings that remind me of Steely Dan as well as some annoying cowbell, guitar play, and synth noises. (8.75/10)

Total Time 44:22

All of Larry's bandmates are quite competent with drummer Alphonse Mouzon receiving a lot of attention for his dynamic work, but, for me, it is trumpeter Randy Brecker who keeps stealing my attention away from the others--even from Larry himself. I agree with other reviewers that the songwriting on this album seemed to take a back seat to A) fitting into the genre and B) showing off the skills of the individual musicians.

For as talented and skilled as Larry Coryell was, he must have had a stubborn streak running deep inside cuz the dude never quite fit in--never became as famous, always stuck to a very eccentric agenda and style of music--even his guitar sound remained "stuck" inside some kind of dirty, raunchy, macho that sounded as if he had to make more noise than everyone else. Maybe he had some kind of inferiority complex that he was compensating for. Maybe it's because he had to wear glasses. Or because he was from Seattle. But he had cool hair! My point is: the dude never really moved to the front of the class and I think this had a lot to do with his stubbornly eccentric choices: he wanted to be different and he was; it was just not the kind of 'different' that propels one to the top of the charts or in front of sold-out arena- size audiences.

B+/4.5 stars; there are some great, top tier J-R Fuse tunes and performances here--some real highs--but there are also a few duds, making this album as a whole the kind of middle of the road.

 Spaces by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.01 | 49 ratings

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Spaces
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Recorded in March of 1969, guest artists John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, and Chick Corea were coming straight out of the February 18 recording sessions with Miles Davis for what would become the album In a Silent Way. Larry is quoted as saying that it took a whole day of recording for his guests to 'come back down to earth' in order to play his compositions as he set forth. Consequently, none of the music recorded from Day One ended up being used on the published album.

1. "Spaces (Infinite)" (9:16) Miroslav Vitous' bowed double bass is a nice presence during the opening 90-seconds but then he falls into fast picking as the song congeals and takes off at full speed at the end of the second minute. Larry takes the first extended solo of this composition credited to Julie Coryell (Larry's wife). John's unique support work on rhythm guitar is an example of one of the things that, for me, sets him apart from all other guitarists, and Billy and Miroslav are definitely on the same high-powered wavelength despite the more traditional jazz form Larry is wanting. Still, John and Larry seem to be having fun playing around and off of each other. (No wonder the first incarnation of the famous Guitar Trio with John and Paco De Lucia would include Larry before Al Di Meola was ever considered). There are definitely many beautiful melody ideas presented here as well as some very exciting dynamic play during the middle or second of the three very nicely composed motifs Julie and Larry have crafted together. (18.75/20)

2. "Rene's Theme" (4:06) an acoustic guitar duet between Larry and Belgian guitarist and Django Reinhardt devotee, René Thomas. You'd almost swear that it was, in fact, Django there in the room with Larry! (8.875/10)

3. "Gloria's Step" (4:29) double bass player Miroslav Vitous' bowed and unbowed playing are the highlights of this cover of a Scot LaFaro song made famous by Bill Evans's original Trio with his Live and the Village Vanguard sessions back in 1959 and 1960 (a song that is familiar to the listener because it has since become an ageless jazz standard). I also love Billy Cobham's exquisite work on the cymbals. (8.875/10)

4. "Wrong Is Right" (9:00) Larry, John, and Miroslav trade solos on this Django-paced jazz piece. Billy and John's more dynamically-varied playing definitely seem as they are coming from a different universe than that of Larry's. There are, however, some really nice melodies central to Larry's song that the band carries very faithfully. Also, I just love the pristine sound clarity of this one--not to mention the astonishing skill and spontaneity coming from all four of the band collaborators. (18.75/20)

5. "Chris" (9:31) like the opening song, this is a composition coming from Larry's wife, Julie. The addition of Chick Corea's electric piano is a wonderful effect to Larry's music, definitely smoothing and broadening the sound palette, taking a bit of the edge off of Larry's sometimes-abrasive jazz guitar sound and style. You might even say it offers the music (rightfully so, since it is listed as a composition of Larry's wife, Julie) a softer, more-feminine side. The subdued and rather laid-back restraint of the other three band members' performances while Larry is in the lead is not only noticeable but admirable--even remarkable. When Miroslav and John do get their turns at the front, they are still surprisingly soft and jazzy. (John almost lets himself go full Mahavishnu for a brief second in the final minute--with Billy quickly jumping on board with him--but then quickly pulls himself back in to conformity with Larry's expectations.) (18/20)

6. "New Year's Day in LA, 1968" (0:20) an excerpt of electric guitar and bass taken from a concert from the year before. I'm not sure why.

Total Time 36:42

Not the jazz-rock fusion masterpiece I was expecting, the "Godfather of Fusion" seems very much grounded still in the forms, sounds, and traditions of hard-bop and gypsy jazz more than the rock-infused idiom that he had helped to launch a few years before. But the collaboration with four other musicians who were each very much caught up in the movement to inject the explosive volume and abandon of Led Zeppelin-like Power Rock into their music is just enough to sway the music of three of the album's song (the three long compositions) over into the realms of forward-moving Jazz-Rock Fusion. Who knows the effect these recording sessions had on John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Miroslav Vitous, or Chick Corea, but their next projects would include Tony Williams' Lifetime, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, and Return to Forever, respectively. I do not know the reason for the extraordinary delay in time between the March 1969 recording sessions of this album and its November 1970 release, but both dates fall into the still-early days of the Jazz-Rock Fusion explosion-- and settle well before the first releases of The Mahavishnu Orchestra (Aug. 14, 1971 and released Nevember 3, 1971), Weather Report (Recorded Feb. 16 & March 17 and released on May 12, 1971) or Return to Forever (February 2 & 3, 1972, released in September).

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of early Jazz-Rock Fusion.

 The Free Spirits: Out of Sight and Sound by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.42 | 21 ratings

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The Free Spirits: Out of Sight and Sound
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars I came round to this album after going through the Larry Coryell discography. Though labeled as jazz-rock album, the jazz part of the description is questionable. I would describe it is an upbeat rock album with traces of psychedelia supported by guitar and flute. Forays into jazz are heard when listening to the muscular saxophone lines. Coryell keeps a surprisingly low profile when playing and the future potential is yet to be displayed. Some tracks have a grooving/bluesy character ("LBOD") or have an accessible melody ("Girl of the mountain"). Definitely interesting to listen to it for historical reasons, this album pales in the contemporary world of fusion and jazz and it not really distinguishable on its own.
 The Free Spirits: Out of Sight and Sound by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.42 | 21 ratings

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The Free Spirits: Out of Sight and Sound
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. I'm sure a lot of people over the years have picked this album up just to hear what Larry Coryell sounded like in 1967. At least that's why I got it. This is the band THE FREE SPIRITS who released this one record in 1967, a five piece with Coryell singing and playing lead guitar. The other four guys are Jazz men who had to be convinced to lower their standards to play this poppy, straight forward music. There's a fair amount of variety here though with blues, r&b, jazz rock, psychedelic and pop being touched on. Larry does a good job on vocals but man he's almost invisible when it comes to the guitar. This is more about the smooth sax. I'm sure there were some give and take going on during these sessions.

That opener is a tough one for me but the next track "I'm Going To Be Free" is pretty cool with Coryell playing sitar. A huge BEATLES and Hendrix fan we're just missing the Hendrix part of the equation on this album. Coryell is doing his Bob Dylan impression on "Girl Of The Mountain", some flute here too. Jazzy guitar on "Cosmic Daddy Dancer". Back to sax on "Bad News Cat" a pretty good number. Catchy like a lot of this. More of that sax on "Early Mornin' Fear" and "Angel's Can't Be True" before ending with "Tattoo Man" a poppy closer. Honestly a tough listen but again this is 1967!

Bumped to 3.5 stars because this is at times one of the earliest examples of jazz/rock and I like that adventerous spirit even with the variety. Still if you want to hear Coryell at his best check out his "Barefoot Boy" and "Offering" albums or there's a couple he did with THE ELEVENTH HOUSE, then that ET CETERA record "Knirsch" he guested on.

 Coryell by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.69 | 27 ratings

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Coryell
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Late-Decade Larry Returns With Infectious, Fiery Groove

Coryell (1969) is the sophomore release by one of Fusion's foundational participants/minds, Larry Coryell, released during the great explosion of Jazz-Rock and Fusion in the late-1960s. The album's drummer is the all-important Bernard Purdie. Fellow Free Spirit Jim Pepper provides reeds, and the responsibility of bass falls on three performers: on acoustic double bass[???], the incredible Ron Carter and the lesser known Albert Stinson, and on electric, for the majority, Chuck Rainey. [The credits here simply don't match up exactly with what's on Wikipedia; someone with the real liner notes should help haha.] I'm unsurprised, but I'm only getting more and more warmed up to this man's work. Hope you enjoy likewise.

"Sex" launches the festivities (quite the opposite to how most affairs begin haha), and with the use of Mike Mandel's organ, I was launched into the stratosphere. Larry's more solid Rock vocals are backed by a steady beat, further fortified by Chuck Rainey's forward driving performance. The spacy effect is only built up with Larry's crunchy, Wah-laden guitar solo. Naturally sexy still, "Beautiful Woman" is next, a bluesy number with soft accompaniment, which opens and speeds up a minute in. Really delightful, and then yet another, much spicier solo from Larry. Sheesh... Give it a try; it's pretty daring and just damn cool.

Back into a solid Blues Rock, though heavier than most from said idiom, "The Jam with Albert" is next, and the longest at over 9 minutes. Coryell's knowledge of the guitar is astounding, and the band is understandably hot fire. Purdie is so badass, and it needs to be said, but I don't think Stinson is even possibly playing an upright here; it's too free-flowing and beefy. These thoughts only arose because he's killing it just much as Pretty Purdie. I'm often hard-pressed to be im-pressed by such an open jam like this, though really that's the context that would be most appropriate to show what you've got as a group (of individuals haha).

The funnily titled "Elementary Guitar Solo No. 5" follows and... I'm just not buying that, Lar [Come on, you're incredible]. After an exact minute of clean soloing, the band enters in for a well-performed Rootsy number as Mandel switches to acoustic piano. Agnostics everywhere, rejoice! "No One Really Knows"! Haha! This number keeps it low and slow, feeling and emotive. After one more 1-minute intro section, Purdie brings us back into a sweet groove. There's plenty to latch onto here (I had to work hard to unfurrow my brow). Some of his guitar solo here is just searing emotion. I'm certainly rejoicing.

"Morning Sickness", despite the name, brings us back into the light. Groovy. This track just moves! Rhythm section with Rainey at the helm is quick and feisty. The mood shifts slightly approaching minute 4 as Larry delivers some angularity and familiar dissonance. Finally, Jim Pepper joins us with sweet, sweet flute on the closer, "Ah Wuv Ooh". The guitar effect used here reminds me of... something from The Beatles. A softer tune, its composition is certainly ear-catching. The crescendo around minute 2 is something mighty powerful. Crazy amount of tension here. With "Sex", this is the best the album had to offer, for sure.

 Lady Coryell by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.03 | 17 ratings

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Lady Coryell
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The first of Larry Coryell's solo material, Lady Coryell hit the shelves a year after the sole release by Jazz Rock foundations The Free Spirits (Out of Sight and Sound, 1967), and it features throughout that group's drummer, Bob Moses. On two of the tracks, though, is veteran Jazz drummer Elvin Jones, probably best known for his direct association with John Coltrane, who had unfortunately passed away in '67. This was my second listen to Lady Coryell. Certainly no regrets there.

When "Herman Wright" begins, it's certainly plenty familiar, and yet is stylistically mysterious to me. The guitar has a strange, synthetic buzz. Vocally and, in part, compositionally, it weirdly reminds me most immediately of Procol Harum [I feel the best descriptor I could give it was 'soulful']. I know I've heard Larry's voice before, but on Lady Coryell it's all him. We then enter plenty familiar territory on "Sunday Telephone", a groovin' Blues Rock. Larry is a killer guitarist, as many on the site can verify, and his solo carries on that buzzing, fuzzing Wah throughout. Up next is one that I recall enjoying before, "Two Minute Classical", a flow of chords over a light, straightforward beat. Certainly in the context of a late-60s Rock ensemble, the title tells it all. Killer solo here at the end.

"Love Child is Coming Home" takes all semblance of what you'll think this album is about and just about throws that out the window. This is a drunk-lilt Country song, end of the day. Not the greatest exploration of this kind that I've heard in the world of Jazz; I mean, have you heard Gary Burton's Tennessee Firebird?! The track here's not terrible, I do suppose, but I'm not itchin' to hear this number ever again. Happily we turn to our title track, "Lady Coryell", at first a mix of American folk tradition and Avant-garde classical. Larry is on the guitar and the bass on this one (bass is actually only ever covered by someone else, Jimmy Garrison, on one track). I quite like this one. It has a sort of driving, rolling quality to it. There are sonic moments that feel way ahead of their time; especially with some of the dissonance experienced in the start, I honestly was thinking of Polvo(!). The obvious context here is actually moreso Psychedelia at large, but I feel the drone starting in minute 3 is straight-up Raga. As we approach the end, the mix of constant arpeggiated guitar and solo guitar meet in a swirling vortex. Seriously, with the Polvo thought, this could totally be perceived as proto-Math Rock, through and through.

We then get Bluesy meditative on the aptly titled "The Dream Thing", another which has a 'sonic signature' that feels so ahead of its time! Absolutely amazing sound. Check it! On the other side of The Blues, so to speak, is "Treats Style", a familiar guitar-led Post-Bop perhaps? Hard for me to say... As much as the Blues style at large does little to please little ol' me, the sound of this'n is pretty nice. And time and again, Larry proves himself to be one of the greats. Happily even so, we turn to melancholy on "You Don't Know What Love Is". Sweet and warm electric soloing cleanly slides across perfectly understated acoustic guitar. Truly delicious stuff.

As we approach the end, we next have "Stiff Neck", similarly sparse as the rest. I feel stylistically, Larry Coryell sounds a bit like Pat Martino here; truly Bop-inspired, despite its minimal mix. Around minute 2, he flips the switch and we get some dirty distortion, although nothing else, in composition or performance, really changed. Kind of struck me odd, I guess. We fill out the headphones finally once more on our last track, "Cleo's Mood", a song approaching something rather dramatic and, if I may say so, sexy. Ooooh, is that a backtracked guitar solo?! Always a treat to hear something like this, regardless of when and where, amirite? Thank you, George Harrison, perhaps? [I think George goes for a backtracked-solo hattrick on Revolver 2 years prior...] Another track with little compositional substance, but the soloing throughout had its moments (like around 2:15 to 3:15).

All in all, a pretty solid solo debut. But it felt a little too 'solo' to me, if you know what I mean. Cool ideas, but I wish they were fleshed out a tad more at times.

True Rate: 3.25/5.00

 The Free Spirits: Out of Sight and Sound by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.42 | 21 ratings

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The Free Spirits: Out of Sight and Sound
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Larry Coryell Leads Us into 'The Next Big Thing' With this Jazzy, Soulful Rock Group!

I hadn't realized until today, while getting ready to listen through and review another by the great Larry Coryell, that The Free Spirits was neatly tucked away as part of his discography: I accept! It really can't be understated the sheer monumental necessity of early albums such as this one, Out of Sight and Sound, this short-lived group's sole release. [See my note below for some of my usual recommendations in the pantheon of early Jazz Rock/Fusion. This will be a review of the 2006 remaster edition with one bonus track.]

In the most rambunctious, high-energy way possible, Out of Sight starts off with "Don't Look Now", with rapid drumming and a mix that is filled out from headphone to headphone. The horns are awesome. There's something about the vocal melodies that speak more to whiteness, sounding a bit like Roots Rock (or a bit like the Rolling Stones, really). As I feel is true for much of this album, given its time and place, it's hard to say how much this will appeal to the Fusion fandom as 'pure' Jazz Fusion. Up next is a favorite of mine. "I'm Gonna Be Free", with Coryell playing, according to liner notes, an actual sitar, is naturally a psychedelic Raga-inspired piece! Drums are minimal and cymbal-based as the bass, sitar and guitar drone beneath, playing some two or three chords. The solo instrument heard throughout, even during verses, is flute performed by Jim Pepper. Good melodies.

"Ibod" is next with a sparse verse over soft acoustic guitar arpeggios and a booming bassline. The use of the horn section as it comes in around minute 1 is just delicious. Ultimately, this is a Blues number. Again, quite like it, but it isn't what we know of as 'Fusion', and at most barely passes for what we know as 'Jazz Rock' [not so uncommon throughout]. Up next, for a positive turn, we have "Sunday Telephone", which has a lot going for it! This has awesome vocal and instrumental melody (Got the hook!), a groovy beat and then... Pepper brings on the tenor sax for an at-first free solo. This is followed by a Beat-inspired (like, maybe Beatles-inspired) guitar solo and riff. Continuing in this admittedly Psychedelic/Jangle Pop-inspired style, we have "Blue Water Mother". For another angle, if "Sunday Telephone" sounded like proto-Gong [as it did to me], this song could be a Soft Machine tune. Great melody, which is itself jumbled up during the verses with... just a weird cacophony of vocals at times. Decent harmonies, though.

Returning to The East, we have "Girl of the Mountain", which sort of shifts into Western folksy. Nice vocal performance from, I assume, Chip Baker. Some more great, memorable melodies, but all over a very light, clean ensemble. Overall, it was fleeting. And then we pick things back up with the guitar-driven "Cosmic Daddy Dancer". Close harmonies rap over a quick, at times wild, beat as Larry solos on top. Then we get a much- welcomed sax solo from Pepper, as he flies across the left-side speaker. I think folks'll like this'n. The next one is likely my favorite from The Free Spirits, "Bad News Cat". This song just has a great melody, with killer close harmonies. Maybe sonically similar to the Mod Soul of early The Who? Or like the Small Faces? Anyway, I love this one. Jazzy Pop Rock, basically.

"Storm" is a sultry number. I love these vocals! Geeze. Pepper returns to soloing on flute, over a sort of Bossa Nova something. Seriously, simply delish. This is followed by "Early Mornin' Fear". Again with the great close harmonies(!), this one has sort of an R&B vibe. And then we get a searing, then blissful sax solo. Super rockin' at the end! Yeeeee!!! Total shift in feeling then on the soft, sweet, melancholic "Angels Can't Be True". Not a fantastic song, in my opinion, but the saxophone, as should now come as no surprise, is just great. Its strongest moments are in what sound like the bridge, approaching minute 2. "Tattoo Man" next is a pretty great White R&B track. Bobby Moses on drums really shines here; he's had his moments, but it's really workin' here. Finally, we have the bonus track "I Feel a Song", which has a very live sound to it. The vocals and guitar are echoey and distant and the result is much muddier and lo-fi. Nice sound. I feel I detect piano? It's hard to say. The ending is quite cool, to say the least.

Despite this album coming down for me to an exact True Rate of 3.5/5.0 track-to-track averaged, I wholeheartedly believe in the significance of this album: Excellent addition, ladies and gentlemen. An excellent addition. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Though preceding most all Fusion, The Free Spirits' Out of Sight and Sound is contemporary to the absolute earliest that Jazz Fusion and Jazz Rock had to offer in the late-60s: Duster and Lofty Fake Anagram (Gary Burton, 1967), Child is Father to the Man and Blood, Sweat & Tears (BS&T, '68), Song of Innocence (David Axelrod, '68, !!!), Those Who are About to Die Salute You and Valentyne Suite (Colosseum, '69), Uncle Meat and Hot Rats (Frank Zappa), Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago, '69), Miles Davis' electric band(s) but I always think specifically Emergency! (Tony Williams, '69, !!!) and Elastic Rock (Nucleus, '70, !!!). Before even this, the only work I can ever think of truly coming before this, which I do broadly recommend--though more R&B than it is Rock--is The Graham Bond Organisation's The Sound of 65 (indeed, from '65) featuring none other than Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, even before the idea of Cream, I must assume, and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. This is always worth a mention when talking about the genre's foundations. Let's call that 'Vital Information' ;)

 The Lift by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.05 | 3 ratings

BUY
The Lift
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars This career move or step is a bit surprising considering Coryell's roots in jazz for last decades. What we get here is neither a post-bop, nor fusion, nor contemporary jazz, this is late 60's psychedelic jazz- rock, which is quite straightforward in compositions but intricate in playing and sometimes intensity. It's nice to hear Coryell soloing, riffing and accompanying and bringing the rough touch. Psychedelic Hammond addition in a few numbers like the title track is excellent. Drumming is solid and reminiscent of late 60's intensity. Two acoustic numbers "Clear skies" and "First day of autumn" do not fit into this style but provide a 180 degree turn. There are even traces of hard rock like riffing on "Stadium Wave".

 Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey & Lenny White: Traffic by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.50 | 4 ratings

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Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey & Lenny White: Traffic
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The second album with Coryell, White and Bailey has the same concept as the predecessor - the mixture of rock and blues numbers played with a dose of jazz but rooted in rock spirit. Coryell's guitar sounds raw but with the fusion feeling. Bailey gives a busy bass punch with nice solos like on the first track "Judith loves jazz". It's also representative of White's drumming with plenty of changes. "Manic depression" captures the 60's spirit genuinely with Coryell being already experienced. Bailey and White add extra chops so the track feels even busier.

"Door #7" has plenty of felt improvisations by the guitar and bass, similar to "Drums and bass" (this one is without Coryell) and "Electric Jam". On the other hand, Coryell also gives solo on acoustic guitar with "Jake's lullaby" which goes 180 degrees away from the rest of the stuff - it's a beautiful stripped down ballad. Though musicians put more stress on improvisations than on the previous albums, the album is not necessarily more memorable. It will be mostly enjoyed by musicians fans who enjoy instumental candies and groove feeling that the band had.

 Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey & Lenny White: Electric by CORYELL, LARRY album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey & Lenny White: Electric
Larry Coryell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Having found yet another fusion superstar line-up, I think it's for the first time that Coryell plays together with Victor Bailey and Lenny White. Focus is on rhythmic tracks, not surprisingly. Bailey is an equal partner to Coryell, not afraid to play solos or ornately. White delivers pulsating rhythm, not overly fast but busy enough. Is it fusion or jazz-rock? I would say, a very accessible fusion.

There are some more straightforward almost rocking tracks like Coryell's "BB Blues" that have more groove and heaviness more than jazz elements. Notable covers include "So what" which is more sterile than the original naturally due to only 3 instruments and limited octave playing. "Black dog" by Led Zeppelin is less interesting being playing in a hard-rock style, the most notable difference being variable intensity and mildly interesting guitar solo in the middle part. "Born under a bad sign" is a bluesy cover with subdued jazz elements, the most interesting playing challenge is the bass solo. "Low Blow" is a highlight from a Bailey's solo album with great motive and fusion playing.

One of the heaviest solo efforts by Coryell from his 2000's output but not essential.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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