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Larry Coryell - Lady Coryell CD (album) cover


Larry Coryell


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.03 | 18 ratings

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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

DangHeck | 3/5 |


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