Anyone remember when Larry Coryell was one of the youngbloods of jazz guitar? Sheesh, I must be getting a bit “advanced” in age, eh? Through the years, there’s never been a doubt in my mind that Larry’s chops were as strong as anyone’s. There were times when I couldn’t follow, though, usually because the tunes weren’t that strong. Well, here the songs, the band, and Larry’s playing are as strong as can be.
There are six Coryell originals, and every one of them is interesting with fine changes and themes running through them. There are nice covers, too. Thelonius Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” has a great feel, with wonderful playing all the way around. The oddest piece, and the one that at first seems out of place, is the Lennon and McCartney chestnut, “She’s Leaving Home.” Larry’s acoustic work shines on the familiar melody, and the soloing is created from that melody. His electric playing is slightly chorused, not unlike some players who came up right after him, like Metheny and Scofield. The solos, though, are pure Coryell. Listen to him navigate the changes of “Immer Geradeaus,” where he solos around them wonderfully, and then lets loose with an impeccable chord solo.
And we should mention the band; on bass is Mark Egan and Paul Wertico mans the drums. The trio setting is perfect, whether it’s bop heaven like “Dragon Gate” or a beautiful, light, ballad like the title cut. The interplay between Egan and Coryell is real fun to listen to. They double each other on occasion, and all three lock in on pretty much every cut to create great music.
This is one of the best jazz guitar albums of the year so far. Great songs, great band, and great soloing.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.