Larry Coryell Trio
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Larry Coryell Trio

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press



The studio recording Tricycles showcases Coryell with two veterans of the Pat Metheny Group, drummer Paul Wertico and bassist Mark Egan. The trio’s internal empathy is quite evident as they masterfully sail through a set of Coryell chestnuts, new material and standards.

Mitch Myers
- Downbeat magazine


Perhaps best known as a fusion pioneer, guitarist Larry Coryell has explored more straightahead realms since the '80s, and his new live album continues that trend. The rhythm team of bassist Larry Gray and drummer Paul Wertico has played with Coryell for several years, and the idea of a recorded studio session was scrapped in favor of capturing the energy from their live shows. The Power Trio culls mostly standards from several sets at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, documenting the group at peak form.

After a brief intro, the trio breaks into an uptempo romp of "Autumn Leaves." After solos by Coryell and Gray, the two trade fours, before Wertico gets into the act. The mid-tempo groove of "Black Orpheus" allows Coryell a chance to exercise some flamenco-inspired licks and clean single note lines. George Gershwin's "Love is Here to Stay" is given a tender solo acoustic guitar treatment, followed by the disc's highlight, the near 11-minute rendition of "Star Eyes," taken at a mid-tempo jam with a Latin groove. During his solo, Coryell uses repetitive phrases that crescendo before melting away. Gray picks up the solo, followed by drum and guitar call and response, a technique and structure also employed on "Bumpin' on Sunset."

The Coryell original "Good Citizen Swallow" is a feature for the rhythm section, Gray on electric bass and Wertico propelling the tune with clever drum breaks. The disc's closer, "Bag's Groove," features another sly guitar solo from Coryell, quoting "So What" for good measure.

As a live recording, the sound is raw, with the bass sometimes lost in the mix, but after a few minutes, the ear adjusts. What the tunes lack in surprise, The Power Trio makes up for with its high-caliber swing and dynamic group interaction. - Sean Patrick Fitzell


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 these many years, there's never been any doubt in my mind
that Larry's chops were as strong as anybodies. There were times when
I couldn't follow, though, usually because the tunes didn't sound
that strong to me. Well, here, the songs, the band, and Larry's
playing are as strong as can be.

There are six Coryell originals here. And, every one of them is
interesting with some fine changes and themes running through them.
There are some nice covers too. Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't"
has a great feel with some 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." But, it
definitely fits fine upon listening. Larry's acoustic work really
shines on the familiar melody, and the soloing he creates from that
melody. His electric playing here is slightly chorused, not unlike
some of the players who came up right after him, like Metheny and
Scofield. The solos, though, are all Coryell. Listen to him navigate
the changes of "Immer Geradeaus." He solos around them wonderfully,
and then lets loose with an impeccable chord solo. By the way, we
really should mention the band here. 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, airy 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 some great music.

This is one of the best jazz guitar albums of the year at this
point. Great songs, great band, and great soloing. Recommended.

-- John Heidt - VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE


Discography

Live at the Sky Church in Seattle (2006) - Quartet
Tricycles (US Release on Favored nations) - 2004 - Trio
Tricycles (European release) - 2003 - Trio
The Power Trio: Live In Chicago - 2002

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Larry Coryell has been described by Whitney Balliett as “the most innovative and original guitarist since Charie Christian.” Beginning with his first recordings with Chico Hamilton and his tenure with the Gary Burton Quartet, Larry has remained in the pantheon of great jazz guitarists for more than thirty years. His personal philosophy of music has kept his playing fresh and exciting and makes each of his personal appearances or recordings a special event.

Born in Galveston, Texas, Larry tried his hand at a number of instruments before settling on guitar. He cites Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry and later, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessell and Joe Pass as influences during his early formative years.

Arriving in New York via Seattle in the mid 1960’s, Larry realized that a smooth and formidable instrumental technique was a prerequisite for musical expression. To master every aspect of his chosen instrument, Larry studied classical guitar with Leonid Bolotine while keeping his eyes on the bustling New York jazz scene. After developing his virtuoso technique, Larry felt ready to make his move into jazz and played his first job with “Killer” Joe Piro and soon thereafter, made his first recording with Chico Hamilton and an early fusion band called The Free Spirits. National recognition came to Larry during his tenure with the Gary Burton Quartet in 1967.

The late 60’s and early 70’s saw Larry as one of the most in-demand guitarists, not only in jazz but in all musical genres. It was during this time that Larry released a series of critically acclaimed albums for Vanguard, did some rock experimentation with Steve Marcus, toured with British musicians Jack Bruce and Mitch Mitchell and appeared on the first album by the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra Association. There were sessions with Jimmy Webb, The Fifth Dimension, Charles Mingus, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Miroslav Vitous. The albums produced at this time show Larry Coryell to be a profound musical prophet, merging jazz, rock, free-form improvisations and Eastern modes and scales in a way that was new at the time and still communicates power and emotion years later.

In 1974, Larry formed The 11th House, one of the most popular and successful fusion bands of its time. The band, comprising Coryell, Randy Brecker, Alphonse Mouzon, Mike Mandel and Danny Trifan, demolished the barriers between jazz and rock and came up with a sound that merged the best elements of both – the raw emotional power of rock with the more structured ideas of jazz.

After The 11th House disbanded, Larry made a series of solo albums, two albums of duets with respectively Steve Kahn and Philip Catherine, and a direct-to-disc recording with the Brubeck Brothers. Throughout this diverse career, Larry has put himself totally at the service of his music. “I am destined to be the eternal student, to continue developing my flow of ideas with my ability to flow with them…to listen to everything…”

Currently with High Note Records, Larry has produced “Monk, Trane, Miles & Me” as well as “The Power Trio” – recorded live at Jazz Showcase in Chicago with Paul Wertico and Larry Gray. Larry’s newly formed trio consisting of Paul Wertico and Mark Egan recorded their most recent collaboration, “Tricycles” at Klangstudio Leyh in Sandhausen, Germany in the spring of 2003. The album is distributed by In+Out Records in Germany. All of Larry’s work, both singly and collectively, highlights Larry’s uncanny ability to revisit jazz standards and imbue them with the new life and ideas. He brings to them his years of experience in playing, listening and learning and synthesizes them into something greater than the sum of their parts.

In a wonderful little book on Zen and, of all things, archery, the point is made that the shooter becomes the arrow. As a result of his effort to be the “eternal student,” Larry Coryell is also the “eternal teacher,” teaching us musical expression is ever-evolving and changing. With his kaleidoscopic imagination and flawless technique, Larry Coryell is perhaps the best suited of today’s artist to bring jazz guitar into the new millennium.