While listeners tend to focus on the effect of a musician’s music on their lives—for example, associating a song with a particular event throughout their lives—the musicians themselves absorb the effects of lifetime experiences and express those in their music. For example, Larry Coryell writes, “When Julian was born, I remember they were playing ‘Dancin’ In The Moonlight’ on the radio that morning. The next thing I know, Julian is 8 or 9...saying, ‘Dad, would you show me the changes to “Joy Spring”?’”
Often forgotten is the influence of family on a musician’s style and output. And now Larry Coryell has woven together all of those loose tangles of familial threads and presented them as a finished fabric on “The Coryells.”
While Larry Coryell’s sons have already embarked on their own musical careers, following in their famous father’s footsteps, it seems that it was Larry’s wife’s idea to record the three. And father Larry dedicates the album to his mother, Cora, who died at the age of 80 a month before “The Coryells” was recorded. The Coryells even include ion the event their dog, Spuds, who appears alert on the front of the liner notes and then sprawled and sunning on the back.
What the listener finds is that Larry Coryell inspired his sons well. They share his eclectic taste and his attention to clarity, technical ease and improvisational command.
In a way, Larry Coryell’s teaming of three guitars is similar in approach to his fellow fusion guitarist’s, John McLaughlin’s, assembling of a French guitar quartet on “Time Remembered,” his tribute to Bill Evans. Tightly arranged and allowing for spontaneous improvisation nevertheless, both albums present a purity of string sound and a closeness of interactivity. While “Time Remembered” included a bass to bottom out the group, Coryell’s use of rhythm instruments includes light percussive effects to highlight the guitars, such as Mouson’s use of castinets on “Allegro” or tambourine on “Love And Happiness.”
“Sentenza Del Cuore” is a three-part Larry Coryell composition in a 6/8 Flamenco flavor that alternates chorded guitar rhythm with unconventional soloing. As if to showcase the group’s variety of talent, son Murali exhibits a fine blues voice making use of dynamics, a slight rasp and excellent pitch on “Goodbye Porkpie Hat,” “Love And Happiness” and “Somebody’s Got To Win, Somebody’s Got To Lose.”
Chesky’s reputation for high-quality sound engineering remains true on “The Coryells,” as the listener unmistakably can discern Larry on the left channel, Julian on the right and Murali in the middle. Thus, we can appreciate the stylistic differences and similarities of each.
Obviously an undertaking of personal significance to the Coryells, “The Coryells” is significant to the listener as well as it concisely reveals the range Papa Coryell’s influences and as it reassures the listener that he is passing his talent down through the next generation.
Sentenza Del Cuore: Allego, Interlude, Adagio; Goodbye Porkpie Hat; Sink Or Swim; Zimbabwe; Low-Lee-Tah; Love And Happiness; Something Pretty; Trouble No More; Funky Waltz; Transparence; Somebody
Larry Coryell, Julian Coryell, guitar; Murali Coryell, guitar, vocals; Alphonse Mouzon, percussion; Brian Torff, bass