Coryell / Di Meola / Lagrene: Super Guitar Trio Live at Montreux 1989

Jerry D'Souza By

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Super Guitar Trio
Live at Montreux 1989
Eagle Rock


The word "super" as a way of sneaking in as a descriptive epithet, merited or not. In this instance it sits upfront of Guitar Trio, the triumvirate comprised of Larry Coryell, Al Di Meola and Biréli Lagrène. The three came together for a five-week tour in 1989, the last stop being the Montreux Jazz Festival. The performance gives them a right to the adjective; it captures the virtuoso strengths, the imagination and the empathy of the players and casts them in solo, duo and trio settings.

The players, all dressed in white, take the stage for "PSP No. II. It's an exhilarating ride and just the right tune to capture the attention of the audience. Di Meola gets first nod and sets up the Latin melody. His technique is a marvel to see and hear: a ripple of notes, a flowing cascade, a gentle flow that sips becomingly from each note. Coryell and Lagrène add to the chordal effects and bring their own individuality to their solo spots. In tandem, the pair provide 11 minutes of pure delight.

Coryell is at ease in several styles. He gets into a duet with Di Meola on Astor Piazzolla's "Tango Suite (For Two Guitars), which is another vantage point of two masters at work. They conceptualize, then execute the tune brilliantly, bringing in vibrant textures through their melodic lines augmented by their fresh chord structures. Coryell extends his ambit with Lagrène on "Musette de Paris Avec la Rue Dupierre No. 5, on which he is more of a muse to Lagrène who shapes the tune with improvisations and neat harmonic variations.

The trio comes back for two Chick Corea tunes to end the concert. No Mystery and "Spain let them weave one spell after another, both in their interplay and in their individual moments. Di Meola even finds the right time to reference "Leaving on a Jet Plane during "No Myster," revealing a sly sense of humor.

The concert is an emotional and imaginative lock-in, the power of their craft transforming each tune into a little nugget.

Tracks: PSP No. II; Tango Suite (For Two Guitars); Orient Blue Suite/Traces of a Tear; Musette de Paris Avec la Rue Dupierre No. 5; Waltz; Brazilliance; No Mystery; Spain.

Personnel: Larry Coryell: guitar; Al Di Meola: guitar; Biréli Lagrène: guitar.

Production Notes: 71 minutes. Recorded July 1989, at Montreux, Switzerland.


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