Improvising: My Life In Music Larry Coryell Softcover; 209 pages ISBN: 0879308265 Backbeat Books 2007
Improvising: My Life In Music is the autobiography of Larry Coryell. The guitarist takes us through his early years, the start of his career in New York and up through the present. Coryell's is an inspirational tale, but also a cautionary one.
It is fascinating to hear about the great artists Coryell has played with over the years, the development of his own unique style and his pushing of musical boundaries. He shares stories of playing with vibraphonist Gary Burton, violinist Stephane Grappelli, and guitarists John Scofield and John McLaughlin, to name just a few.
Along the way though, Coryell got caught up in drugs and it took him years to hit bottom. He describes how his drug and alcohol abuse nearly destroyed his career and his life. But with gentle urging from pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and bassist Buster Williams, he began to practice Buddhism, which sustained him through the recovery process.
Throughout the book, the reader gets a sense of the respect Coryell has for the process of making music and for his fellow musicians. As an added bonus for guitar players, the appendix contains selected Guitar Player magazine columns (along with an accompanying CD) that Coryell wrote in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Looking through these columns gives insight into the thought process of this guitar giant. Some highlights include lessons on using harmonics á la Lenny Breau, walking bass lines and chord substitutions. Coryell also gives his contemporary opinion on these lessons.
Improvising: My Life In Music proves to be a compelling portrait of a legendary musician who has seen it alland lived to tell about it.
Learning Jazz gave me a masters degree in music. Jazz is American Classical Music, came
out of a need to be heard, to be understood, a voice when black America did not have one.
This is why the music is more than just an art form, it was created from blood, guts and heart
of those who suffered in this world. Its not to be taken lightly. If you do take it lightly it will
never sound right. Thank you to all the courageous musicians who made the world hear
them, their innovation came out of their experiences of the time that they lived. A treasure to
the world. American Classical Music. Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate a quote by Clark Terry.