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Larry Coryell: Major Jazz Minor Blues

Jim Santella By

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From an artist whose career has spanned jazz-rock, electric fusion, and mainstream jazz, this straight-ahead session from 55-year old guitarist Larry Coryell is a welcome chapter. Backed by piano, bass and drums, four of the guitarist's 1980's Muse recordings are revisited to produce this album of re-issued material; the ten tracks come from Toku-Do, Equipoise, Shining Hour, and Comin' Home. Pianists Stanley Cowell, Kenny Barron, and Albert Dailey provide doubled melody lines, bop-derived solo work, and varied accompaniment. Bassists Buster Williams and George Mraz interweave melodies with the guitarist and provide intricate accompaniment. Drummers Beaver Harris, Billy Hart, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith trade, converse, solo, and enhance the session.

Coryell and Williams engage in some interesting guitar-bass interplay on Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays" and Williams' own "Toku Do." "Sophisticated Lady" is performed as a lovely ballad guitar solo piece, and Thelonious Monk's ballad " `Round Midnight" includes a stirring guitar cadenza at the end. Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring," Dave Brubeck's "The Duke," and John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" each include stellar mainstream guitar work and afford the listener an opportunity to appreciate what Coryell does best. Using Johnny Mercer's "My Shining Hour" as a vehicle for upbeat sentiment, the leader highlights the album with his lyrical pick work, fours from Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and an exciting piano solo from Kenny Barron. Coryell has written extensive liner notes for this 65-minute straight-ahead "best of" album, offering his recollections of the four recording sessions and sharing valuable anecdotes for each tune. Recommended.

Tracks:Moment's Notice; The Duke; `Round Midnight; Joy Spring; Yesterdays; No More Booze, Minor Blues; Tender Tears; My Shining Hour; Toku Do; Sophisticated Lady.


Title: Major Jazz Minor Blues | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: HighNote


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