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Back in the mid-60’s when folks were grooving to soon-to-be rock masterpieces such as “The Beatles” “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Bland” and “The Beach Boys” “Pet Sounds”, guitarist Larry Coryell and saxophonist Steve Marcus were investigating the unification of jazz and rock grooves. And while much of this started taking place a few years prior to Miles Davis’ ground breaking “Bitches Brew” LP and Tony Williams’ “Lifetime” unit, Coryell and Marcus were melding elements of the jazz vernacular with electronic amplification and rock-based time signatures. Hence, Reunion signifies Coryell and Marcus’ first collaboration in over thirty-years as they revive, “Count’s Jam Band”, also featuring all-world drummer Steve Smith and the equally impressive, and ex-“John McLauglin Trio” bassist, Kai Eckhardt.
The proceedings commence with all of the vitality and impact one might surmise on the piece titled, “Scotland”, where Marcus and Coryell state the primary theme via punishing, yet profusely melodic union lines atop Smith and Eckhardt’s thrusting rock beats. Throughout, Coryell demonstrates his Texas blues-rock roots and seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of jazz chords and voicings. The musicians also effectively utilize space in between choruses which is evident on works such as “Reunion”, “Blues for Yoshiro Hattori” and elsewhere while guest artist, pianist Jeff Chimenti lends his considerable wares to the swinging, high octane, “Rhapsody & Blues.
The quartet surges onward via Coryell’s Hendrix-ian, psycho wah-wah soloing, the bustling rhythms and Marcus’ razor sharp, - aiming for the stars – style of soloing, whereas Marcus and Coryell counterbalance the flow with the poignant yet lissome, “Ballad For Guitar & Soprano”. Essentially, Reunion is a potent, top-flight production, brimming with memorable arrangements and heated interplay amid the grace and splendor of a condor in free flight! Strongly Recommended.
Track Listing: Scotland, Reunion, Rhapsody & Blues, Pedals and Suspensions, Foreplay, Blues for Yoshiro Hattori, Tomorrow Never Knows, Ballad for Guitar and Soprano, Jammin
Personnel: Larry Coryell; guitars: Steve Marcus; saxophone: Kai Eckhardt; bass: Steve Smith; drums
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.