Saturday, February 25, 2017

Larry Coryell - 1975 [1988] "The Essential Larry Coryell"

When Larry Coryell recorded the sides gathered on this 70-minute CD, fusion was still a new and radical idea -- and the guitarist was one of the adventurers who did more than his part to get the ball rolling. Coryell's diehard followers will be familiar with most of this material, but for novices, The Essential Larry Coryell can serve as a splendid introduction to his Vanguard output. This diverse compilation ranges from 1968's landmark "Stiffneck" (a duet with drummer Elvin Jones that is among the earliest examples of fusion) to the abrasive, Jimi Hendrix-influenced "The Jam with Albert" to the haunting "Spaces (Infinite)," which unites Coryell with another very influential fusion guitarist: John McLaughlin. It's hard to miss Miles Davis' influence on "Yin," a gem underscoring the initial excellence of Coryell's Eleventh House. But even so, there's no mistaking the fact that Coryell was very much a visionary in his own right.

Larry Coryell has had some great musicians around him over the years. I saw him in NYC in the late 60's early 70's. Mike Mandell was on keyboards. Best cut on this album for me is "Scotland." Sax on Scotland is Steve Marcus. Great players on a team bring out the best in each other. That is true on this album. Have not heard much that rises to the level of Scotland from Mandell or Marcus or for that matter from Larry Corryell. Still looking though. It is interesting how much popular music achieves its significance from its context in time and place. Larry Coryell was the early 70's for me.

Though I haven't heard this compilation, I've heard most of the songs on it. This is a great introduction to one of the least known guitar innovators. To put it bluntly, Coryell jams! If you like this album, check out "Coryell", his first album. A must for audiophiles!

Coryell shows the fluidity and passion which put him among the best of the jazz-rock guitarists. Like John McLaughlin, Coryell has a good ear for mesmerizing riffs. Until someone releases his "Barefoot Boy" album, this is the best place to hear him.

The most comprehensive and all you'll ever need Larry Coryell "greatest hits" collection to date.  Pulling all from his most explosive years at Vanguard, this album was released in 1975, the year the label and he split up.  So some tracks date back to 1969 through 1974, although I never knew that 2 songs (acoustic) were cut from the album release.
It is indeed so hard to collect Coryell's best as eclectic as he was, but this release is definitely the best anybody has done to this point and indeed "essential".

2 tracks were cut from the original release to fit onto a single CD: "Improvisation on Robert de Visée's Sarabande" and "Rene's Theme."  Still, there's over an hour of great rock, fusion, jamming, etc., all carried by Coryell's guitar prowess.  When I first popped this disc in and heard "Yin," I thought "oh boy, more fusion," but immediately after that track you get the "Elementary Guitar Solo #5" and things really take off from there.  Only "Are You Too Clever" has vocals, and while not anything great, they don't really detract from the song.

And the cover art is so cool.

Tracks Listing

1.Yin ( with The Eleventh House ) ( 6:02 )
2. Elementary Guitar Solo # 5 ( 6:51 )
3. Scotland I ( 6:31 )
4. The Jam With Albert ( 9:19 )
5. Stiffneck ( 7:13 )
6. Foreplay ( 8:15 )
7. Lady Coryell ( 6:32 )
8 Spaces ( Infinite ) ( 9:18 )
9. Are You Too Clever ( 5:28 )
10. After later ( 5:32 )

Track listing above is for 1988 CD re-issue
Total Time: 70:01

Original Vynil LP also includes :
1. Improvisation On Robert De Vissee`s Sarabande ( 5:19 )
2. Rene`s Theme ( 4:07 )
Total Time: 80:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Larry Coryell / guitar, all
- Randy Brecker / trumpet, track 1
- Mike Mandel / piano, synthesiser tracks 1,2,3,5,9
- Danny Trifan / bass, track 1
- Alphonse Mouzon / drums, track 1
- Chuck Rainey / bass, track 2
- Bernard Purdie / drums, tracks 2, 4
- Steve Marcus / soprano saxophone, tracks 3,6,9
- Mervin Bronson / bass, 3,6,9,10
- Harry Wilkinson / drums, 3,6,9,10
- Albert Stinson / drums track 4
- Elvin Jones / drums, track 5
- Bob Moses / drums, track 7
- Mahavishnu John McLaughlin / guitar track 8 and track 2 on LP
- Miroslav Vitous / double bass, track 8 and track 2 on LP
- Chick Corea / piano, track 8 and track 2 on LP
- Ralph Towner / guitar, track 1 on LP *
- Glen Moore / bass, track 1 on LP *
- Colin Walcott / Tabla, congas on track 1 on LP *

* Name appears on original LP artwork which was also used for
CD reissue but does not appear on CD 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. heads up:
      2 links are dead - thank you anyway for all the good music and very good info

  2. Just found out that Larry has passed on. Very Sad. He will be missed.

  3. heads up:
    2 links are dead - thank you anyway for all your very good music and info work.
    Dieter (wildbrush2)