Saturday, April 22, 2017

Larry Coryell - 1975 "Difference"

Larry Coryell is joined on this ‘78 French release by other pickers, Steve Kahn, Arthur Rhames and Glen Moore; along with Michael Brecker, Dave Sanborn Don Grolnick, Will Lee, Steve Gadd and Tony Williams.

An obscure recording that finds Coryell in solo, duo and group settings. The group performances range from free ("Octaves") to funk ("Memphis Underground"). Of the two solo guitar performances, "Improvisation," is the more cohesive as "Acoustic Solo" finds Coryell laboring for speed, a fault that has often hindered his playing. "Picean Moon" is a moody piece similar to the "ECM sound," with Michael Brecker sounding like a dead ringer for Jan Garbarek. "Serabond" is a fine acoustic duet with Steve Khan and even includes a quote from "Theme from Love Story."

Yet another outstanding Coryell album, and one of the most unashamed jazz-rock guitar albums, yet all to short IMHO in its duration. The usual guests are around, Tony Williams, Steve Khan, the Brecker brothers, etc. Although the album was recorded in 75, it didn't see the light of day until 78; indeed it is an assemblage of Electric Lady studio (the Hendrix facilities) recordings and the Montreux festival of the same year. The only things that would make this album a bit different is the label that issued it (Egg) and the unrelated sea photo artwork, as the rest makes it a typical Coryell album.
The opening Octaves is an excellent instrumental (the whole album is) where Brecker and Sanborn make remarkable sax interventions. Memphis Underground could easily sound as if it escaped an Eleventh House album, but the line-up is nowhere near the group's. Picean Moon is a rather chilling piece of jazz, sometimes nearing the dissonant.
As usual, there are acoustic guitar tracks, with the aptly titled Acoustic Solo (maybe a little lengthy, but we won't complain given the overall album duration), the short but nervous Improvisation (that's its name) and the duo flamenco-influenced Serabound, where Khan gets in act.

This album made me flying in the sky. Not kidding. Tony Williams is so great on Picean Moon and on Octaves ; his hi-hat on picean is like a shadow moving around the basic pulsation, the snare's shots aren't on the expected times, Michael Brecker is...divine. Octaves desserved more than this; it's like the Montagnes russes. 

Tracks Listing

1. Octaves (3:49)
2. Acoustic Solo (5:35)
3. Memphis Underground (3:38)
4. Improv (2:32)
5. Picean Moon (5:58)
6. Serabond (4:45)
7. Aquarian Mode (5:07)

Total time 31:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Larry Coryell / acoustic & electric guitars

With:
- Steve Khan / guitar (3)
- Arthur Rhames / guitar (1,5,7)
- Glen Moore / acoustic guitar (1,5,7)
- Michael Brecker / saxophone (1,3,5,7)
- David Sanborn / alto saxophone (3)
- Don Grolnick / keyboards (3)
- Will Lee / bass
- Tony Williams / drums
- Steve Gadd / drums (3)

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