Larry Coryell “Monk Trane, Miles & Me”

 

Larry Coryell

Dr. Dave’s Reviews

Larry Coryell also offers a tasty, straight-ahead addition to his already classic catalog with Monk Trane, Miles and Me (High Note, HLP 7028, 180 gram vinyl, recorded on May 28, 1998 and released in 1999).  Coryell started by listening to Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel.  In 1965, the Washington State-bred guitarist left the University of Washington for New York City, where he joined the Chico Hamilton band and the next year formed the proto-fusion group, Free Spirits.  Propelled by the music of Jimi Hendrix, Coryell next released such screaming, hard-driving albums as Fairyland and then from 1972 to 1975 established the ground-breaking jazz-rock fusion of the Eleventh House.  After 1975, Coryell abandoned the electric guitar for acoustic experiments with John McLaughlin and Philip Catherine and even recorded an album of classical music.

This album solidifies Coryell’s reputation as a guitar master and returns him to his electric roots with his Cort LCS-1 guitar. He starts with the standard “Star Eyes,” weaving intricate lines with pianist John Hicks who sheds his avant-garde tendencies during this record date to play a remarkable hard bop with Coryell.  Adding tenor sax player Willie Williams who has credits that include Art Taylor and Art Blakey, Coryell tackles the difficult Monk tune, “Trinkle Tinkle” with aplomb, trading licks with Williams for a barn-burning effect.   He finishes the first side with the more subdued “All Blues,” an early Miles Davis composition.  He takes a tasteful, angular approach to the song, using harmonics, as bassist Santi Debriano adds some interesting bow work.

Coryell begins the second side with the Coltrane ballad, “Naima,” projecting an ethereal, beautiful quality to the song that fades from the grooves before the listener can fully grasp it. He ends with his own “Fairfield County Blues,” which he attacks with a single-note barrage and the Coltrane song, “Up Against the Wall,” a blues that Coryell assaults with the help of some greasy sax work by Williams.  On this song and others, drummer Yoron Israel supplies an artful rhythm base.  Overall, Monk Trane, Miles and Me catapults Coryell back to his master status as an electric guitar wizard and should be snatched up by anyone interested in jazz or the guitar.  Rating 8.

 

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author, Rockin’ In Time

 

 

Rating System:

 

10 to 9   Classic album

8 to7     Great record

6 to 5     Solid effort

4 to 3    Fans will like it

2 to 0     Avoid at all costs

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