Larry Coryell: Tamari
Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House
Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House at Montreux (Vanguard VMD- 79410)
Larry Coryell (guitar),
Mike Lawrence (trumpet), Mike Mandel (keyboards), Danny Triffan (bass), Alphonse Mouzon (drums).
Composed by Alphonse Mouzon.
Recorded: Montreux, Switzerland, July 4, 1974
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Guitarist Larry Coryell's Eleventh House band could be impressive. Larry has a strong claim to being one of the fathers of fusion. Unfortunately, some inconsistent playing over the years caused by personal problems prevented him from sitting in the top echelon. Still, his groundbreaking work should not go overlooked. He was an important part of the early fusion scene and was much admired by fans and musicians such as Pat Metheny. When he was on, Coryell could produce fireworks from his fretboard. Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House at Monteux presents Coryell and the band at its hottest. There are some misses along with the hits. But overall the band sounded great and was quite appreciated by the crowd that day.
"Tamari" is an Alphonse Mouzon composition. So it's no accident it is Return to Forever in nature. After all, Mouzon was once a member of that band. After a very pleasing ever-so-slightly Latin-leaning head arrangement, Triffan and Mouzon lay down a rhythm that Coryell shreds over. He picks lightning-quick scalar runs that are quite musical and impressive. A detour or two is taken for some pyrotechnical showing off. In this context – the fusion guitar hero of the day – these episodes come off quite well. Mandel's playing is good, but he is the victim of the passage of time. His keyboard tone has become a bit dated. This is not his fault and his playing should be appreciated for its place in those days. Quite seamlessly, Coryell and the band join up for an engaging groove. This was really Larry Coryell at his best. Of note is trumpeter Mike Lawrence. Sadly, he died young in 1983. But he was among just a handful of trumpet players who were able to break through on the fusion front.
In recent years, Larry seems to have successfully exorcized many of his personal demons and overcome his problems. And after a few years of playing standards and some ill-advised trolling in the smooth jazz swamps, Coryell has been involved in some fine projects including a revisit to his early '70s compositions and sounds, albeit with a modern approach.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky