Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House: Birdfingers




Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House


Introducing The Eleventh House with Larry Coryell (Vanguard VMD 79342)

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Larry Coryell (guitar), Randy Brecker (trumpet),

Mike Mandel (keyboards), Danny Triffan (bass), Alphonse Mouzon (drums)


Composed by Larry Coryell


Recorded: New York, 1974


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

The Eleventh House was guitarist Larry Coryell's version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and Weather Report. The hyperkinetic "Birdfingers" would have fit nicely into any one of those bands' repertoires. The musicianship in this pioneering unit was superb. Coryell's use of trumpeter Randy Brecker, and in later incarnations Mike Lawrence, was a departure in the sound formula from the early fusion bands mentioned.

The opening bars of "Birdfingers" sound like the 2025 theme from TV's Wheel of Fortune game show. Alphonse Mouzon spins the wheel with a snare roll and some heavily placed accents. The melodic intro is a cavalcade of scalar riffs played round-robin and then shared by trumpeter Brecker, keyboardist Mandel, and Coryell. Each musician is playing so fast that the new notes of H and I are created. Despite the speed, nobody gets in each other's way. Supersonic calls and responses ensue. No one loses a turn. Mouzon makes sure of this. Coryell's tone is somewhat north of treble. Brecker's provocative caterwauling is an effective fusion device. He is almost a synthesizer player. In conjunction with Mandel and Triffan, the band returns to answer the puzzle.

B_rdf_ngers. I'll buy a vowel, Pat.

Interestingly, Wheel of Fortune premiered shortly after the release of this album. This should be investigated.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 David wilson // Jan 31, 2009 at 04:58 AM
    The Eleventh House the best band of all time, conceptually innovative and musically breathtaking.