Larry Coryell & Alphonse Mouzon: Transvested Express
Back Together Again (Wounded Bird WOU 8220)
John Lee (bass).
Composed by Philip Catherine.
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
Larry Coryell and Alphonse Mouzon were important factors in the early history of fusion. Power drummer and part-time movie actor Mouzon is probably best known in the jazz world for his stint with Coryell's Eleventh House band. Eleventh House, propelled by Mouzon's drumming on several of its releases and Coryell's fiery guitar on all of them, resided on the top step of the second tier of fusion band hierarchy. The band could be quite impressive, but never reached the performance levels of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report or Return to Forever.
Back Together Again marked a reunion for Coryell and Mouzon after Eleventh House. But, truth be told, it had been only two years since they played in that band. So these were not some long-lost souls getting back together after decades of separation. Coryell and Mouzon, as expected, show great affinity for each other's playing. But the joys of this track are its compositional scope, the interesting arrangement and interplay of Philip Catherine and Larry Coryell on acoustic guitars. The two players were frequent collaborators, so the quality of their sympathetic playing could be expected. However, the sound of two acoustic guitars playing the strummed-chords introduction provides a unique contrast to Mouzon's bashing. Catherine and Coryell bounce back and forth between acoustic and electric throughout. The tune sure was on some sort of express. Amid changing tempos, time signatures and instrumentation, the tune takes you on quite a creative ride.
You have to look at the title "Transvested Express" twice to make sure it doesn't read the way you thought it read. Even so, it is still difficult to understand its meaning. All of the definitions I could find lead in the same direction – or many changing directions – as the character of the composition implies. I suppose it could be just as simple as Philip Catherine having a man's first name and a woman's last name. Yeah, that must be it.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky