Larry Coryell: Spaces (Infinite)
Larry Coryell (guitar)
Spaces (Vanguard VMD-79345)
Composed by Julie Coryell.
Recorded: New York, 1969
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
According to the book Milestones 2: the Music and Times of Miles Davis Since 1960 by Jack Chambers, up-and-coming guitarist Larry Coryell was sitting in the crowd at Count Basie's nightclub in 1969 for a performance of the Tony Williams Lifetime band. Williams's outfit featured guitarist John McLaughlin and keyboardist Larry Young. At this time among jazz cognoscenti, Coryell was considered the next guitar superstar. But according to Coryell, "After 30 seconds of his [McLaughlin's] first solo, I turned to my wife and said this is the best guitar player I've ever heard in my life."
Shortly thereafter Coryell invited McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea and Miroslav Vitous into the studio to record Spaces. What a lineup! This was a veritable who's who of jazz fusion before they were anybody. It is why Spaces is now a legendary recording.
The writing credit for "Spaces (Infinite)" is given to Julie Coryell, Larry's then-wife, to whom he uttered the above quote (which, incidentally, Jack Chambers took from a Leonard Feather article). She also wrote one of the first books about fusion, which was reissued a few years back.
Coryell and McLaughlin offer background strums as Vitous bows an ominous opening. A bit of dark funk dominates the scene. A slow melodious passage is heard. Vitous puts down the bow and begins a quick walk. Coryell solos first. He strikes rapid truncated notes over McLaughlin's accompanying chords and Cobham's aggressive rhythm. He plays some killer arpeggio runs as he hands off to McLaughlin. He offers more twists and turns and texture in his playing. Both players succeed in being strong and original without getting in each other's way. Chick Corea does not appear to have played on the tune. "Spaces (Infinite)" appeared as the first cut of the album and turned out to be a very good indication of the brilliance awaiting the listener. I give credit to Coryell for bringing McLaughlin into the studio. It showed he was a brave and confident musician.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky