Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kowloon Jag 2013

This piece, Kowloon Jag was recorded originally in 1974 by Larry Coryell and his ground breaking fusion jazz ensemble, The Eleventh House. Here it is, 40 years later as Larry celebrates his 70th birthday with a band composed of himself, his son, Julian Coryell, who takes the first guitar solo, bassist Gary Brown,  George Brooks on Saxophone...Brooks is a remarkable musician who bridges the worlds of Indian classical music and jazz and the amazing Cindy Blackman-Santana on drums...who, if didn't know is married to Carlos Santana and plays on his recordings as well as with musicians as diverse as Buckethead, Bootsy Collins, Pharoah Saunders and Lenny Kravitz. I credit Coryell for inspiring me to want to learn how to play guitar. He is one of the words greatest guitarists and innovative creative forces. Starting as kid in Seattle playing rock, he soon began touring with Chico Hamilton and Gabor Szabo, then he became a member of Herbie Mann's group sharing guitar honors with the free jazz genius Sonny Sharrock. They both play on Mann's classic 1969 recording, Memphis Underground.  At the same time, he was part of the groundbreaking Gary Burton Quartet. He recorded some pretty amazing stuff with avant garde composer Michael Mantler.  Coryell was using a huge Gibson L-5...a full sized hollow body florentine cut away jazz guitar with f-holes that most guitarists stuff with foam to control the feed back it generates at high volumes. Coryell learned to use the feed back and Mantler wrote a piece for feedback and full orchestra on the first Jazz Composers Orchestra record from 1969. Being a jazz player with a rock background, he always played rock oriented music and after the break up of Cream, he formed a very interesting short lived band called FreeSpirit with Jack Bruce and Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer, Mitch Mitchell. They recorded one extremely rare record. But that was just the beginning of Coryell's journey into the future. He out together an ensemble in 1971 that is credited with the birth of the Fusion Jazz movement. They released a record called Spaces and the band included Miroslav Vitous on bass, who went on to become a founding member of Weather Report, Chick Corea on keyboards, who formed Return to Forever shortly afterwards and second guitarist, John Mcglaughlin and Billy Cobham on drums. Cobham and McGlaughlin of course formed the seminal Mahavishnu Orchestra later that year. I have to post a version his version of the Gabor Szabo composition, Gypsy Queen released on the recording, Barefoot Boy. Recorded on a stormy winter night in a studio in Manhattan when the rest of the band he assembled for the sessions couldn't make it except for a percussionist and sax player, Steve Marcus, it alone proves beyond a doubt that Larry was one of the most incredible players of his time. It is the complexity, instead of simple disjointed jazz phrases, he writes technically amazing short stories, riveting novellas of improvisation that have a beginning and an end. 
The entire recording, Barefoot Boy/Larry Coryell/1971

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