Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Larry Coryell - Tricycles

Jazz ├╝ber guitarist Larry Coryell has been hinting at a studio set like this for a long time now: a solid, top to bottom six-string jazz date with a crack rhythm section. Drummer Paul Wertico was on board for the dates that produced the Power Trio album, but the addition of bassist Mark Egan in the studio balances this equation perfectly. Interestingly, Wertico and Egan are both former sidemen from the Pat Metheny Group (albeit at different times). One thing both players have in common, and makes them so integral here, is their love of lyricism. Coryell, who has an astonishing variety of styles at his ready disposal, concentrates on it here in spades. Whether the tune is a smoking, bluesy swinger like the opener "Immer Geradeaus," the ultramodern "Good Citizen Swallow," that graces the edge of soft jazz-rock but never goes there, or the edgy arpeggiattic workout in "Spaces Revisited," the deeply haunting read of Monk's "Round Midnight," Coryell is virtually singing through his instrument. His focus on sonority and lush harmonic extrapolations is given weight by his rhythm section, who dance and weave around one another as a unit. The balance of Tricycles is its most startling aspect. These cats sound like they've been playing together for decades. Nuance, impression, and subtle suggestion are all incorporated in the mix for a wonderful melodic approach to modern creative jazz. The other Monk tune here, "Well You Needn't," is given an entirely new dimension by this approach because Coryell can concentrate on Monk's extrapolated harmonic ideas in his solo, yet roots the entire thing in a deft, gritty, bluesy frame. This is a straight-ahead date that is full of fresh ideas and compositions, as well exciting playing that points toward a new era for Coryell, and it numbers among his finest recordings.
Review by Thom Jurek - AMG

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