Coryells-selftitled_span3
July/August 2000

The Coryells
The Coryells
Chesky Records

This all-acoustic affair is also a family affair, teaming the great guitarist Larry Coryell with his two guitar-playing sons, Murali and Julian. Reminiscent of the father's 1978 acoustic offering, The Lion & The Ram, it includes something old (a cover of Larry's "Zimbabwe" from 1979's Tributaries), something new (Julian's ballad "Something Pretty"), something borrowed (Mingus' "Goodbye Porkpie Hat") and something blue (Murali's "Somebody's Got to Win, Somebody's Got to Lose"). The three also adapt Larry's "Sentenza Del Cuore" from his ambitious "Concerto for Two Jazz Guitars & Symphony Orchestra" and cover his "Low-Lee-Tah" from 1974's Introducing the Eleventh House, an album originally recorded when the two Coryell siblings were still in diapers.
The sparks fly on "Sink or Swim," Julian's bravado vehicle for his very accomplished fleet-fingered exchanges with dad. Bassist Brian Torff joins Julian for an intimate duet of his harmonically sophisticated "Something Pretty." Brother Murali adds an earthy presence to the proceedings with his gutsy, gruff vocals, bringing out Dad's natural blue note tendencies on Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More." Murali also turns in a persuasive reading of Al Green's soul anthem "Love and Happiness."
Original Eleventh House drummer Alphonse Mouzon, who plays strictly percussion throughout, contributes the ominous "Funky Waltz," a vampy vehicle for stretching that reveals the sons to be separate chips off the ol' block-Murali as urgent, pentatonic string bender, younger brother Julian as tastefully aggressive speed picker with a more adventurous harmonic vocabulary, which he capably demonstrates on his virtuosic solo piece, "Song for Emily."
Another highlight of this gathering of the Coryell tribe is Larry's beautiful solo acoustic showcase, "Transparence," a veritable clinic in the art of creative false harmonics playing.
As guitarist John Pizzarelli (son of jazz guitar great Bucky) writes in his brief liner notes: "There is an interesting chemistry that occurs between a father and his sons, and that chemistry can never be seen or heard better than in a musical setting among guitar players." He should know.

Originally published in July/August 2000
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