Larry Coryell

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969)

- Mervin Bronson -- bass 

- Ron Carter -- bass 

- Larry Coryell (RIP 2017) -- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards 

- Mike Mandel -- keyboards 

- Jim Pepper -- sax, flute 

- Bernard Purdie -- drums, percussion 

- Chuck Rainey -- bass, guitar 

- Albert Stinson -- bass 


  line up 2 (1972)

- Mervin Bronson -- bass

- Larry Coryell (RIP 2017) -- lead guitar

- Mike Mandel -- keyboards

- Steve Marcus -- sax

- Harry Wilkinson -- drums




- The Gary Burton Quartet

- The Checkers

- The Coryells

- The Larry Coryell Organ Trio

- The Dynamics

- The Eleventh Hour

- Et Cetera

- The Free Spirits

- Fuse One

- The Individuals

- The Jazz Composer's Orchestra

- The Jazz Rock Spirits

- The Mysterious Flying Orchestra

- The Night of Jazz Guitars

- The Guitars

- Urbaniak - Coryell

- Jack Walrath & the Masters of Suspense






Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Coryell

Company: Vanguard Apostolic

Catalog: VSD 6547

Year: 1969


Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original inner sleeve

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4410

Price: SOLD $20.00

Cost: $1.00


Normally I avoid jazz-rock fusion with a passion.  It's not that I don't admire the technique or dedication displayed by its advocates, rather the genre typically strikes me as cold and calculated.  In this instance It just so happens I was at a flea market and found a guy selling a bunch of LPs at a dollar a piece.  I picked up four albums and gave the guy a $5 bill.  Naturally he didn't have any change (probably BS on his part), so I ended up picking up this set out of desperation.


Darn did I luck out in this case!  


I'll be the first to tell you that my knowledge of Larry Coryell is pretty limited.  I've heard some of his later career jazz-rock offerings and while quite accomplished, most of it doesn't do much for me.  What I didn't realize is that Coryell also had some rock roots in his past.  As a teenager growing up in Washington State, he played in a number of rock bands and by the late 1960s he'd become an admirer of Cream and Jimi Hendrix.


All hyperbole aside, his second solo endeavor, 1969's "Coryell" is a guitar players dream.  Produced by Danny Weiss, tracks such as "Sex" and the blazing instrumental "The Jam with Albert" serve as a wonderful showcase for Coryell's instantly recognizable playing.  It's hard to describe, but he's incredibly versatile, able to effortlessly handle all types of genres.  He also plays with what may be rock's most biting tones.  Full of razor sharp, machine guy bursts, even at this early stage of his career, material such as "Beautiful Woman" and the pretty "Elementary Guitar Solo #5" displays a jazzy-orientation, but it's never overwhelming and never without attractive rhythms and melodies.  The album also sports a couple of Coryell vocal performances.  As a singer he won't shake your world, but on selections such as "No One Really Knows" he's much better than most reference works would have you believe.  Besides, backed by an impressive catalog of jazz buddies, including Bernard Purdie and Chuck Rainey, this is easily the most rock-oriented effort in his catalog.  Certainly not a typical Coryell offering and not meant to tell anyone to go out and buy his whole catalog, but an interesting, early career side trip.


"Coryell" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Sex (Larry Coryell) - 3:54

2.) Beautiful Woman (Larry Coryell) - 4:36

3.) The Jam with Albert (instrumental) (Larry Coryell) - 9:19


(side 2)

1.) Elementary Guitar Solo #5 (instrumental) (Larry Coryell) - 6:52

2.) No One Really Knows (Larry Coryell - Julie Coryell) - 5:08

3.) Morning Sickness (Larry Coryell) - 5:22

4.) Ah Wuv Ooh (instrumental) (Larry Coryell - Julie Coryell) - 4:24





Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Offering

Company: Vanguard

Catalog: VSD 79319

Year: 1972


Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original inner sleeve


Catalog ID: 5973

Price: $20.00


This was one of the first jazz-rock albums I ever bought (even though I didn't know it at the time).  Not to sound shallow, but I remember buying it because I recognized Coryell's name, but also for the colorful Jules Halfant cover.  It certainly looked like a psych rock album.  LOL   I'm normally not a big jazz-rock fusion fan, so in theory Larry Coryell's early career and recording catalog shouldn't do a great deal for me.  That said, 1972's "Offering" is one of those rare exceptions.  Produced by Danny Weiss, I quickly discovered these six extended instrumentals were jazz-rock fusion, but part of the set's saving grace was material like 'Scotland 1' and the title track put the album's emphasis more on rock than jazz. Yeah, there was a distinctive John McLaughlin feel on several of the tracks, including the mellow 'The Meditation of November 8th', but you had to admit Coryell could play a mean guitar. Coryell also benefited in having one of his strongest backing bands; this time out including bassist Mervin Bronson, keyboardist  Mike Mandel and drummer Harry Wilkinson.  It's not the perfect jazz-rock album, with tracks like 'Ruminations' way too jazzy for my ears, but the fact I can actually sit through this one without any real discomfort speaks volumes for it.  Not an album I'd want to hear everyday, but it's definitely one to hold on to ...  a cool rainy Sunday morning candidate for the turntable.


"Offering" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Foreplay (instrumental) (Larry Coryell) - 8:11  rating: **** stars

Opening up with some wild Mike Mandel fuzz-keyboards, 'Foreplay' burst into a surprisingly tuneful rock-influenced instrumental.  True, Steve Marcus' screeching sax started to irritate by the time you got a couple of minutes into the song, but then Coryell and the other players were given a chance to take over the spotlight and you ultimately had to admire the nice groove Coryell and company carved out on this one.  Eight minutes speeds by while listening to this one.

2.) Ruminations (instrumental) (Doug Davis) - 4:17 rating: ** stars

'Ruminations' was the most straightforward jazz-oriented track on the LP and one I didn't particularly care for.  The solo-for-everyone composition didn't do anyone a favor, but luckily it was also the shortest song on the collection.  Giving credit where due, Coryell did cut loose with some blistering fretwork, but you had to endure some really wonky fusion moves (and lots of Marcus' sax), to hear them.   

3.) Scotland I (instrumental) (Larry Coryell) - 6:26  rating: **** stars

Opening up with a Canterbury-jazz sounding blast of Steve Marcus sax, 'Scotland I' wandered around for a moment, sounding like a pre-show sound check.  And then the main composition kicked in.  Showcasing the combination of Coryell playing a cool ascending guitar scale, some neat Mandel fuzz keyboards, and Marcus' flaying saxophone, this one quickly built up a real head of steam.  Awesome rocking track that should dispel anyone who thought Coryell couldn't actually rock out.   


(side 2)

1.) Offering (instrumental) (Harry Wilkinson) - 6:37  rating: **** stars

The title track showcased Coryell's technical prowess on another surprisingly funky number (kudos to the Bronson-Wilkinson rhythm section for the tight groove).  Even Marcus sounded under control, at least making an attempt to stick with the script and hearing the combination of Coryell's lead guitar and Marcus' sax hitting the same groove was quite cool.  Yeah, they started to wander off towards the end of the song ...  

2.) The Meditation of November 8th (instrumental) (Larry Coryell) - 5:12 rating: *** stars

Slowing it way down and spotlighting some of Marcus' prettiest soprano sax work, 'The Meditation of November 8th' was the album's prettiest composition.   Marcus' sax served as the song's lead instrument with Coryell sort of following the melody with some nice guitar runs,  The track got a little discordant as it plugged along and ultimately I found the performance forgettable.  Best review I've ever seen for this one was "mellow dissonance".

3.) Beggar's Chant (instrumental) (Doug Davis) - 8:07  rating: *** stars

'Beggar's Chan' found the band (and in particular keyboardist Mandel), at their most experimental. Coryell seemingly added some electronic effects to his guitar repertoire before breaking out into one of his most conventional and enjoyable solos.. Luckily, those excursions were set on top of another solid Bronson-Wilkinson groove and Coryell came through with some of his best solo moves.  I can remember thinking I could figure out the appeal jazz-rock held for so many folks by checking this one out.  Needless to say, I never quite succeeded.  Come to think of it, that's the same thing with me and wine.