Coryell, Larry

Band members               Related acts

  line up 1 (1969)

- Mervin Bronson -- bass 

- Ron Carter -- bass 

- Larry Coryell -- 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 - lead guitar

- Mike Mandel -- keyboards

- Steve Marcus -- sax

- Harry Wilkinson -- drums




- The Eleventh Hour




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


As mentioned earlier, 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, make no mistake these six extended instrumentals were jazz-rock fusion, but part of the set's saving grace was that on much of the album the emphasis was more rock than jazz.  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 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.


- Opening up with some wild Mandel fuzz-keyboards, 'Foreplay' burst into a surprisingly tuneful rock-influenced instrumental.  True, Marcus screeching started to irritate by the time you got a couple of minutes into the song, but then 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.  rating: **** stars

- 'Ruminations' was the most jazz-oriented track on the LP and one I didn't particularly care for.  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 real wonky fusion moves (and lots of Marcus' sax), to hear them.   rating: ** stars  

- Opening up with a 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.   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 ...  rating: **** stars

- Slowing it way down, 'The Meditation of November 8th' was pretty, but ultimately forgettable.  rating: ** stars

- 'Beggar's Chan' found the band (and in particular keyboardist Mandel), at their most experimental.  Luckily, those excursions were set on top of another solid Bronson-Wilkinson groove and Coryell came through with some of his best solo moves.  rating: *** stars


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

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

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


(side 2)

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

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

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