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Air Dancing

Larry Coryell Quartet
Larry Coryell guitar
Stanley Cowell piano
Buster Williams bass
Billy Hart drums

Rhapsody in Blue

Prayer for Peace
Air Dancing
Impressions Sienna "Welcome, My Darling"
Phapsody in Blue
Dual Force

Total time: 65.44

The disc, which was recorded in the late spring 1988, offers eloquent testimony to that fact. In the company of jazz masters Stanley Cowell, Buster Williams and Billy Hart, Larry soars through a fervent set of boppish group originals and timeless classics. While the traditional rhythm-section format establishes the foundation here, the music erected upon it is anything but predictable.The quartet recorded this performance on June 4, 1988, at the end of a month-long tour of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Portugal and Spain. The group had performed together at irregular intervals since 1985. So the ensemble playing was tight, and the improvisation was superior. "I loved this group", Larry said recently. "I revered both the musicianship and friendship of each member. We overcame a lot of obstacles on the road to play this music together".

Like most gifted artists, Larry is a relentless, self-critic. Because of the live nature of this recording, he has expresses reservations aout the guitar tones on a couple of cuts here. Yet, after repeated listening, I find his criticism unduly harsh. This issuperior post-bop Jazz, created by four of the finest musicians performing today.
The record opens with Prayer for Peace, a popular Stanley Cowell composition which sets the standard for the music, that follows, Williams and Hart form a critical mass of rhythmic energy that propels both Larry and Stanley through extended examinations of the composition's theme.

Larry calls Buster William's Air Dancing "probably the best tune on the record". Opening with a dark and stately arco bass figure, the tune showcases Hart's commanding brush work and Williams' deep, rich tone and flawless sense of time. Larry's opening solo is a perfect balance of sound and space; it is the work of a master musician at the top of his form. Meanwhile, in both his brief solo and inventive comping, Cowell demonstrates why he is considered one of the finest pianists in jazz today.
John Coltrane's Impressions is taken at a blazing tempo, with exhilarating results. "The tempo was way up there", Larry said. He recalled that the pop-star Sting was in town that night, and members of his band were in the audience. "If you listen very closely, you might hear Branford Marsalis' saxophone", Larry said. "He sat in with us, but we didn't have a microphone for him. This was such a burning version of Impressions, I left it in". Listen, too, for the marvelous effect of Larry's harmonics over Buster Williams' closing bass statement. And check out the audience's enthusiastic response when the tune roars to its conclusion. Larry's right: This one is a keeper.

The lilting spirit of Brazil adds an extra dash of romance to Cowell's sprightly love song, "Sienna: Welcome, My Darling". The guess here is that Sienna is an upbeat ode to a definitely requited love.The Works of George Gershwin play an important part in Larry's solo concert performances, so it isn't surprising that he included a Gershwin tune in the Magnètic Terrace set liest. In this right, Rhapsody in Blue became a flanger-driven, flamenco-inflected tour de force. A solo effort until the rhythm section checks in for the powerful finale, this arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue is aperfect vehicle for Larry's astonishing chops. Unlike other speed players, who substitute raw technique for substance, Larry both bums and has something important to say.I first heard the Coryell composition Zimbabwe on the all-acoustic Tributaries, an album he recorded in 1979 with John Scofield and Joe Beck. As Larry notes, this version prossesses a raw energy that isn't found in the earlier recording. Also, Larry's relectric guitar tone is darker and more burnished here. His driven solo is a smoldering series of cascading runs and ringing harmonics. Like Air Dancing, Buster Williams' Dual Force, which closes the set, is a tune the group had wanted to record for some time. "The band was familiar with the material, and we really wanted to burn", Larry said.And burn they did. For my money, small group jazz doesn't get much better than this.
Jeff Davis, Columnist & Critic

Our price: 13,45 EUR

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