Friday, April 21, 2017

Eleventh House Party

Welcome to the start of the weekend, and the first of two homages to guitar gods recently departed.
Friday's lord of the strings passed on in February, appropriately after playing a blazing gig at a NYC jazz club. He was 73.
He is considered by many people to the father of fusion, and amongst the first -- if not the very first -- players to merge the improvisational flow of jazz with the pulsating, backbeat energy of rock, back when such alchemical combinations were as yet unheard of.
He first surfaced over 50 years ago, on one of the ten greatest jazz records of the 1960s, Chico Hamilton's The Dealer. After Chico he bounced into Gary Burton's pioneering jazz-rock group, playing on seminally indispensible records like Duster and A Genuine Tong Funeral. Before long he was recording under his own name and forming one of the bedrock ensembles of fusion, chronicled here today in their explosive prime.
A genuine master across different styles, he also made a whole bunch of gorgeous and reflective acoustic LPs, both on his own and in collaboration with topnotch Maestros such as John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia and Al DiMeola. If you were making a list of the most important six string samurai of the last several decades, he would have to be on it or it simply would not be complete.
He performed right up until the end, found dead in his hotel room in the middle of a sold-out run at Iridium in New York City, the jazz capital metropolis where 50 years previous he had made such a lasting and viscerally world-altering impact.
The basic point is that Larry Coryell had the chops of twenty guys and the ability to merge heretofore disparate styles of music in new and paradigm-shifting directions. The world of guitar is a lot less pyrotechnically blazing with him no longer in it.
His crowning glory might indeed be his band The Eleventh House, which he began in 1972 and which toured and recorded throughout the 1970s, also reforming a couple of times since. He had booked a full summer tour of it when he suddenly died two months ago.
It is this ensemble that we feature today, in a wild segment taped for Norwegian television on this very day in 1975, and sourced from an HD rebroadcast on the NRK-TV website. Watch out for monster drummer Alphonse Mouzon, whom I tributed at his passing at the end of last year.
Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House
Studio A
Oslo, Norway

01 Cover Girl
02 Low-Tee-Tah
03 The Funky Waltz
04 The Other Side
05 Diedre
06 Some Greasy Stuff

Total time: 38:55

Larry Coryell - guitar
Michael Lawrence - trumpet
Mike Mandel - keyboards
John Lee - bass
Alphonse Mouzon - drums

HD FLV file of an NRK digital rebroadcast
I shall return on Sunday with another homage to yet another recently-interred axemaster, but for now I'd encourage you to sample this wicked 38 minutes of mayhem from back when fusion was the happening thing, and our honoree Mr. C here -- who, as I said, is widely acknowledged as having helped invent it -- was at its absolute forefront.--J.
4.2.1943 - 2.19.2017

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