Sunday, May 14, 2017

"Toku Do"-- jazz guitar with Larry Coryell

Image result for toku do larry coryellThe late Larry Coryell recorded about 100 albums in his career, an amazingly prolific guitarist indeed, but as with the case of a gifted improviser with a desire to stay engaged with their art through ongoing collaborations, not every disc clicked with me. Toku Do is one of those gems, however, a crisp and swinging set of standards combining Coryell's fabled swiftness of phrase with a ongoing feeling of melodic invention and snappy delicacy of touch. There is, in fact, an uncharacteristic lightness of touch for Coryell, a musician who's hard attack at times spoiled a splendid phrase or a quicksilver run. Here, is lines are fluid, smooth, not slick. When he wanted,his technical mastery was matched by transcendent grace. More than one guitarist has mentioned that when playing with him on tour, it wasn't unusual for them to marvel at Coryell's inventions, running through ideas no other guitarist could create. Yes, he was that good, and Toku Do is the proof. These are fine readings and reinterpretations of Monk, Ellington and Rogers and Hart, with Coryell weaving, pirouetting, and otherwise coaxing delightfully animated extemporizing from the classic material. The band of Stanley Cowell on piano and Buster Williams and Beaver Harris on bass and drums, respectively, keep matters effectively swinging and rhythmically nuanced--Cowell is a sterling foil for the leader, providing richly shaded color and brightly elaborated solos of his own to the session, with Williams and Harris making sure all of this has a heartbeat the swings gladly.

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