Here's a forgotten fusion classic from 1975, featuring guitarist Larry Coryell and his cast of unbelievable musicians. Joining the guitarist on the Vanguard treasure are John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Miroslav Vitous, Billy Cobham, as well as Coryell's Eleventh House. This is fast and furious jazz-rock fusion, filled with rumbling rhythms, searing lead work, and an overall funky vibe.
The opening cut is a perfect indication of what you are in store for on this barn-burner. "Cover Girl" features Larry's Eleventh House, a band that could whip out heavy fusion licks with the best of them. Led by Coryell's fuzzy guitar tone, drummer Alphonse Mouzon and bassist Danny Trifan churn out some complex rhythms underneath the lead melody lines. Trumpet player Mike Lawrence and keyboardist Mike Mandel trade intricate riffs and solos with Coryell, helping rank this tune as one of fusions heaviest jams. On "Tyrone", Coryell and McLaughlin trade lethal guitar solos while Chick Corea's electric piano vamps add a nice funky avant-garde edge. Let's not fail to mention the rhythm tandem of Vitous and Cobham, who work well as a team, and it's a shame we never got to hear more from these two musicians together in another band format.
"Rocks" once again features the Eleventh House line-up. This Randy Brecker classic is given a royal treatment, with Mandel's electric piano and synths working in unison with Coryell's distorted and complex lines. Lawrence fills in for Brecker with some mean trumpet solos while Mouzon furiously blasts some mean fills and high-hat blasts. On "The Eyes of Love", Coryell goes solo for some tender acoustic guitar picking, while on the rousing swing of the title track Coryell and McLaughlin pay tribute to the jazz greats Wes Montgomery and Grant Green with some extended hard bop soloing above the walking bass lines of Vitous.
It may not show up on many essential fusion album lists, but Planet End certainly belongs there. Check it out folks!
1) Cover Girl (5:37)
2) Tyrone (11:35)
3) Rocks (4:48)
4) The Eyes of Love (3:21)
5) Planet End (8:45)