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Coryell,Larry: Earthquake At The Avalon

Larry Coryell is a bit of an unsung hero. Honing his skills as far back as the 50s and 60s, he blazed his own trail. Using elements of rock , blues and jazz, he created a sound all his own. On October 13, 2005, he assembled a band (which included his son Julian) and dug into his back catalogue to put on a special concert, to be captured for posterity on CD (and DVD). Earthquake At The Avalon is the name of this little piece of history.

The disc opens with, appropriately enough, "The Opening", a slightly psychedelic-tinged number which allows Larry to loosen up his chops a bit. The disc then veers off into blues mode for a couple of tracks. "Souls Dirge" and "Slow Blues" (one of two tracks to feature David Hidalgo of Los Lobos on guitar) are fairly predictable blues fare with some solid guitar work, but nothing extremely original. They also feature a little bit too much of Coryell's voice, which is adequate at the best of times. Decent numbers, but not the best the disc has to offer. "Half A Heart" follows suit. The disc is now veering towards a more distinctly jazz mood, and getting more interesting with each number. This track has Coryell trading riffs with Hidalgo. Things are heating up!

The second half of this show begins with the lovely "The Dream Thing". It's a solo guitar piece that segues into a guitar/drum duo "Stiff Neck", an old time fan favorite. "Morning Sickness", which blends in some funky elements to add a little spice and color to the jazz elements already prevalent, is a great uptempo number that showcases the band a little more than previous numbers have. The penultimate track, "The Real Great Escape" brings us back into a more bluesy territory, albeit with certain rock overtones. It has a definite late 60s blues-rock vibe to it and features very groovy guitar passages. This brings us to the disc's closer, the Wayne Shorter inspired " The Dragon Gate". This song has often played a prominent role in any Larry Coryell show, and clocking in at over 16 minutes long, it's the showcase piece of the entire disc. We are now squarely in jazz mode as every instrument gets featured.A Freddie Hubbard-like trumpet solo, played over some funky bass gives way to some soulful, lyrical playing by Mr Coryell. He really digs deep on this track and gives a superlative performance.

Thus the curtain falls on a very good show. Although a little spotty in places, the disc acts as a fine testament to the many facets of the guitar wizardry of an old master.

Track Listing:

  1. The Opening
  2. Souls Dirge
  3. Slow Blues
  4. Half A Heart
  5. The Dream Thing/Stiff Neck
  6. Morning Sickness
  7. The Real Great Escape
  8. The Dragon Gate

Added: March 24th 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Language: english

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