Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Larry Coryell - 1975 - Level One

Larry Coryell 
Level One

01. Level One (3:21)
02. The Other Side (4:35)
03. Diedra (3:56)
04. Some Greasy Stuff (3:30)
05. NYCTOPHOBIA (4:03)
0te (5:32)
a) Entrance
b) Repose
c) Exit
07. Eyes Of Love (2:35)
08. Struttin`With Sunshine (3:20)
09. That`s The Joint (4:03)

- Larry Coryell / guitar
- Mike Mandel / keyboards
- Michael Lawrence / flugel horn trumpet
- John Lee / bass
- Alphonse Mouzon / drums, percussion

 Level One is classic prog influenced hard rockin jazz fusion from the mid 70s in the style popularized by Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and Billy Cobham. With their upbeat optimistic grooves and hyper nerd funk, Eleventh House probably favors RTF more than the other two. Coryell and his gang are far more than just competent as they energetically rip through these tunes, yet they never seem to elevate themselves to quite the same stature as some of the previously mentioned bands with whom they share a common sound. Although Eleventh House might just slightly border on prog-fusion lite when compared to the genres greatest, you can't blame Coryell, whose guitar burns with a gritty hard rock sound that puts him ahead of all other fusion fret-meisters when it comes to pure heavy rock vibes and sound.
At their best, Eleventh House uses heavy metalized synth lines in conjunction with the trumpet to produce orchestrated futuristic melodies. Side one closer Nyctophobia is especially strong with a dissonant heavy synth melody that leads to an impossibly fast thrash/fsuion groove, courtesy powerhouse drummer Alphonse Mouzon, which peaks with more heavy jagged synthesizer lines, nice stuff. Other tunes that set them apart from the 70s fusion crowd feature echoed trumpet over space grooves that predate the sound of 90s acid jazz. Overall the playing on here is excellent, everyone has the expected ultra nimble skills expected of the jazz rock crowd during this era. The only problem with this album is that it only suffers in the inevitable comparison to their peer group who had the advantage of better song writers and arrangers.

Hardly a clone of Mahavishnu and RTF, Eleventh House are at their best when they accent their uniqueness, futuristic synth/horn lines and Coryell's extra greasy hard rockin guitar. This album is highly recommended for fans of classic mid-70s progressive jazz-rock.

1 comment: