Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Larry Coryell - 1976 - Aspects

Larry Coryell 

01. Kowloon Jag (5:48)
02. Titus (5:29)
03. Pyramids (5:21)
04. Rodrigo Reflections (4:39)
05. Yin-Yang (4:42)
06. Woman Of Truth And Future (6:06)
07. Ain't This (5:02)
08. Aspects (4:24)

- Gerry Brown / Drums
- Larrry Coryell / Electric and Acoustic Guitars
- Terumasa Hino / Trumpet and Flugelhorn
- John Lee / Bass
- Mike Mandel/ Keyboards and Synthesizers

House Guests:
- Mtume / Percussion
- Danny Toan / Rhythm Guitar
- Steve Khan / Acoustic Guitar
- Mike Brecker / Tenor Saxophone
- Randy Brecker / Trumpet
- Dave Sanborn / Alto Saxophone

This should be the Eleventh House's fourth album (this is a confusing discography given the Planet End album and the regular appearance of non-EH tracks on EH albums) and might just be their last studio album as well. Sporting a ghostly artwork and produced by Randy Brecker, this album is rather different than previous ones, with Mouzon having moved on (replaced by Gary Brown), but Mandel (keyboards) and Lee (bass) are still around and the trumpet is now with the Japanese Terumasa Hino. Among the guests are the Brecker brothers, Sanborn and the usual Khan on guitar.
The opening Kowtoon Jag is a splendid song filled searing guitars from LC, but the whole band shines, with even in the ansence of Mouzon's usual drumming, as Brown puts in his own paw in there. The closing section (just before the track ends with repeating the riff succession) with Lee's bass is simply awesome. The ultra funky Titus has a brass section resembling Tower Of Power, with Coryell managing a soaring call and response guitar passage with them. Pyramids is again very funky tune, but the "big" brass section is gone and it gives even more room for Coryell and Khan, but Mandel pulls in some excellent synth lines (his track). The closing Rodrigo Reflections shall give the confirmation that there are some definitive Spanish overtones over the full vinyl side, but the track is an acoustic solo piece, that shouldn't have fit on this album.

On the flipside, the very percussively funky Yin-Yang (penned by the rhythm section) is closer to Tower Of Power, EW&T, Commodores and Chic-type of funk than Eleventh House material with the prominent brass section. Mandel wrote the following Woman track, a slow starter, allowing him to play the electric piano and the track proceeding through a flurry of mood changes and tempos in a very prog manner. Excellent stuff. Some really cool swingy-funk brass section lines give a very fun edge to Ain't It Is, as is the closing short but ultra fast closing title track and its awesome speed of execution.

Although Aspects is most likely the last of Eleventh House, it doesn't mean that it is any less worthy than Introducing, Planet End, Level One or the live album. As a matter of fact, Aspects is more consistent and even than its predecessor. Excellent album giving an idea why EH was the better moment in LC's career, but it won't explain why EH never managed the success of RTF, WR, MO.

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