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.

Larry Coryell - 1975 - The Restful Mind

Larry Coryell
The Restful Mind

01. Improvisation On Robert De Visee's Menuet 2 (8:13)
02. Ann Arbor (5:01)
03. Pavane For A Dead Princess (5:40)
04. Improvisation On Robert De Visse's Sarabande (5:20)
05. Song For Jim Webb (3:15)
06. Julie La Belle (4:07)
07. Restful Mind (3:12)

- Larry Coryell / acoustic & electric guitars
- Ralph Towner / guitar
- Glen Moore / acoustic bass
- Colin Walcott / congas, tabla

This album is a bit of an oddity in Larry Coryell's discography of the 70's. First it was recorded during the life of The Eleventh House, second, this album is almost more of an Oregon album, (if you'll except the LC songwriting) as both Walcott, Moore and Towner are a major part of the album's soul. Well, LC holds as much ties with Oregon (the state he lived part of his life) as the band itself, and with a superb sunset landscape artwork (and an even more stunning inner gatefold), again produced by the in-house chief Danny Weiss, the album is a pure breath of fresh air.

The opening lengthy Indian raga Mettuet 3 gives a good overview of what's to come in the rest of the album. Ann Arbor is more centred around LC, the Oregon members only intervening in the middle section, but the track is a pure gem, unlike its successor, the LC-rearranged Ravel piece Dead Princess, where LC is solo. The flipside opens on another improv of Devisee, this time a Sarabande, but the general feel remains unchanged from the other side of the vinyl. Beit Jim Webb, Julie or the title track, the show is for Larry, but the Oregon members are a stellar supporting cast.

Although I wouldn't call TRM essential by any means, if you choose to investigate the acoustic Coryell, this album and Lion & Ram are the ones to start with.

Larry Coryell - 1975 - Planet End

Larry Coryell 
Planet End

01. Cover Girl (5:38)
02. Tyrone (11:38)
03. Rocks (4:48)
04. The Eyes Of Love (3:21)
05. Planet End (8:45)

Previously unreleased material from sessions for the albums " Spaces " (1970) and " Introducing Larry Coryell and The Eleventh House" (1974)

Tracks 2, 3, 5
- Larry Coryell / guitar
- Mahavishnu John McLaughlin / guitar
- Miroslav Vitous / double bass
- Chick Corea / piano

Tracks 1, 2, 4
Larry Coryell with The Eleventh House
- Larry Coryell / guitar
- Mike Lawrence / trumpet
- Mike Mandel / piano, synthesizer
- Danny Trifan / bass
- Alphonse Mouzon / drums

Again graced with a Jacques Wyrs artwork, this album is a bit of a pot-pourri mixing Eleventh House tracks with some other tracks that seemed to come out of the Spaces sessions (same line-up anyway) and a solo guitar piece.
Indeed the Mouzon-penned Cover Girl could easily come out of Eleventh House's debut album (it could've replaced advantageously Coryell's guitar track Gratitude) with its mid-MO mid-WR feel. The only thing missing is Brecker's trumpet, here replaced by M Lawrence's, but it's simply not the same. Ditto for the Brecker-written Rocks, which would've easily replaced the boring Dream theme on the debut album.

The Vitous-McL-Cobham-Corea tracks are indeed reminiscent of Spaces (the track, more than the album) back from 69. The 11-mins+ Tyrone is a pure scorcher, a torrid piece of electrified jazz (but not really jazz-rock) where everyone surpasses their own boundaries, but at the risk of bordering the cacophony at times, fortunately not often. At times the track is reminiscent of Tony Williams' Lifetime (this is a Larry Young track, after all) as well. The closing title track is also a fine electrified jazz, where unfortunately Cobham does a drum solo, thankfully not long,

The Eyes Of Love could also be coming from Spaces & here, LC plays all the instruments himself. A weird mix of two LC era in one album, Planet End is indeed good enough to get that fourth track, although I am not calling it essential as opposed to EH's debut. Up to your tastes, really!!!

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.

Larry Coryell - 1974 - Introducing The Eleventh House

Larry Coryell -
Introducing The Eleventh House

01. Birdfingers
02. The Funky Waltz
03. Low Lee Tah
04. Adam Smasher
05. Joy Ride
06. Yin
07. Theme For A Dream
08. Gratitude
09. Ism-ejercicio
10. Right On Yàll

- Larry Coryell / guitar
- Randy Brecker / trumpet
- Mike Mandel / keyboards
- Danny Trifan / bass
- Alphonse Mouzon / drums

As the title indicates, this LC's new fusion group, as he thought it was also pertinent to build a JR/F group as McL had (MO), or Zawinul and Shorter (WR), or Corea (RTF). So in came The Eleventh House, with a solid line-up, with powerhouse drummer Alphonse Mouzon, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Mike Mandel on keys and little-known Tritan on bass. Again produced by Vanguard label in-house Danny Weiss (it seems LC only wanted him), this album comes again with a major psychey and spacey artwork from Jacques Wyrs. But as LC was one of the last great jazzman to get his group together (or jump on the bandwagon if you wish), he wouldn't really be as successful either commercially or artistically. This EH project will not be a vehicle for its leader, the way MO would be for McL, as LC will regularly leave space for Alphonse Mouzon and Mike Mandel writing songs (two each on this album). The grouop has its roots in the previous LC solo album Offering.

While this debut album smokes in places, and rocks your wimpy arse to the ground, it also has its share of flaws and fails to really convince completely as did Inner Mounting Flame or Weather Report's debut did. Starting on the ultra fast asc/desc-ending riff of Birdfingers, which resembles a bit MO's first album, Brecker gets the solos for himself. The following Mouzon-penned Funky Waltz is more reminiscent of WR's Mysterious Traveller (same ideal: find a groove and stick to it, soloing away), released the same year, with Brecker's trumpet replacing Shorter's sax. Low-Lee-Tah (I suppose Lolita) is a slow torrid fusion, seemingly crossing early MO and early WR, and it comes out as a pure scorcher. The Mandel-written Adam Smasher should be the pianist's bravery piece, but Brecker again seems to steal the show, with Coryell's wah-wah guitar solo equally impressive. Mandell can't catch his moment in his other track, Joy Ride, and his choice of synth is astonishing for the year (he must've been one of the first to own it), but I was never fond of that sound, which will pollute the later 70's fusion albums.

On the flipside, Yin kicks in open doors, but it's so sweet to get this type of 100 mph track right between MO and WR, RTF being not far away, either. 100% molten lava pouring out of the crater of your speakers, with again the same synth. The Dream theme is a slow and rather uninteresting tune, lacking the energy of its sister tracks. Gratitude is a guitar solo piece that would've been best left out, and saved for solo album. Ism-Ejercico is much reminiscent of Yin and Birdfinger, again finding its influences on the MO/WR axis. The closing Right On (Mouzon-penned) repeats the formula of Funky Waltz with better luck and finesse.

Soooo, aside a weaker passage on the flipside, Eleventh House's debut is a very impressive start and maybe the group's finer moments, even if there will be more. Maybe LC's most

Larry Coryell - 1973 - The Real Great Escape

Larry Coryell 
The Real Great Escape

01. The Real Great Escape
02. Are You Too Clever
03. Love Life`s Offering
04. Makes Me Want To Shout
05. All My Love`s Laughter
06. Scotland II
07. PF Sloan

- Larry Coryell / guitar. ARP synthesizer, vacals
- Mervin Bronson / bass
- Mike mandel / piano, ARP synthesizer
- Steve Marcus / Tenor & soprano saxophone
- Harry Wilkinson / drums
- Earl Drouen / congas
- Julie Coryell / vocals

After three fantastic albums such as LaVG, BB & Offering, would LC manage to get one more under his belt? Unchanged line-up, still the usual Danny Weiss on the production stool, the main ingredients changing here would seem to be the return of wife Julie and the return of frequent singing from both spouses. Oh yeah, we get to see the ARP synth's first appearance, toyed by both LC and Mandel. Taking its name on a track from Barefoot Boy, and sporting an appropriate artwork, the album fails to pay homage to the BB track.

Indeed, TRGE is a sub-par album that ranges from almost country rock with brass/horns arrangements ala BS&T as in the closing PF Sloan or semi Savoy Brown boogie of the title track, the only long song that allows a bit of an escape from basic song structures. Wife Julie signs two tracks, while hubby Larry signs four, the rest being covers, two of them from Jim Webb. The Scotland II track might just be the album's only "highlight" (if we can call it that), with the presence of the afore-mentioned ARP synth, but one can't say it is used that wisely, but at least it allows the track to blow over the tight structures of the songs present on this album, and give LC a bit of space to expand. But the break is not big enough to allow the escape.

Don't get me wrong, not everything is bad on this album, there are moments of brilliance, the thing being that they are much fewer and farther apart.

Larry Coryell - 1972 - Offering

Larry Coryell 

01. Foreplay ( 8:10 )
02. Ruminations ( 4:17 )
03. Scotland I ( 6:41 )
04. Offering ( 6:46 )
05. The Meditation Of November 8th ( 5:12 )
06. Beggar`s Chant ( 8:03 )

- Larry Coryell / guitar
- Harry Wilkinson / drums
- Mervin Bronson / bass
- Mike Mandel / electric piano with fuzz-wah
- Steve Marcus / soprano saxophone

Recorded January 17, 18, 20, 1972; Vanguard Studios, New York

After the splendid Barefoot Boy, would Larry Coryell's troupes manage to follow it up as brilliantly with Offering?? Certainly LC didn't feel the need to change a winning team, so he also kept producer Weiss. With a semi-psych artwork, you'd guess this album would allow for looser themes, but actually, quite the opposite, this is a collection of much tighter tracks.

Sonically the album is fairly different (partly a production thing), and you "get" this right away in the album's longest track, Foreplay, which as the title indicates is only a warm up, with everyone getting a change to loosen up the fingers. Ruminations is somewhat more of a straighter jazz tune, but flirting constantly with dissonance, this is probably the album's hardest tune to play. The much easier Scotland I is more in the style of the previous BB or Nucleus-type of fusion.

The flipside starts on the drummer Wilkinson title track, a red-hot mid-tempo track taking the usual Bronson-Wilkinson Hendrix-trio, but with LC, Mandel and Markus up front, the mood is definitely fusion- esque and finishing up at 100 MPH. Great stuff. A rather solid change of pace with the ultra-slow Meditation track, which tends to bore the listener. The closing 8-mins Beggar's Chant is another pure beauty, a mid-tempo torrid blister on your speaker cones that will melt them down would the track last longer.

Larry Coryell - 1971 - Fairyland

Larry Coryell 

01. Soul`s Dirge
02. Eskdalemuir
03. Stones
04. Further Explorations For Albert Stinson

Recorded live at Montreux, Switzerland June,18, 1971

- Larry Coryell / guitar & vocals on track 1, side 1
- Chuck Rainey / bass
- Bernard Purdie / drums

Although this album was released on the unusual (for Larry Coryell) label Zodiac in 76, the album was recorded live at the Montreux festival but it's not specified the year anywhere on the vinyl , but my guess would 70, given the Rainy (bass) and Purdie (drums) line-up (they're not mentioned on the sleeve either) and the music developed being very close of an Hendrix-ey blues-jazz-rock that is also present on the Village Gate album. With a weird electrical fantasy artwork, the sleeve also claims the some previously- released material, but I have yet to encounter it.

Just four tracks spread unevenly (timewise) over the two sides, the second of which is only clocking at 14 minutes. Funnily enough the track names given on the sleeve don't follow the names Larry announces during the concert. Go figure! The opening almost 10 mins Souls Dirge is a brilliant jazz-blues exploration that shows us what Hendrix might have done in his first steps in the jazz direction as he had intended to go before his death. Larry is brilliant at imitating jimmy but fails to better his work, but Larry shows his nice voice. The following Eksdalemuir is more of the same, but here the track is instrumental.

The flipside shows a slightly different facet, where the blues is much less present, Larry doing some amazing soloing stretching the boundaries of dissonance. Both Stone and and Further Explorations are explosive tracks that are not far away from Guru Guru's UFO album minus the space rock sounds and this flipside is definitely more progressive than its flipside. If you love a guitar trio, with few riffs and almost no typical song structure, then this album and the Village Gate one are both right up your alley.

Larry Coryell - 1971 - Basics

Larry Coryell 

01. Call to the Higher Consciousness (5:17)
02. Slow Blues (4:22)
03. Friday Night (2:22)
04. Half a Heart (3:30)
05. Sex (4:32)
06. Tyrone (3:00)
07. Jam With Albert (2:55)
08. Organ Blues (5:19)

- Larry Coryell / guitar and vocals
- Mike Mandel / organ
- Ron Carter / electric bass
- Chuck Rainey / electric bass
- Bernard Purdie / drums
- Steve Haas / drums
- Ray Mantilla / percussion

Recorded at Apostolic Studios in 1968/69
1971 LP Vanguard Recording Society, Inc.

Originally the tracks on this album were recorded in 68 & 69, and intended for release, but didn't see the light of day until 71 or even 76 (depending on the country of release), but several tracks were released in different versions in LC's late-60's/early 70's albums. They were repackaged in a wild psychedelic package at the aforementioned dates, but by that time LC's music was vastly different so some of these songs might seem quite dated, even then.

There are some straight (Slow) blues tracks, some late 60's Yarbirds-style rockers (Consciousness, Friday Night), other more Cream-like psych-rock (Half A Heart, Sex, Jam With Albert) and slightly jazzy rock (Tyrone & Organ Blues)

Difficult to call this "album" essential for progheads, but while vastly influenced by his then-heroes, Basics might just give you a clue how a jazz giant navigated from his rock roots to jazz rock, then pure jazz., but it won't give the full blown impact of LC's best rocking albums. Still worth a listen, but hardly a priority.

Larry Coryell - 1971 - Barefoot Boy

Larry Coryell 
Barefoot Boy

01. Gypsy Queen
02. The Great Escape
03. Call To Higher Consciousness

- Larry Coryell / guitar
- Steve Marcus / soprano saxophone, tenor sax,
- Mervin Bronson / bass, side 1, track 2, side 2
- Mike Mandel / piano side 2
- Roy Haynes / drums
- Lawrence Kilian / congas
- Harry Wilkinson / percussion

Probably Larry Coryell's most important album outside the Eleventh House efforts, Barefoot Boy is the first truly jazz-rock album of his. Although LC took the Village Gate line-up of Bronson and Wilkinson, he future regular collabs Steve Markus (sax) and his old school friend Mike Mandel (KB) to make a sensational line-up that will make the next few albums' basis. With one of the poorer artwork of his early discography, BB is just three tracks but do they ever smoke, breathing in some cool rapid conga-fuelled rock and swallowing a wild sax and spewing out a torrid incandescent lava flow that will set fire to your speakers if listened to loud, let alone your brain cells.
Indeed the 12-mins Gypsy Queen is a long steady rapid-fire rock beat, but it serves as a base for Markus' absolutely wild sax solo, while Coryell either supports Markus or outdoes him in astounding Hendrix-like solos. The following 8-mins+ Great Escape is a much funkier (but in a very rock way) driven on Bronson's bass, where again LC is pouring his heart into his solo. Somehow the second Traffic line-up (Kwaaku Reebop) is not far away. The flipside is a sidelong extrapolation of The Higher Consciousness, where Markus and Coryell directly take the track into pure Nucleus-like fusion with Mandel pulling the track later in a Coltrane mode, although he won't match Tyner's brilliance, but still manage a good rendition. Too bad the track is plagued with an almost 4 minutes drum solo (Haynes is no Elvin Jones), but once the track resumes, complete madness has taken over the musos

Although LC had made some terrific albums up to this one, they were, shall we say a bit in the Hendrix mode, something that dramatically changes with BB. Well LC had found a stable group and it would be the same line-up to appear on next year's just as superb Offering and the much poorer Real Great Escape, before LC will take Mandel to found The Eleventh House. Possibly LC's crowning achievement, this album is an easy five star.

Larry Coryell - 1971 - At The Village Gate

Larry Coryell 
At The Village Gate

01. The Opening ( 6:10 )
02. After Later ( 5:45 )
03. Etardecendo En Saudade ( 7:50 )
04. Can You Follow ( Dance On A Green Hill ) (9:20 )
05. Beyond These Chilling Winds ( 7:50 )

Recorded live at the Village Gate, New York City,
January 21, 22, 23 1971

- Larry Coryell / guitar, vocals
- Mervin Bronson / bass
- Harry Wilkinson / drums
- Julie Coryell / vocals

Although remembered, as a jazz guitarist Larry Coryell is probably the rockiest of them all, since he started and played in rock band from 59 onwards, until by the mid-60's, he was seen in jazz circles. A fan of Hendrix, Cream and more, LC's first album were definitely swaying from jazz to rock, with ex- Coltrane and future Mahavishnu members helping out on his first two real solo albums (Lady Coryell and Spaces), but this album is most definitely in the Hendrix realm, probably very close to what Jimi would've done, had he been given the time to explore jazz. In some ways, this album is John McLaughlin's equivalent of Devotion, with wild rock guitars, hard rocking rythms, but there aren't Larry Young (or anyone else's) organ parts. As usual with many Corryell albums, you'd have a hard time looking at the sober artwork and guess the nature of the music on the disc, but you'll know easily it was recorded live in NY's Village Gate club and released on the standard jazz label Vanguard.

This is mostly a guitar power trio set up like Hendrix's Experience or Cream, with LC singing, and in one track, helped out by his wife Julie. The Opening track (that's its name, look it up ;-) is really a slow Hendrix blues, in the line of Hear That Train Coming, where Bronson's pedestrian bass and Wilkinson's drums take on Cox and Mitchell twists. After Later takes on a much quicker and jazzier tone and pace, but the Hendrix overtones remain. The Chick Corea track Saudade is completely unrecognisable (even the riff), even in the light of the early 70's, but LC shines with delays and echoes and torrid improvs flowing like bubbling lava.

Proof that LC had Cream in mind, the Can You Follow is a Jack Bruce cover, starting on a drum solo that could've easily fitted Ginger's play, but is probably the jazzier track on this album yet. Bronson's role is particularly interesting on this track (courtesy of Bruce himself), but LC's style early on veers McLaughlin-esque without verging on the vertiginous like McL. Later on in the track, LC shows a full range or tricks, treats, twists and licks that should get most guitarists gaping their mouths in awe. The closing Beyond These Chilling Winds is rather different, because penned by Larry and his better half and sung together, sounding even a bit folky, but once the first verses and chorus gone, the song embarks on a wild flurry of improvs taking us directly to paradise without much detours.

The album ends in a wild but direct end, suggesting there was much more to come that night and hopefully one day, this album will get a complete concert treatment, by adding the rest of the concert as a bonus tracks. One could easily file this album between Hendrix and Guru Guru's UFO album on his shelves. Essential to understand LC's origins and where he was heading at the time.

Larry Coryell - 1970 - Spaces

Larry Coryell 

01. Spaces (Infinite)
02. Rene`s Theme
03. Gloria`s Step
04. Wrong Is Right
05. Chris
06. New Year`s Day In LA, 1968

Larry Coryell / guitars
John McLaughlin / guitars
Chick Corea / electric piano
Miroslav Vitous / double bass
Billy Cobham / drums

Larry Coryell solos first on Spaces and Wrong Is Right.
John McLauglin solos first on Rene's Theme.

Probably the album of Larry Coryell that he's most remembered for, and certainly the one of his breakthrough, Spaces came with this extraordinary colourful psychey artwork (a Jacques Wyrs painting) for a jazz album, even if not a pure jazz one. And what an all-star guest line-up too, inclining that LC had already gained respect from his pears way back in 69. Yes in some ways, Spaces is a groundbreaking album
Opening on the fusion-esque title track, which at times sounds like it was written by Ian Carr's troupes Nucleus without wind instruments, Spaces (credited to Larry's wife Julie) rocks right through your brains, with Larry taking first solo and McL the second, we're clearly heading for a guitar fest. We can even hear a bit of the future early Mahavishnu Orchestra in the ascending riff that comes back regularly throughout the 9 mins of the track. In the following track, René's theme, you'd swear that Django Reinhardt was playing, but it's not the case and neither is it for Django's pupil René Thomas (also a Belgian from Liège as Django was), but the track is from him. Closing up the A side, is Gloria's Step where Vitous takes the bow to his stand up bass, and the formation flies into what seems to be an improv, but the song is credited to LeFaro, so most likely, they were quite liberal in the adaptation.

On the flipside, the lengthy Right is Wrong is a cold and quick race between the guitar duo, an impressive showcase for both, both managing to have their own space and style, even if the type of jazz song didn't really allow it with its call for electro-acoustic guitars. Overall this track overstays its welcome a bit and is the weaker link on the album, but it still is an excellent one. The following 9-mins+ Chris (again credited to Julie) is much in the mould of its predecessor, but there is so much more happening here, Corea is making his presence felt on this track. A short guitar tidbits bids us farewell as the needle lifts off the wax plate.

Certainly one of LC's highlights in his career, Spaces remains a classic some almost 40 years after its first release. While this album is not a pure jazz-rock, it isn't a pure jazz album either, but it probably bends a bit more towards the latter possibility

Larry Coryell - 1969 - Lady Coryell

Larry Coryell 
Lady Coryell

01. Herman Wright
02. Sunday Telephone
03. Two Minute Classical
04. Love Child Is Coming Home
05. Lady Coryell
06. The Dream Thing
07. Treats Style
08. You Don`t Know What Love s
09. Stiff Neck
10. Cleo`s Mood

- Larry Coryell / guitar, bass guitar
- Jimmy Garrison / bass, side two track 1
- Bob Moses / drums
- Elvin Jones / drums, side two tracks 1,3

Recorded at Apostolic Recording Studio, New York, 1968.

This 1968 set is for anyone who felt let down when the early '70s promise for a truly creative, genre-busting fusion of jazz and rock swiftly disappeared in a wave of vapid, show biz values and disco frippery.
On Lady Coryell, the 25-year-old Larry Coryell already possessed a virtuoso's technique and a rich harmonic and melodic imagination. He uses these gifts here to build swirling, multi-tracked, oftentimes intensely psychedelic performances that range seamlessly across the jazz and rock landscape. The most important tracks are "Treats Style" and "Stiff Neck." On the former, the guitarist is teamed with jazz masters Jimmy Garrison (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums) in a power trio of cool swagger and screaming blues. "Stiff Neck"is a furious duet between Jones and the guitarist. Coryell begins in a driving, post-bop vein, segues to a raw, acid blues and then out into a splintered, barrage of power chords and feedback.Jones navigates the way ahead, countering Coryell's audacity with controlled fury and an assured, muscular pulse. On the rest of the session, Bob Moses, a bandmate from the guitarist's first recordings, takes the drum chair, while Coryell overdubs the bass parts. Together they calmly probe the shifting sections and layers of the title track before transforming a Junior Walker R&B shuffle, "Cleo's Mood," into a mind-bending, rave-up. Even Coryell's hoarse-throated singing is effective. On "Sunday Telephone," -- over a maelstrom of phased, fuzzed, and wah-wahed guitars -- he yowls dementedly, "One more dime operator, can't you see it's Dr. Strange on the line." The album's only lapse is the country corn of "Love Child Is Coming Home," where Coryell tries to transcend one genre too many.

Larry Coryell - 1969 - Coryell

Larry Coryell

01. Sex
02. Beautiful Woman
03. The Jam With Albert
04. Elementary Guitar Solo# 5
05. No One Really Knows
06. Morning Sickness
07. Ah Wuv Ooh

Recorded April, 25, 1969

- Larry Coryell / guitar,vocals, piano, side 1, track 2
- Chuck Rainey / bass, side 1,track 2 ; side 2, tracks 1,2 ,3
- Ron Carter / bass, side1, track2; side 2 track 4
- Albert Stinson / bass, side 1, track 3; side 2, track 2 ( 2nd part )
- Bernard Purdie / drums
- Mike Mandel / organ, piano side 2, track 1
- Jim Pepper / Flute

"The greatest musician who ever lived as far as I'm concerned is Jimi
Hendrix, but I hate him because he took everything away from me that
was mine."
-Larry Coryell

Never consistently identified with any specific style of jazz or music in general, the improvisational guitar technique of Larry Coryell has lent its voice to a myriad of styles and moods of the musical spectrum. Jazz-rock fusion, blues, folk, contemporary classical, post bop, East Indian modal as well as forays into rhythmic Brazilian ethnic music make up some of the styles he has mastered over the course of 40 years of recording and performing. The configurations in which he performed were as equally as diverse and he has appeared in super bands, guitar duos, trios as well as a brooding unaccompanied soloist.

Born in Galveston, Texas on April 2, 1943 Coryell grew up in the Seattle, Washington area where his mother introduced him to the piano at the tender age of 4. He switched to guitar and played rock music while in his teens. He didn't consider himself good enough to pursue a music career and studied journalism at The University of Washington while simultaneously taking private guitar lessons. By 1965 he had relocated to New York City and began taking classical guitar lessons which would figure prominently in later stages of his career. Although citing Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry as early influences he also took cues from jazzmen such as John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery. He was also inspired by the popular music of the day by the Beatles, The Byrds and Bob Dylan and worked diligently to meld both rock and jazz stylings into his technique. This was reflected on his debut recording performance on drummer Chico Hamilton's album " The Dealer" where he sounded like chuck Berry at times with his almost distorted "fat" tone. Also in 1966 he formed a psychedelic band called The Free Spirits on which he also sang vocals, played the sitar and did most of the composing. Although conceptually the band's music conformed to the psychedelic formula with titles like "Bad News Cat" and" I'm Gonna Be Free" it foreshadowed jazz rock with more complex soloing by Coryell and Sax/flute player Jim Pepper. However, it wasn't until three years later after apprenticing on albums by Vibraphonist Gary Burton and flutist Herbie Mann and gigging with the likes of Jack Bruce and others that Coryell established his multifarious musical voice, releasing two solo albums which mixed jazz, classical and rock ingredients. In late 1969 he recorded "Spaces", the album for which he is most noted. It was a guitar blow-out which also included John McLaughlin who was also sitting on the fence between rock and jazz at the time and the cogitative result formed what many aficionados consider to be the embryo from which the fusion jazz movement of the 1970s emerged. It contained insane tempos and fiery guitar exchanges which were often beyond category not to mention some innovating acoustic bass work by Miroslav Vitous and power drumming by Billy Cobham both of whom were to make contributions to Jazz rock throughout the `70s.

Coryell was not content to sit back and rest on the laurels of "Spaces" and continued to rearrange the molecular configuration of modern music throughout the `70s. His albums had an improvisational jazz mentality with ubiquitous rock affections. By 1972 he had played the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and cut another acclaimed jazz rock album entitled "Barefoot Boy", recorded a Electric Lady Studios which drew Hendrix comparisons. The groundwork for the band he would lead from 1973 to 1975 The Eleventh House was laid down on the 1972 recording "Offering" which also included high school friend Mike Mandel. It was a hard rocking jazz -rock album with wah-wahed out guitar and keyboard improvisations, which would become a staple on the First Eleventh House album in `73 "Introducing Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House". A notable addition was Randy Becker's expressive trumpet playing which also featured wah-wah effects, which gave the band a Miles Davis, tinge to it. Powerhouse drummer Alphonse Mouzon added a heavy aspect to the band and his playing resembled that of Billy Cobham`s in many ways. Much more funked out and rhythmical than contemporaries with a more compressed sound, The Eleventh House never achieved the grandeur of The Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return To Forever who had the heavy hitting Columbia record label backing them. Nevertheless, Eleventh House gained a loyal following and did two tours of Europe and one tour of Japan before disbanding in `75.

Towards the mid `70s Coryell began to wander off into undiscovered territory, which concentrated more on acoustic playing. He seeked out other musicians' ideas and made an "ethno-jazz" album in 1975 with Ralph Towner from the folk-jazz band Oregon. It featured East Indian and Classical interpretations as well as his own compositions, which blended in beautifully with these atmospheres. He also began to perform in guitar duos with Steve Khan, another jazz-rock guitarist, as well as with the Gypsy influenced Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine. Catherine served as a catalyst in developing Coryell`s style giving it more depth and experimentation. The two acoustic albums they recorded together, "Twin House" and "Splendid" were technically brilliant and bright sounding and entered into guitar folklore alongside his previous "Spaces" recording with John McLaughlin. Influenced by the time he spent in Europe Coryell recorded a reflective solo acoustic album entitled " Impressions of Europe" as well as another album " The Lion and the Ram" which contained even further eclectic explorations. A brief return to the electric guitar yielded two albums, "Difference" and "Back Together Again", the latter, which reunited members of the last line-up of The Eleventh House as well as Philip Catherine on electric guitar, becoming one of the most exciting fusion albums of the `70s. He also guested on albums by jazz masters Stephane Grappelli and Charles Mingus during this period and by 1979 was touring Europe with a guitar super trio with old buddy John McLaughlin and flamenco guitar virtuoso Paco DeLucia. Personal matters cut short his participation in this project and in early 1980 he took a brief sabbatical from music.

Throughout the `80s Coryell became a musicologist's nightmare as they struggled to categorize his music. He was off on all kinds of musical tangents and in addition to his jazz interpretations of classical composers Ravel, Rimsky-Kosakov and Stravinsky he took Wes Montgomery-influenced guitar prodigy Emily Remler under his wing and recorded an acoustic guitar duo with her entitled "Together" which echoed the "Twin House" and "Splendid" sessions. East Indian modal music also interested him and he recorded four beautiful albums in this vein with Indian master violinist Dr. Lakshiminarayana Subramaniam. Not forgetting his jazz affinities he revisited fusion and courted post bop styles on solo projects on the Muse record label which even if they didn't break new ground they kept him in touch with the more mainstream jazz scene.

A perpetual student of musical styles, Coryell never stopped exploring and investigating. In 1992 he recorded some of the smoothest laid back playing of his career on a live album recorded in South America with Brazilian Singer/songwriter/guitarist Dori Caymani on which he explored Brazilian rhythmic music, a style he would become more serious with in a 1999 acoustic trio collaboration with another Brazilian guitarist, Badi Assad, and John Abercrombie. In 1997 he toured with jazz/bluegrass finger picker Stephan Grossman and folk rock guitarist John Renbourn, formerly of the English folk/rock group "Pentangle" .Two more fusion outings heavily based on improvisation appeared in the `90s in the form of "Spaces Revisited ", with Bireli Lagrene and original " Spaces" drummer Billy Cobham and "Cause & Effect" with keyboardist Tom Coster (ex-Santana) and drummer Steve Smith of Journey / Vital information fame.

Coryell has remained active in the 21st century and has returned to electric work and has become a more of a straight line on the musical graph occasionally swinging, occasionally rocking it out and even playing the blues. There is much more certainty in his art as it still maintains his unmistakable jazz attitude even when covering such songs as Led Zeppelin`s "Black Dog" on his 2004 album "Electric". In addition to his prolific recording and performing career Larry Coryell has been active in music education, broadcasting and journalism, and he has even designed his own line of guitars for Cort Guitars. His recent concert video entitled A Retrospective, which revisits his early `70s musical triumphs, is alight with that period's electricity and fire and is a solid indication that this living guitar legend has much more in store for lovers of music which ventures outside of the box and beyond.
Ian Gledhill

A forward-thinking jazz guitarist and early architect of electric fusion, Larry Coryell is perhaps less well-known for his singing. However, during the late '60s and early '70s, Coryell did just that, writing and performing a handful of inspired, if quirky jazz-meets-singer/songwriter style compositions on every album. His second solo album, 1969's Coryell, is a great example, and finds him fearlessly blurring the lines between hardcore blues-inflected jazz, pop, and rock. Helping Coryell to achieve this boundary-crossing vibe are his stellar sidemen including innovative funk-friendly drummer Bernard Purdie and organist Mike Mandel. Also on board are a cadre of illustrious bassists in Miles Davis alum Ron Carter, Chuck Rainey, and the lesser known Albert Stinson, who died tragically not long after recording this album. Together, they laid down a vibrant, organic sound that touches upon groove-oriented blues, acid funk, and searingly amped-up jazz-rock. While certainly a gifted and adroit guitarist, as a singer, Coryell had his own laid-back, lo-fi charm. Years before influential indie bands like Pavement and Wilco defined a whole sub-category of hard-to-classify rock with their noodly guitars and jam-out tunes, Coryell was essentially doing the same thing, albeit from a jazz-oriented perspective. On the cheeky, semi-satirical "Sex" (a title inspired by hearing a woman yell "Sex! That's all you people are interested in!" at hippie anti-war protest marchers in the late '60s), Coryell belts out the chorus à la Jimi Hendrix before launching into a reverb- and wah-wah-pedal-soaked solo. Conversely, on the sweetly delivered, off-kilter ballad "Beautiful Woman," he sings softly in a flat yet soulful falsetto offset by bluesy guitar punctuations. Similarly, the hazy, Baroque pop-inflected "No One Really Knows" sounds like something along the lines of Luna's Dean Wareham singing a Traffic song that then explodes into loungey, R&B-inflected psych jazz jam. It's a style with few contemporary examples to compare it to, aside from perhaps the harmonically varied folk of Tim Buckley or the equally cosmopolitan Brazilian pop of artists like Marcos Valle. What's so fascinating about Coryell's vocal songs is his almost naive eschewing of genre conventions. This is a guy who can play classical guitar one minute, rip into reverb-soaked blues solo the next, and finish by evincing the hollow-body lyricism of Wes Montgomery. Here he is, in the same year that Miles Davis recorded Bitches Brew and the Beatles delivered Abbey Road, casually knocking out what sounds like Pavement's Stephen Malkmus backed by John McLaughlin. Even his instrumental cuts, like the quirkily titled "Ah Wuv Ooh" (co-written with his wife), are dynamically cross-pollinated nuggets of nuanced jazz, soul, and intricately virtuosic guitar heroics. Coryell's singing waned during the '70s, as he focused more on progressive instrumental fusion and his reputation grew as a highly respected jazz artist. However, listening to this album decades after its initial release only reinforces the notion that Coryell was a dynamic, creative visionary, as much in tune with swinging, blues-informed jazz as the psychedelic rock and folk that increasing dominated the airwaves. Ultimately, Coryell's Coryell remains an embryonic artifact of a transitional era both in his own career and popular musical culture.

 Whether this is the debut album or not is debatable, but its his first one under his own name and what a debut this album makes. It's actually virtually impossible to tell that the guitarist on this album will be the jazz and jazz-rock giant he became. Behind this very hippy-ish artwork hides a pure blistering piece of hard rocking guitar. The line-up consists of permanent sidemen such as school friend Mike Mandel (KB), drummer Purdie, with the bass slot still not decided between Rainey and Stinson. Guesting are old collab Amerindian Jim Pepper, Miles collab Ron Carter, while wife Julie signs the liner notes (and gets two track credits as well) and in-house producer Danny Weiss at the production helm, this debut album is certainly no accident and the very base of Larry Coryell's early career.
Quite a varied album we get here, as the tracks range from the good rocking sung track like the opening Sex track (sounding like Lenny Kravitz circa Let Love Rule, with more instrumental space) and Morning Sickness (guitar as medication), to incandescent lengthy instrumental extrapolations Jam With Albert (Stinson the bassist), from the softer psych-blues Beautiful Woman (again early Kravitz comes to mind) to the slow-starting boogie Elementary Guitar Solo #5 (an excuse for a hot searing and soaring solo) turning into a wild mid-section tempo. The two Julie-penned tracks are both quality piece that do not detract from the rest of the album, especially the wild No One Really Knows, starting out nicely, until Larry hoofs it into the stratosphere with his guitar and the closing Ah-Wuv-Oh, where Pepper's flute plays an interesting contrast with Larry's guitar.

Certainly one of Larry Coryell's best moments in his career that will feature many, I would like to point out that if Larry Coryell would progress musically greatly, he was starting from a solid base like this album. Indeed this album can't be called jazz, jazz-rock t all, it is a pure R'nR album, and one that's highly recommended, too.

Globe Unity Orchestra - 2001 - Globe Unity 67-70

Globe Unity Orchestra 
Globe Unity 67-70

01. Globe Unity 67 (34:11)
02. Globe Unity 70 (17:54).

Track 1 was recorded at Donaueschingen Tage für Neue Musik, Stadthalle, Donaueschingen, Germany on October 21, 1967.

Track 2 was recorded at the Berlin Jazz Festival, Kongresshalle in Berlin, Germany on November 7, 1970.

Alto Saxophone – Peter Brötzmann
Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Kris Wanders
Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet – Willem Breuker
Bass – J.B. Niebergall*, Peter Kowald
Cornet, Trumpet [High D] – Manfred Schoof
Drums – Mani Neumeier, Sven-Åke Johansson
Drums, Timpani – Jaki Liebezeit
Flute, Bass Clarinet – Gunter Hampel
Piano, Bells, Gong, Tam-tam – Alexander von Schlippenbach
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Heinz Sauer
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet – Gerd Dudek
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff, Jiggs Wigham*
Trumpet – Claude Deron, Jürg Grau
Tuba – Willy Lietzmann
Vibraphone – Karlhanns Berger

Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Heinz Sauer
Bass, Bass Trombone – Buschi Niebergall
Bass, Electric Bass – Arjen Gorter
Bass, Tuba – Peter Kowald
Drums, Horn [Shellhorn], Performer [Dhung], Trumpet [Gachi] – Han Bennink
Drums, Percussion – Paul Lovens
Flute – Gerd Dudek
Guitar – Derek Bailey
Piano, Percussion – Alexander von Schlippenbach
Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute – Michel Pilz
Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone – Peter Brötzmann
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Evan Parker
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Gerd Dudek
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff, Malcolm Griffiths
Trombone, Horn [Tenor] – Paul Rutherford
Trumpet – Bernard Vitet, Tomasz Stanko
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Kenny Wheeler
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trumpet [Bach In D] – Manfred Schoof

Among the first European outfits dedicated to plumbing the possibilities of large group free improvisation Alexander von Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity enclave has been in a state of flux since its inception. But typical of the lot of large scale improvising ensembles documentation of the group’s various guises is skeletal in the extreme, just a mere handful of recordings in the space of as many decades. Rosetta Stone remnants from the Orchestra’s earliest years the pair of pieces on this recent UMS reissue illuminate yet another stage in Schlippenbach’s grand design. As he explains in the disc’s accompanying notes the impetus for applying free jazz ferocity to more populous dimensions was an auspicious commission by a Berlin-based arts agency. Joining together two existing ensembles fronted by Brötzmann and Schoof respectively, and further augmenting this formidable base with a burly contingent of fellow Europeans, the pianist/composer built an edifice of improvisors unlike any that had come before.
Schlippenbach’s wily charts are checkpoints, but the overarching velocity of the band seems largely unfettered from compositional constraints. Plummeting drums, scour-pad arco bass, and tumescent horns open the 67’ piece. Brass and reeds dislodge in formations strafing the rhythm section with the finely calibrated Doppler salvos. Mob rule ensues and individual voices are mostly subsumed in the torrential downpour of caterwauling sounds. A bass break erupts six minutes in as Kowald and Niebergall trade spiky arco barbs. Soon after both are trampled by a rushing tide of howling unison horns. Hampel’s mercurial flute struggles mightily to the top of the sound pile twittering single notes above the massive lower pitched cacophony of his comrades. Next up, the trombones of Mangelsdorff and Wigham leading the charge in a brief chamber reverie before another nosedive into collective combustible dissonance. Moving in wave-like oscillations the orchestra approximates a shoreline in the throes of full hurricane assault. In the piece’s final seconds the players suddenly subside into silence creating the effect of a storm miraculously lifting. Taking into account the sheer density and breadth of the orchestras the relative clarity of the recordings is an unexpected gratuity. Some of the ensemble sections warp under the considerable sonic weight of the orchestra at full muster, but for the most part sound quality is sustained.

The British delegation of Bailey, Parker and Rutherford changes the climate of the 70’ orchestra edition, broadening both the dynamics and conceptual space of the group. Bailey’s craggy strings are particularly effective in this regard and his pedal-dominated swells and drones dominate early on. The band also marches to the fractured beat of two different drummers and the team of Bennink and Lovens ignites a path of percussive fires from the onset. Darker both in mood in design, the Stygian composition they negotiate in subsets and en mass is less accessible than the earlier outing, but yields just as many ear-opening moments to the careful listener. Considering the gaping holes in Globe Unity’s recorded legacy as well as the consistency of vision that these pieces bring to light this reissue deserves high marks. For a conclusive snapshot of the orchestra’s earliest stages it’s the only game in town.
Derek Taylor

On this reissue, Alexander Von Schlippenbach leads two huge, all-star lineups of 18 European improvisers through two big band pieces that aren't just the crazy free explosions one might expect. While there's plenty of playing that's aggressive, dissonant, and, well, loud, these pieces are also ingeniously arranged. Von Schlippenbach scored both pieces using graphic notation, in which the composer dictates the shape of the piece, but might not tell the players what notes and rhythms to play. So while the improvisers here have a lot of freedom, they also hang together quite well given the number of musicians involved. There are plenty of solo passages, so the personalities of the individual players, such as Peter Brötzmann and Han Bennink, aren't lost in the crowd. Before he composed the frameworks for the two compositions here, Von Schlippenbach surely thought of earlier pieces of free improvisation for a large ensemble, such as John Coltrane's Ascension and Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz. While Globe Unity 67 & 70 is close to those pieces in spirit, though, it often differs widely from them in practice. Compared to Ascension and Free Jazz, the organization of Von Schlippenbach's music is not as similar to traditional American jazz and neither is the playing: the members of Von Schlippenbach's orchestra would rather shriek through their horns or bellow huge, roaring glissandi than play anything resembling the blues. Globe Unity 67 & 70 is rich, provocative European free improvisation that's well worth hearing for fans of any of the musicians who play on it.
Charlie Wilmoth

Globe Unity Orchestra - 1986 - 20th Anniversary

Globe Unity Orchestra 
20th Anniversary

01. 20th Anniversary 66:41

Globe Unity Orchestra
Toshinori Kondo: trumpet
Kenny Wheeler: trumpet, flugelhorn
Gerd Dudek: soprano & tenor saxophone, flute
Evan Parker: soprano & tenor saxophone
Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky: clarinet, alto saxophone, flute
Günter Christmann: trombone
George Lewis: trombone
Albert Mangelsdorff: trombone
Bob Stewart: tuba
Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano
Alan Silva: double bass
Paul Lovens: drums

Recorded live on November 4th, 1986, during the JazzFest Berlin, at the Philharmonic Hall in Berlin.

"Colossal, brutish, majestic, here is the world’s (greatest?) orchestra asserting its primal role in the aftermath of free jazz." -- Richard Cook, Jazz Express

"...a magnificent recording of a magnificent 12-piece ensemble. Paul Lovens (drums) and Alan Silva (bass) provide pace and stimulus from the bottom up, aided by the fat, greasy power of three trombones (George Lewis, Günter Christmann and Albert Mangelsdorff – phew!) and Bob Stewart’s beautiful tuba. Everyone involved understands the mystery and majesty Schlippenbach is aiming for, and everyone sounds great." -- The Wire

As a continually evolving unit, the Globe Unity Orchestra has been able to maintain a surprisingly high level of musical acumen. This is achieved perhaps by a constant core of musicians that includes Albert Mangelsdorff, Evan Parker, Alexander von Schlippenbach (as musical director), Kenny Wheeler, and Paul Lovens. Add-ons for this date in 1986 were Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, trombonist George Lewis (his free-for-all with Mangelsdorff about halfway through this improvisation is literally amazing), tuba player Bob Stewart from Lester Bowie's band, and bassist Alan Silva, among others. By 1986, the group had made the transition to a totally free music conglomerate from its 1966 incarnation as a highly arranged entity with free jazz soloing. Amazingly enough, despite the extreme nature of the proceedings, the band never sounded better than it did here. Perhaps it was the democracy von Schlippenbach allowed on the bandstand, offering the newer players choice positions for soloing, or perhaps it was the general good feeling that, in its 20th year, the Globe Unity Orchestra had finally shed all bonds of convention and expectation in its performances. Whatever the final reason, the GUO played here with the sense of drama and dynamics that only the sum of this many parts could: They offer music as an entire universe replete not just with sounds but characteristics, mechanical approximations, emotional pathos, and abstract expressionistic verve. Though there are Americans in this outfit, the improvisational proceedings are decidedly European and yet universal at the same time. Here is the atonal evidence of just how "together" free jazz can be.

Globe Unity Orchestra - 1983 - Intergalactic Blow

Globe Unity Orchestra 
Intergalactic Blow

01. Quasar 9:39
02. Phase A 8:48
03. Phase B 3:57
04. Mond Im Skorpion 18:49

Toshinori Kondo trumpet
Kenny Wheeler trumpet
Günter Christmann trombone
George Lewis trombone, effects
Albert Mangelsdorff trombone
Bob Stewart tuba
Gerd Dudek flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Evan Parker soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky flute, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
Alexander von Schlippenbach piano
Alan Silva bass
Paul Lovens drums

Recorded June 4, 1982 at Studio 105, Radio France/Paris.
Recording engineer: Jean Deloron
Mixing engineer: Martin Wieland
Produced by Thomas Stöwsand

Beginning in 1966, the Globe Unity Orchestra sparked a four decades-long run that intersected with the JAPO label on three counts. For this, the group’s second for ECM’s sister label, founder Alexander von Schlippenbach hand-selected a set of free improvisations emitted in a Paris studio in June of 1982.

Even more noticeable this time around are the contributions of its brass players, especially trumpeters Kenny Wheeler and Toshinori Kondo (who takes the place of Manfred Schoof from the last record). Their methods of integration on the opening track, “Quasar,” set a tone that is dashed as quickly as it is established. From the farthest reaches of inner space, the musicians work their way to the front altar of the mind, where Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky’s baritone files its utterances in living order. Tuba (Bob Stewart) and piano (von Schlippenbach) speak out of time—one from the future, the other for the past. Such is the ethos of the hour.

Even at its densest, Globe Unity makes sure to leave a door open for even the most transient listener, so that “Phase A” and “Phase B” feel no more connected by name than they are by process. It is their very incongruity that partners them in the album’s grander scheme, interpretable only after the fact. Their gestures are more jagged, turned from shining to brilliant by Evan Parker’s unmistakable soprano. Like the group as a whole, he takes rising levels of intensity as opportunities for sane reflection, thus allowing himself the strongest benefit of performance: being heard.

Drummer Paul Lovens is another master in this pool of many, adding to the 19-minute “Mond Im Skorpion” a scripture’s worth of microscopy. Amid this bramble of riffs and utterances, he treats every melodic branch as a fuse to be lit, and every lit fuse as a pathway toward new understanding of the improviser’s craft. Von Schlippenbach is again noteworthy for attuning to that same inner habitus, an environmental assemblage where one has to know where one has been in order to move toward the unknown. For even as reeds and brass elbow the horizon with the force of sunset, they hold the following morning in their chests. A snake-charming soprano seems to mock the wayward Orientalist who sees travel solely as a means of sticking another postcard in the scrapbook. Indeed, you will find no tourists here—only the artisans selling their wares on the outskirts of town, far from the crowded bazaar, where a cacophonous ending sings, proclaims, and teases every tether of dusk so that it might pull out another day from under our feet.

Globe Unity keeps everything clear and, thanks further to Thomas Stöwsand’s flawless production, ensures that every shout is also a whisper, and vice versa.

Tyran Grillo

Globe Unity Orchestra - 1979 - Hamburg '74

Globe Unity Orchestra 
Hamburg '74

01. Hamburg '74 26:29
Kollision + Explosion
Free Jazz
Kanon Der Frauen "Hammonia" (A Capella)
Hymnus (Klassisch)
"Berliner Luft"
02. Kontraste Und Synthesen 19:11

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone – Peter Brötzmann
Bass Clarinet – Michel Pilz
Bass, Tuba – Peter Kowald
Choir – NDR Chor
Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone – Rüdiger Carl
Drums, Percussion – Paul Lovens
Drums, Percussion, Clarinet – Han Bennink
Guitar – Derek Bailey
Piano – Alex Schlippenbach*
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Evan Parker
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Gerd Dudek
Trombone – Günter Christmann, Paul Rutherford (2)
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Kenny Wheeler, Manfred Schoof

Recorded during the 105th NDR Jazzworkshop, November 19, 1974 at the Funkhaus Hamburg

This date by the Globe Unity Orchestra featured pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach, guitarist Derek Bailey, drummers Paul Lovens and Han Bennink, saxophonists Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Rüdiger Carl, Gerd Dudek, and Michel Piz, bassist Peter Kowald, trumpeters Kenny Wheeler and Manfred Schoof , and trombonists Paul Rutherford and Günter Christmann -- a completely gone lineup at the height of Euro free jazz in 1974. To add to the drama, the band is joined by the Choir of the NDR Broadcast under the direction of Helmut Franz. All of this was captured at the NDR Jazz Workshop. The first piece here, titled "Hamburg '74," is nearly half-an-hour in length and was scripted by Von Sclippenbach. A spoken word introduction is followed by chatter from the chorus, then by slow, quiet, atonal squeaks and squeals from reeds and brass. Before long the choir enters singing long, languorous anthemic lines in counterpoint before all hell breaks loose at six minutes. Here the band kicks its improvisation in full-force and the choir improvises, too -- individually and collectively! It is one of the most exciting moments in free jazz. Its only equal is that moment on Coltrane's Live In Seattle where he and Pharoah Sanders, going as far as they could go on their horns, put them down and start hollering their improvisations. What happens for the next 20 minutes is indescribably beautiful, wild and wondrous and terrifying in places. The second piece here, "Contrast and Synthesis," is nearly 20 minutes, and though a little more closely scripted in the opening section, it is nonetheless full of pathos and drama as well. Here too, once the band starts collectively improvising away form the composed lines and the choir follows them, the entire sky opens in a fantastic cacophony. This title, originally issued on FMP was released on CD as part of Atavistic's Unheard Music Series.

Globe Unity - 1979 - Compositions

Globe Unity 

01. Nodagoo 7:00
02. Boa 5:45
03. Trom-Bone-It 5:04
04. Flat Fleet 7:51
05. Reflections 8:45
06. Worms (Dedicated To Ezra Pound) 10:23
07. The Forge 5:23

Enrico Rava trumpet
Kenny Wheeler trumpet, flugelhorn
Manfred Schoof trumpet, flugelhorn
Albert Mangelsdorff trombone
Günther Christmann trombone
Paul Rutherford trombone, euphonium
Steve Lacy soprano saxophone (piano interior on “Worms”)
Evan Parker tenor and soprano saxophones
Gerd Dudek tenor and soprano saxophones, flute
Michel Pilz bass clarinet
Alexander von Schlippenbach piano
Bob Stewart tuba
Buschi Niebergall bass
Paul Lovens drums, percussion, etc.

Recorded January 1979 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Engineer: Martin Wieland
Produced by Globe Unity with Thomas Stöwsand and Steve Lake in cooperation with the WDR, Cologne

Globe Unity’s Compositions makes a natural partner to Improvisations, also released on JAPO. This is the last of the collective’s three albums for ECM’s sister label, and ends a sporadic tenure with colorful tapestries of internally composed pieces. What makes this album such an archival treasure its early glimpse into the compositional careers of trumpeters Kenny Wheeler, Enrico Rava, and Manfred Schoof.

“Nodagoo” is quintessentially Wheelerian, opening with a solemn tuba before erupting into a late-night free jazz masterstroke spearheaded by Evan Parker on tenor. All the classic elements are there: an almost literary feel for structure, with room to grow, and a penchant for contrasts. Rava’s “Flat Feet” blends just the sort of playfulness and heavy traction one might expect from his younger self. One can’t help but read a symphony of smiles into its jaunty contours. It is, as might be expected, a delightful tangle of trumpets, but legendary trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff gives us plenty of meat to chew on as well. Rava is a burst of flame and a joy to experience on such historical terms. The trumpet squeals of Schoof’s “Reflections” begin the album’s most cinematic track, which follows an unusual narrative arc through Parker’s circular sopranism and Alexander von Schlippenbach’s sensitive monologue on piano, while the brass and winds suspend their motives high above sea level.

Von Schlippenbach himself offers two pieces. “Boa” has a more nostalgic, big band sound, kept confidently in check by drummer Paul Lovens at every turn. Superb solos on soprano saxophone (courtesy of the inimitable Steve Lacy) and bass clarinet (Michel Pilz) make this slice of anatomical fortitude glow like a lightning bug. “The Forge,” which ends the album, is a propulsive blast of gold that boasts some of the most concentrated playing on the record. Trombonist Günther Christmann’s offering is “Trom-bone-it,” a jovial piece that grows from outtake to full-force jungle. Such elevations are Globe Unity’s forte and reveal an astonishing ability to keep every expression clear in the face of chaos. Like the Art Ensemble of Chicago at its loudest, this one takes fun seriously. Lacy counters with “Worms,” which bears suitable dedication to Ezra Pound, whose gnarled poetics can be heard in musical parallels throughout the 10-minute piece. Its massive chains of dissonance give relatively little room for solo space, opting instead for a grander, organic ecosystem.

While not as exciting as its freely improvised predecessors, Compositions nonetheless affords more than enough space for the unexpected and is a worthy stopover on your JAPO collecting adventures.

Tyran Grillo

Globe Unity Orchestra - 1978 - Improvisations

Globe Unity Orchestra 

01. Improvisation 1 10:17
02. Improvisation 2 6:35
03. Improvisation 3 6:24
04. Improvisation 4 23:14

Gerd Dudek: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute
Paul Lovens: drums
Günther Christmann: trombone
Paul Rutherford: trombone
Tristan Honsinger: cello
Peter Kowald: bass, tuba
Kenny Wheeler: trumpet
Evan Parker: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Albert Mangelsdorff: trombone
Peter Brötzmann: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Buschi Niebergall: bass
Michel Pilz: bass clarinet
Manfred Schoof: trumpet
Derek Bailey: guitar
Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano

Recorded September 1977 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Engineer Martin Wieland
Produced by Thomas Stöwsand

Ashes, ashes, we all fall…up? Yes, says the Globe Unity Orchestra. The autonomous improvisation collective was formed in 1966 and has shifted ever since with as much openness to the unknown as the music it unleashes. Over the years, it has seen a veritable who’s who of modern jazz flit through its cage, including Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Enrico Rava, and Toshinori Kondo. Because of the wealth of riches at its employ, the GUO’s eponymous unity undermines the need to dwell on individual talents. All the same, this early JAPO release, recorded in 1977, is an endearing document for, among other reasons, so nakedly marking the early careers of its great improvisers. Whether through Michel Pilz’s visceral baying, Peter Brötzmann’s gurgling of midnight oil, Derek Bailey’s jangly aphorisms, Kenny Wheeler’s playful fancy, or Evan Parker’s sopranic emulsions, the character of every voice remains prominent—astonishing when one thinks of just how many are involved.

Together these musicians are something greater than the sum of their parts, each an integral element in an alchemy that espouses the new by tapping into something that predates all of us. Throughout the album’s four numbered improvisations, the GUO sharpens ears as if they were pencils. With the epic concentration and polar range of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, “Improvisation 1” clings to some alien monolith in pure instinctual discovery, while “Improvisation 2” teeters in the sonic equivalent of a groggy yawn. It pulls every limb from the muck of dreams until it pops with renewed life. The feeling of tension is palpable: plucking, striking, and exhaling into infinity. Yet where the first half seems chained to an alternate reality, “Improvisation 3” taps into those cortical implosions sooner and measures their perimeter before diving headlong into the resulting froth. It is a brilliant percussive mash of banshees and waterfalls.

“Improvisation 4” is the album’s pièce de résistance. Longer than the first three combined, it teases with jazzy beginnings. Like the third, however, it locates the problem early on and unpacks it with guttural aptitude. The more one surrenders to this music, the more it splits into pieces and slides down vocal tracts like children at a playground. The depth of color and texture—of sustained light flecked with disturbing rhythmic shadows—dwarfs all that came before. The intimacy, too, with which it ends is arresting: only cello and bass overlapping to the clatter of a teapot without a whistle, burying themselves as deeply as they can until the bulldozers arrive.

A worthy curio for your cabinet.

Tyran Grillo

Globe Unity Orchestra and Guests - 1977 - Pearls

Globe Unity Orchestra + Guests 

01. Every Single One of Us Is a Pearl 24:41
02. Kunstmusik II 10:29
03. Ruby, My Dear 4:52

Manfred Schoof – Trumpet
Kenny Wheeler – Trumpet
Peter Brötzmann – Saxophones & Clarinets
Rüdiger Carl – Alto & Tenor Saxophones
Gerd Dudek – Soprano & Tenor Saxophones
Evan Parker – Soprano & Tenor Saxophones
Michel Pilz – Bass Clarinet
Günter Christmann – Trombone
Albert Mangelsdorff – Trombone
Paul Rutherford – Trombone
Alexander von Schlippenbach – Piano
Peter Kowald – Double Bass, Tuba
Buschi Niebergall – Double Bass
Paul Lovens – Drums

Enrico Rava – Trumpet
Anthony Braxton – Alto Saxophone, Clarinet

Recorded at the Südwestfunk Studios, Baden-Baden, November 25th - 27th 1975 during the "New Jazz Meeting - Ten Years Globe Unity Orchestra". Piano solo recorded at FMP-Studio, February 21st, 1977.

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Globe Unity Orchestra convened an astonishing group of Europe's finest musicians plus Anthony Braxton! "Pearls" showcases the band's many modes, from the epic title track - which generates noir-ish dramatic tension through unusual groupings - to a passionate rendition of Monk's "Ruby, My Dear." Essential listening

Globe Unity Orchestra - 1977 - Jahrmarkt

Globe Unity Orchestra 

01. Jahrmarkt 23:28
02. Local Fair 21:02

Alto Saxophone – Anthony Braxton
Saw [Musical Saw] – Paul Lovens
Tenor Saxophone – Peter Brötzmann
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff
Trumpet – Enrico Rava

Accordion – Artur Beck, Birgit Reitz, Dirk Heinen, Ewald Wirths, Gabriele Joest, Hans Eikermann, Hans-Peter Fresen, Harald Pauli, Heinz Neyen, Horst Stark (2), Jörg Stepputat, Klaus Bächler, Klaus Krapp, Martina Apfelbaum, Martina Joest, Monika Lusebrink, Peter Eikermann, Rosemarie Spormann, Ursula Gruner, Ursula Göge, Ursula Saale, Wolfgang Gries, Wolfgang Göge, Wolfgang Weckelmann
Alto Saxophone – Bernhard Kleinert
Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone – Peter Brötzmann
Clarinet – Hans-Peter Krummenauer, Vangelis Zikas
Clarinet, Alto Saxophone – Theo Powiton
Drums – Peter Spormann, Vassilis Zikas
Electric Bass – Manfred Gruner
Guitar – Alekos Zagoras, Rolf Schmitz, Werner Orf
Horns [Alpine] – Günter Christmann, Paul Rutherford
Horns [Tenor] – Hugo Dönch, Kurt Dönch
Trumpet – Friedel Kolb
Accordion – Harald Heinz
Oboe – Hans Möllmann
Organ [Barrel] – Willi Hengstenberg
Tenor Saxophone – Helmut Griesbeck
Trombone – Josef Gallitelli
Trumpet – Friedel Hettrich, Heinz Maurer, Karl Wadenbach, Karl-Heinz Bilewski, Klaus Striebe, Lothar Wagener, Manfred Schoof, Vito Gallitelli
Tuba – Jochen Windgassen
Vocals, Guitar – Spiros Papandreou

Jahrmarkt recorded November 27, 1975 at the Südwestfunk Studios, Baden-Baden during the New Jazz Meeting: 10 Years of Globe Unity Orchestra.
Local Fair recorded live open-air June 5, 1976 in Wuppertal during the 4. Wuppertaler Free Jazz Workshop.

Here we find bassist Peter Kowald's large ensemble investigating matters of an Ivesian nature. The first of the two side-long compositions involves the deployment of 15 musicians throughout a recording studio in various configurations playing some loosely organized thematic material, freely improvising and interspersing various canonical material from Sousa to Monk. It's an all-star cast that includes Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker and Peter Brotzmann and they kick up quite a storm from the raging Machine Gun-like opening salvo through some fleet trombone multiphonics (presumably from Albert Mangelsdorff) to a subdued gasp of an ending. For the second piece, Kowald opted to literally take it to the streets and apparently invited every musician in Wuppertal (as well as a number of non-musicians) to participate. So in addition to the regular Globe Unity personnel, we have a 17-piece brass band, a Greek bouzouki quartet and Wupperspatzen - a 30-piece accordion ensemble. Chaos ensues. Performed and recorded in the town square, one has the dizzying impression of wandering through a space where the local bureaucracy made a horrible error and no one wants to budge. So you have a schmaltzy brass band butting heads with free jazzers while sidestepping the advancing accordion army and trying to ignore that raucous Greek clarinet player. Loads of fun in the best tradition of free music wackiness.

Globe Unity Orchestra - 1975 - Rumbling

Globe Unity Orchestra 

01. Alexanders Marschbefehl (08.39)
02. Rumbling [to Joe Louis] (15.54)
03. Into the valley ... (15.30)
04. of dogs, dreams, and death (22.06)
05. Evidence (05.57).

Peter Kowald - Bass, Tuba, Bass (Upright)
Paul Lovens - Percussion, Strings, Saw
Alexander von Schlippenbach - Piano, Arranger
Evan Parker - Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Saw
Steve Lacy - Sax (Soprano)
Gerd Dudek - Sax (Tenor)
Albert Mangelsdorff - Trombone
Paul Rutherford - Trombone
Kenny Wheeler - Trumpet

Recorded live during the Workshop Freie Musik at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.

Reissue of LP FMP 0220 and LP FMP 0270 in original order

The 1975 edition of the mighty Globe Unity Orchestra is captured in full swing on a great night. The music is lyrical, dramatic, rambunctious, and subtle. There’s a Monk cover and a march for anarchists! Originally released on two separate LPs, Rumbling presents the full concert in its original order.