Lost Larry Coryell

by Paul Burmeister

Well, not exactly lost, because Coryell’s 1992 release on CTI, Live from Bahia,is available on Amazon. Larry Coryell (1943-2017) by all accounts seems to have been a very gifted and versatile guitarist. I’m not as much a fan of his fusion as I am of his early Lady Coryell album, his duets with Philip Catherine, and this breezy release of Brazilian-inspired music.
Live from Bahia is very pleasant, with lots of musical interest; however, I don’t agree with those who characterize it as “smooth,” or “soft,” or “mood music.” Those descriptions come close, and not really close. This release is from a time when others in jazz were doing similar things—Pat Metheny had used vocalists to similar effect, and one song has a Miles Davis’ 80s vibe. But Coryell’s sensibility is distinct, Donald Harrison is a surprising and strong contributor, and Billy Cobham lays a solid foundation. Two recommended cuts are Coryell’s “Bloco Loco” and Cobham’s “Panama.”

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