1974, Music

Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell (1974)

This is fusion very much in the Mahavishnu Orchestra mode. In fact, listening to the opening of “Birdfingers,” you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking this was the Mahavishnu Orchestra itself, or perhaps Jeff Beck and the Jan Hammer Group, or something like that. As jazz fusion goes, a lot of it is very much on the jazz rock side of the genre – i.e. though this music is performed by jazz musicians it often sounds more like the jazz rock played by rock musicians imitating jazz. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just what it sounds like to me.) This is particularly surprising to me given Coryell’s supposed role in the genre’s birth. One would suspect that Coryell would sound less like so many other performers if he was such an innovator. (Maybe I’ve just heard too many Coryell disciples and believed they were original.)

(Also, it’s not so much as Coryell sounds too much like other fusion guitarists from the era as this band sounds too much like other fusion bands – Mandel sounds a little too much like Hammer at times, etc.)

Fortunately, there’s a trumpet here that dispels the sense that this is sub-Mahavishnu Orchestra. I’ve never been a massive fan of Brecker – also, he’s fucking everywhere, isn’t he? – but here I really appreciate him, as he continually reminds me that I am listening to a jazz record, even when some of the elements in the music tell me I’m listening to a rock band.

All of this is splitting hairs and kind of silly. The playing is generally excellent, even if it reminds me too much of another band, and there is more variety in this band’s sound than some other fusion bands of the era.

  1. “Birdfingers” (Coryell) – 3:10
  2. “The Funky Waltz” (Mouzon) – 5:12
  3. “Low-Lee-Tah” (Coryell) – 4:20
  4. “Adam Smasher” (Mandel) – 4:33
  5. “Joy Ride” (Mandel) – 6:11
  6. “Yin” (Wolfgang Dauner) – 6:06
  7. “Theme for a Dream” (Coryell) – 3:29
  8. “Gratitude “A So Low” (Coryell) – 3:24
  9. “Ism-Ejercicio” (Coryell) – 4:02
  10. “Right on Y’all” (Mouzon) – 4:20
  • Randy Brecker – horn, trumpet
  • Larry Coryell – guitar
  • Mike Mandel – piano, synthesizer
  • Alphonse Mouzon – drums, percussion
  • Danny Trifan – bass

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