Larry Coryell & Eleventh House

January 1975: The Livelove Series, Vol. 1

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In the 1970s, Germany's Radio Bremen simulcast a series of modern jazz concerts from all across the spectrum, and wisely archived them. Record producer Consul Bodo Jacoby was looking for a new project after losing the rights to reissue the MPS catalog and recalled them. His Promising Music label is issuing a number of these vintage performances in what he calls the Livelove series, of which January 1975 is the first volume. This date, captured via mobile truck by the engineers of the radio station, features Larry Coryell & the Eleventh House in full flight, between the band's debut album Introducing the Eleventh House and its sophomore offering, Level One. It is the lineup from the latter record performing here. Trumpeter Michael Lawrence replaces Randy Brecker, and bassist John Lee takes over from Danny Trifan. Keyboardist Mike Mandel and drummer Alphonse Mouzon are mainstays with Coryell. While this is most certainly jazz rock fusion, it is decidedly more on the jazz tip than most of what falls under the heading. Lawrence's trumpet and Coryell's guitar consistently cover the front line of compositions such as "Eleventh House Blues" which, despite the wah-wah blues-rock intro, walks a tough bop line. The sprawling "The Other Side" uses a tight head and middle eight before moving off into the galactic regions of fusion. Ballads such as "Diedra" showcase the kind of detailed lyricism this quintet was capable of. "Julie La Belle" is an unaccompanied acoustic guitar solo that reveals the depth of the influence Brazilian and Spanish masters have had in Coryell's style. But there are also tracks that flaunt their rock dynamics such as the brooding "Low Lee Tah," which erupts with Lawrence's bleating solo halfway through before being answered in call and response by Coryell on the highwire. Mandel's Rhodes playing on "Suite (Entrance/Repose/Exit)" is the unexpected anchor here, creating space as well as harmonic and chromatic intrigue. The rhythm section doesn't so much hold down the fray as push it forward into white heat -- check Lee's intense conversation with Lawrence at the midpoint before Coryell reenters. Mouzon is on fire throughout. This is a stunning show, on par with anything by Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever; more rooted in jazz. If January 1975 is any indication of the performance quality of this vault series, there is much to celebrate.

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