Larry Coryell

Cedars of Avalon

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Older jazz fans may remember Larry Coryell from the 1970s as a major jazz fusion guitarist, but this 2001 session with Cedar Walton, Buster Williams, and Billy Drummond finds him long since settled into a post-bop mode. One gets the feeling that the musicians were so comfortable playing together that they were actually a working quartet; the feeling of each track is of first-take freshness while being as close to perfection as possible. Coryell's teasing introduction to Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing" shows off his playful side, though the imaginative solos all around demonstrate that there is plenty of new ground to cover within this jazz standard. He salutes Wes Montgomery with a superb take of "D-Natural Blues," as well as Johnny Smith by initiating an almost conversational duet with Williams before Walton and Drummond make their entrance. His two solo tracks, "Limehouse Blues" and his intricate "Shapes," display his phenomenal technique on acoustic guitar in a fashion similar to his mid-'70s duets with Philip Catherine, except he plays both lines through overdubbing. This is yet another outstanding release by Larry Coryell.

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