Sketches of Coryell

Larry Coryell

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Sketches of Coryell Review

by Stewart Mason

Parts of 1996's Sketches of Coryell make the casual listener want to reach through the speaker cables and slap some sense into the guitarist. Larry Coryell is one of the great jazz guitarists of his generation, but like too many of his albums, Sketches of Coryell is musically lazy and, one suspects, slightly cynical. Coryell plays beautifully throughout, but the song choices (including only two originals out of ten tracks, the poppy ballad "Molly" and the more successful reflective closer "Ray of Hope") are thoroughly uninspired; one gets the idea that the perfunctory run though a theme from the Miles Davis and Gil Evans classic Sketches of Spain was recorded only so the album could have an instantly recognizable title, and the dentist-office rendition of Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love" is just abominable. Other tracks aren't quite so obviously geared toward heavy Muzak rotation, but the album overall sounds like Coryell was simply punching the clock at the studio -- and he could be doing so much more.

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