Larry Coryell – At The Village Gate (1971)
Vanguard VSD-6573 – Vinyl transferred at 192 khz 32-bit floating point
Most of the Vanguard material that Larry Coryell recorded is pretty distinct from the kind of music he would later become known for. More raw, psychedelic, and bluesy than his later shred-it-to-bits fusion flexing, and with a leaner, more stripped-down sound due do its (mostly) trio format. Is there such a thing as a jazz power trio? If so, I guess that’s what this is. The vibe here is definitely purple hazy and, as with his prior records on Vanguard, shows that his interactions with Hendrix during the Electric Ladyland sessions left a big impression. The set here has some Coryell originals, and a Chick Corea tune, Entardecendo En Saudade (sic). It also has a song “by the Scottish composer Jack Bruce” with Can You Follow? from Bruce’s album “Harmony Row”, also released in 71. That tune is the opening track on the album, performed with piano and voice, and lasts only a minute and a half. True to form, Coryell stretches it out to over 9 minutes of modal permutations on the melody.
But my favorite cut here has his wife Julie Coryell on vocals together with Larry, singing lyrics she wrote. Her contributions to Larry’s early records were all excellent, and although she did contribute a few things to later albums, she mostly worked as Larry’s manager and eventually the author of a landmark book, Jazz-Rock Fusion: The People, The Music. Those things are worthy accomplishments that surely kept her quite busy, but its a shame she didn’t also continue writing and recording music. Anyway, this record may be free of the bombast associated with jazz-rock-fusion later in the decade, but if you have little patience for guitar ‘wankery’, you may not find much to your liking here. Incidentally, “wankery” is definitely not a term I am fond of, but one that circulates and seemingly unique to slagging off guitarists. I don’t think I’ve yet heard anybody talk about “saxophone wankery”, for example. But I could be wrong about that?
Mirror 1 (Filefactory)
Mirror 2 (Mega)