The Larry Coryell Organ Trio – Impressions – Chesky Records Multichannel SACD 337 *****:
(Larry Coryell, elec. guitar; Sam Yahel, B-3 organ; Paul Wertico, drums)
Larry Coryell is one of the top jazz guitarists working today, with over 100 albums as both leader and sideman. He’s always been versatile in his musical encounters but this is a first for him in the standard guitar/B-3/drums trio format. He started out in the business inspired by both Wes Montomgery’s trio (with Melvin Ryne on B-3) and Grant Green (with Larry Young on B-3). For this session he used his regular drummer of the past five years and one of the newer breed of B-3 players, Israeli-born Sam Yahel.
The nine tunes include two Coryell originals and one by drummer Wertico, and contributions from Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Bill Evans and John Coltrane. The venue was St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in NYC, often used by Chesky for its natural acoustics for surround compared to the usual studio situation. Coryell’s guitar is dead center, with the drums on the right and B-3 on the left. There’s no overdubs or gimmicks, just the natural sounds of the three players. Coryell’s guitar has a clean and wide range timbre, and he refrains from over-electronic tricks. Yahel seems to favor a slight haze of distortion on his B-3 sound, which I could do without, but it’s not strong enough to be disturbing.
The trio’s bouncy treatment of Come Rain or Come Shine is a classic, and the tender slowed-down tempo of their Embraceable You offers welcome variety from the more energetic numbers. Coryell’s veneration of the late guitarist Gabor Szabo is shown in Szabodar, and the style of the Hungarian guitarist shares with that of Wes Montgomery in influencing Coryell’s approach. Strongly appreciated is the absence of guest vocalists on any of the nine tracks.
TrackList: Very Early, Stowaway, Come Rain or Come Shine, Embraceable You, Cariba, Impressions, Szabodar, Full Moon Over Istanbul, Centerpiece.
– John Henry