Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Murali Coryell Is Very Live

I have been aware of guitarist-vocalist Murali Coryell since he signed to the now defunct independent label Big Mo. The son of pioneering jazz and fusion guitarist Larry Coryell, in recent years he has also played with Joe Louis Walker. Coryell has a new CD/DVD Live on (Shake-It-Sugar Records). The CD was recorded in May 2012 at Club Helsinki in Hudson NY while the DVD was captured for video at the The Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arms, British Columbia with Joe Louis Walker’s bassist Henry Oden and drummer Dorian Randolph along with John Nemeth’s keyboard player, Dave Fleschner, providing the backing. The band on the Club Helsinki recording includes Randolph on drums, bassist Vince Leggiere, Stacey Waterous on saxophone, Bill Foster on guitar and Cameron Melville for a couple selections on organ.

While there is some overlap in the songs on the CD and DVD, the performances are quite different (a saxophonist on the Club Helsinki performance certainly lends a different tenor (pun intended) to the performances as he rips a nice solo with  Coryell chording behind him on Tampa Red’s classic Love Her With A Feeling before Coryell launches into a nicely structured, yet fiery blues-rock solo. 

Coryell is an amiable singer and songwriter who has a way for putting words together as on his his originals Sugar Lips, as In the Room With Jimi. The latter number opens the CD and is heard in a different performance and is a bluesy-rock with a lengthy guitar jam with effects centered about the fact that as a 3 month year old kid Jimi Hendrix backstage at the Fillmore East. The performances on the live CD are quite varied ranging from the funky and soulful I Can’t Give You Up; the slow reflective bluesy ballad I Could've Had You, and the down in the alley blues, Softly Let Me Kiss Your Lips (with excellent organ from Cameron Melville and saxophone from Stacey Waterous, as well as Coryell’s searing guitar to complement his vocal). The afore-mentioned Sugar Lips. is a boogie-based rocker followed by a lengthy take on Tampa Red’s Love Her With a Feeling, with Coryell playing slide for a steamy rendition of this classic blues with some nice raspy saxophone as part of the mix. 

Its a nice and varied mix of originals and covers that is played in a lively fashion with straight blues mixed with some soul and rock in a manner that might be compared to Tommy Castro. The DVD performances cover some of the same musical territory and provide a sense of his live festival performance. If the performances are occasionally a bit lengthy, overall that is a minor point. Coryell is a solid singer and guitarist who has produced this solid and most enjoyable CD/DVD combination.

I received my review copy from a publicist. H ere is a video of Murali with Joe Louis Walker performing In the Room With Jimi.

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