Monday, March 9, 2009

Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House - Level One [1975]

This is one of my favourite Jazz Fusion recordings, by one of my favourite Jazz Fusion groups. Imagine a cross between Ian Carr's Nucleus and early Mahavishnu and this is what you get. Coryell found his Jan Hammer- esque counterpart in amazing blind keyboardist Mike Mandel and Alphonse Mouzon is as close to a Cobham-style drummer as it is possible to find. Mike Lawrence on trumpet is just as electric and maybe even spacier than Jerry Goodman. His style mirrors that of Miles Davis during that period. Likewise bandleader Coryell really pushed the limits of both his playing and composing with this band configuration and subsequent release.

However, the individual who deserves special merit, and really propels this intensely awesome record in a super-mahavishnu way is unheralded-til-now bassist John Lee. His raucous thundering pushes Larry's sound in a very satisfying way, and Coryell's power here is a direct result of John's pulsing support. This is not Funk in any way, though this record has a certain funkiness to it, and that is mostly Lee's doing.

Every song stands strong with repeated listenings. The album is actually entitled Level One, but if you ask me this is one of the highest levels of fusion attainable. This is a must-have for any fan of furious fusion.

Previous Album: Introducing The Eleventh House [1974]