No Macrobiotics Required
By Mary Fernier
Delving into Larry Coryell’s latest release, Barefoot Man: Sanpaku, is a full-body dive into old school jazz. Perhaps not having given much thought to the musical term “fusion” beyond the prog rock of Dixie Dregs, I was not prepared for the post-bop, free jazz creation of Coryell and his band. Rather than the hum-able hooks of my normal playlists, I gained an appreciation of the passion and inspired improv of the genre.
Known as the “Godfather of Fusion,” Larry Coryell and these four incredible musicians bring full meaning to the word fusion. Each of the seven songs showcases the individual mastery of their instruments, while at the same time fuses them together in sometimes chaotic innovation, sometimes lilting, lyrical form.
The record, released October 14th, 2016, and named as a nod to 1971’s Barefoot Boy, starts off with the probing urgency of a mid-century detective program on TV, moving on to a playful take on swing and a bright, freeform style. “If Miles Were Here,” illustrates the influence Miles Davis had, and continues to have, on Coryell.
Album highlights include a syncopated intro, Lynne Arriale’s sunny piano, and Lee Pierson’s drums, light as tinsel or thundering solos, as needed. Dan Jordan brings essential saxophone and flute to the mix, while longtime Coryell collaborator, John Lee, grounds the music in the bass line. The guitar master himself, Larry Coryell, wraps it all together allowing his emotion, ear, and the skill of fingers on strings to take listeners where he wants them to go.
Barefoot Man: Sanpaku is a tasty treat for fans who appreciate the spontaneity and innovation of organic jazz. Catch the band on tour in the US through the rest of 2016.