Larry Coryell | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Larry Coryell 

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Remarkably, Larry Coryell's guitar playing still has the spiky, barely controlled energy of his youngest days. Like a hyperactive kid, he almost pushes the music past his fingers, giving his lines a hurry-up urgency; this, along with a melodic imagination beholden to no one, serves as his trademark. We first heard it in Gary Burton's prefusion band of the late 60s, and then most forcefully in the blistering and often chaotic fusion outfit led by Coryell himself. Today it infuses not only jazz standards but also Coryell's typically quirky take on Brazilian music, as heard on last year's Live From Bahia. (And whatever the format, Coryell's work carries faint traces of his rock and space-music days, folded completely into his jazz style; he's an utter original.) In Chicago, in a trio format featuring the sterling bassist Larry Gray, you can expect Coryell to concentrate on songs from the jazz tradition, but the presence of drummer Paul Wertico (of the Pat Metheny Group) will facilitate any Brazilian experimentation Coryell cares to try. Ultimately you never know quite what you'll get from Coryell either on disc or in concert or even from one particular solo to the next--which remains his most irresistible, and maddening, quality. Friday through Sunday, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.

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