Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Gem, February 6, 2003
This review is from: Offering (Audio CD)
Back in the early 70's, Coryell put together a strange little band that, in addition to himself, included Harry Wilkinson on drums, Mervin Bronson on bass, Steve Marcus on soprano sax, and Mike Mandel on, of all things, electric piano with fuzz-wah. Those were the heady days before fusion became a formulaic and boring refuge for technically hypercharged cokeheads, the days when people who wanted to play both jazz and rock didn't really have preconceptions about what the hybrid should sound like. The result was at times a kind of virtuosic grandiosity, as in Tony Williams' Lifetime's early sessions, with their bad-poetry raps interspersed with fiery playing by Williams, Larry Young, and John McLaughlin. At other times, in the quirkiest way, players hit the mark. Offering is one of those records. Wilkinson is no virtuoso, but his snapping and pounding make quite an interesting call-and-response counterpoint to Coryell's solos; each had an exceptional ear for the other. In tone as well as execution, Marcus is exceptional, so much so that I wonder what he's doing now; Bronson is quite good(listen to his bent-note but solid backing on "Begger's Chant"), and Mandel's playing is humorous and bizarre in a kind of Don Preston-Zappa way. Coryell has never been better. His playing is relentlessly inventive. Listening to the astounding accumulation of ideas and the beautiful architectonics of his solos on "Beggar's Chant," "Foreplay," and the title track, I'm taken back to those days when Coryell was jazz-rock music's hidden treasure. The current crop of guitarists of any stripe would benefit from an attentive listen. Some of Coryell's most innovative playing on record.
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