Larry Coryell & Bombay Jazz
Tolbooth, Stirling, Sat 20 Oct
This is the only Scottish date for a world-jazz quartet featuring the guitar work of Larry Coryell. It’s a rare Scottish outing for the American guitarist, who made his name in the first wave of jazz-rock fusion in the early 70s.
‘During that time, straight-ahead jazz was a little flat compared to all the exciting things that were going on in rock and pop music,’ he recalled. ‘It felt like what we had to do as young musicians at that time. Barriers were being broken down right and left, icons were being smashed. But that passed again, and after the exciting part of the fusion era died off, straight-ahead jazz started sounding better again.’
The guitarist has straddled a whole range of genres in his time, working with symphony orchestras as well as fellow guitar greats John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, and world-music oriented projects like Bombay Jazz.
He will be joined in that band by American saxophonist George Brooks and two highly-regarded Indian musicians, Ronu Majumdar on bansuri (bamboo flute) and Vijay Ghate on tabla. The quartet first came together in India in 2003, and has convened periodically (if infrequently) since then, but it was a fusion that the guitarist had explored in the past, including touring in India with violinist L Subramanium and Shakti.
Coryell’s recent autobiography, Improvising: My Life in Music, shares tales of his collaborations and influences, while acknowledging his fight with drugs and alcohol could have brought the whole story to a premature end. Happily, he worked through it, helped by embracing Buddhism at the urging of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.