Larry Corban has worked with enough stalwarts—Gerry Niewood, Roy Hargroves, Richard Lee and Irrational Logic, Reggie Washington, and LOTS more—to fill up an extensive menu: column A, column B and column C. His work in The Circle Starts Here is in trio format with the long-famed Harvie S on bass and Steve Williams on drums, both of whom have played and toured with dizzingly talented jazz titans. Corban's preferred mode is bop verging upon fusion but without the distortion, power chords, and usual outside paraphernalia. In the promo lit, the writer places him somewhere between John McLaughlin's My Goals Beyond period and Pat Metheny, and that's not a bad comparison at all.
I say start with the speedy Enjoy the Ride where Mahavishnu Orchestra's famed fretbender meets Django Reinhardt and especially listen to the way Corban starts tearing his chords apart to winnow out clustered lead notes, obtaining a rarely heard manifestation sitting smack-dab in the middle of both. Seventh Dimension follows, Corban duetting with himself on two acoustic guitars, invoking a number of truncated tempos punctuating themselves autodidactically. In fact, one of the more surprising aspects of this CD is that the guy is ceaselessly splitting down the mathematics and possibilities of what he's writing. It's a fascinating process and quickly becomes apparent he's improvising on multiple levels. That's where the fusion comes in, and many many passages will intrigue Soft Machine and Nucleus aficionados…again: without all the thunder and mega-amperage.
Of course, when you've studied under Martino, Goodrick, Juris, Brackeen, and as many top shelfers as Corban has, finesse and celerity, not to mention depth of invention, are to be expected, though I have to say this guy exceeds expectations. Thus, slotting him with Metheny and McLaughlin (and even George Benson, whose old stuff to this day knocks me out) is perfect. Several worlds meet in his work and spawn a fourth: Corban's own. Harvie S walks the periphery around the guitar work, fleshing out the environment, while Williams complements the main axe in great restrained shades, chiefly as ambient as Harvie but in a fashion as hypnotic as Corban's—listen, for instance, to Blink of an Eye and note the choices made. Then just sit back and listen to everything.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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