Well, if the irascible Harvie S is involved with something, then you know you’re in for some great jazz, as the cat’s an uncompromising perfectionist and can scope out true talent from miles and oceans away. Thus, he appears here with guitarist Larry Corban for the third outing as a member of the Aperturistic Trio (great name!). Harvie not only plays but also co-produces Corban Nation, and the result is a luxurious concatenation of nine prime jazz tracks with endless improv and melodic twists and conformances.
Corban’s baseline sits firmly in trad modalities but can break out of them in a nanosecond, speeding up and down the neck like a maniac in mind- and finger-numbing clusters. He studied under a number of the greats and it shows: the late Pat Martino, Jack Wilkins, Joanne Brackeen, Mick Goodrick, and a number of stellar components. He’s also played / performed / recorded with Roy Hargrove, Wayne Krantz, Vic Juris, and too many others to list. In other words: serious, y’all. Steve Slagle has also hosted the gent and appears on three cuts here, lighting the upper reaches of the compositions, all of which Corban wrote save for “Segment” (Charlie Parker) and “I Should Care” (Cahn/Stordahl/Weston).
“What It Is” brings the funk, generously redolent of Joe Beck, Eric Gale – both dearly missed now – John Tropea, and the 70s hipsters…until he breaks out the trouble switch and then it’s Mike Stern, John Scofield, and Larry Coryell all the way, with a dram of Gary Boyle for added piquancy. James Weidman steps in on organ to Kudu/CTI the joint up as Harvie dogs the understructure with a dancing Harlem steady-on, Steve Williams drumming around under, and beside his compeers, bringing a hell of a lot more than you’ll find, all due respect, on old Motown recordings.
I find quite a few similarities between Mr. Corban and Dave Stryker, Calvin Keys, and other ear candy fretsmeisters as well, that tasty Toy Shop Of The 70s thing where ornamental delectations and cross-genre inspissations become so damned attractive, elsewhere caught in a cross-disciplinary stew by combos like Soullive but nowhere near as many as we dinosaurs from the Boomer Era might prefer. The fusion factor ramps up in “The Shape of Time”, then “Segment” be-bops all around the studio, and “Slow Fizz” wafts across the Atlantic for an ECM interlude highly reminiscent of that label’s high period, essences of Art Lande, Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, and hallowed staples cropping up all through the 7:23 track. With that much territory to cover, I suggest listeners pack a gourmet lunch, strap on the hiking boots, and heft a flagon of whiskey; things need to be done correctly!
CD Review: Larry Corban – Corban Nation.
Larry Corban (guitar); Harvie S (bass/bass guitar); James Weidman (piano/B3); Steve Williams (drums) + Steve Slagle (soprano/alto).
(Review by Lance.)
This one’s been on the backburner for a while. Reviewers will be familiar with the scenario – you earmark an album for review and another six come through the mailbox…
Well, all that arrived today was a catalogue from The House of Bath offering bargains galore – why do these catalogue people have to use such shiny paper?
So, tonight it was just me and Larry Corban and the Aperturistic Trio plus, on three tracks, Steve Slagle.
A delightful disc that doesn’t seek to push any boundaries and, if the leader’s statement that The energy this group generates on this recording is akin to capturing lightning in a bottle may be slightly over the top it cannot be denied that they do blow up a storm.
Corban, whom I presume, composed most of the nine compositions (I Should Care being the token standard and, likewise, Segment – the jazz standard.) can swing or rock as the mood takes and the moods do vary. Example; Harvie S’ bowed bass head on Child’s Tuneleading nicely into Corban’s most melodic offering with Weidman maintaining the feeling. This, however, is one of those albums where each track has its own characteristic, each one offering contrasting delights and, as a bonus the three tracks with Slagle on soprano or alto, the icing on the cake.
There are influences – Metheny, Martino, Scofield, McLaughlin. Which of today’s guitarists hasn’t absorbed the teachings of those Grandmasters? But there’s a difference between influence and cloning. Corban walks the same broad avenue but at his pace taking the occasional alternate route, sometimes looking backward, sometimes looking forward, but getting there just the same.
Not surprisingly, it’s self-released (the label’s name gives it away – Nabroc Records) and, excellent as it is, in today’s market I doubt if it’s going to unleash too much lightning from the bottle.
HOW WRONG CAN I BE?
Just heard it on the Grape that the album is now number 3 on the RMR Top 50 Jazz Chart.
Number 8 on the CMJ Top 40 Jazz Chart, along with being the ‘Biggest Gainer’ and ‘Most Added’ at Jazzweek.
Now, I’m not quite sure what all these accolades add up to – me being an Englishman in Newcastle – but it sounds to be more than a hill of beans. Best check it out here.
Preview YouTube video In-Vision from “Corban Nation”
In-Vision from “Corban Nation”
Join me for two hours of intense jazz tonight on “Straight, No Chaser” on KBCS. You’ll hear music by the Ken Schaphorst Big Band . . . Max Roach . . . The Westerlies . . . Larry Corban . . . the Alex LevineQuartet . . . Rez Abbasi & Injunction . . . Michael Vlatkovich . . . the Matty Harris Double Septet . . . the Ullmann / Swell 4 . . . the Paul Bley Trio . . . the Sylvie Courvoisier Trio . . . Alexander von Schlippenbach . . Paradoxical Frog . . . Quinsin Nachoff . . . Terrell Stafford . . . the Steve LacySextet . . . and Evan Parker, Joe Morris & Nate Wooley. Hear it live from 9 to 11 Pacific time at 91.3 FM or www.kbcs.fm — or hear it later in the KBCS audio archive.
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