Larry Corban and The Aperturistic Trio release ‘The Corbanator’
By Joe Ross
Larry CorbanLarry Corban’s highly anticipated second album, The Corbanator, marks a superhuman step forward for the virtuosic New York based guitar cyborg. Consisting of ten selections composed by Corban and three creatively performed standards, The Corbanator exploits the many creative possibilities and musical settings for this great musician who’s playing and writing always tells a story. Corban’s formidable technique and intellect never get in the way of the music, but only serve the schema of the musical storyline. Led by the seasoned guitarist, the album features ace instrumentalists bassist Harvie S, pianist James Weidman, and drummer Steve Williams. The Corbanator is certain to cement Corban’s standing as a singular voice like no other in the progressive jazz continuum, with a dramatic sonic experience with plenty of surprises and heartfelt playing.
Opening with “Dizzy Affairs” the set starts swinging unabashedly, and during his solo, Corban clearly displays his sophisticated linear phrases, with brief inspired chordal punctuations, while Weidman’s piano solo navigates the well-known changes with effortless style, all this is over S’ strong walking bass line and Williams’ similarly robust support. “The Corbanator” is a thoughtful melody that weaves and dives, followed by the mid-up repetitive motif of “Sea of Fire” that signifies the quartet is rooted in the deeper jazz tradition, but there is equal parts of modernistic angles.
A beautiful series of chord alternations introduce “Hidden Reality,” a smart waltz that finds Corban’s solo joining thematic idiosyncrasies with broad intervallic leaps and rapid-fire motifs. “Event Horizon” showcases the group’s agile dynamics and harmonic expertise, while “Old Folks” is full of soft delineations and ‘big ears.’ “Stacked Coincidences” is successful in capturing the power, interaction and reckless abandon of Corban’s playing, but the strength of this project is certainly the guitarist’s forward-looking writing and playing.
The album has plenty of surprises; a solo guitar track with Corban raising the heat and displaying his pyrotechnic Fender strat chops on “Swamp Ditty.” Four of the tracks are Corban in an acoustic guitar duet with himself, which include: “Two, Two, Three Step,” “Don’t Lock the Top,” “ Limits of Inquiry” and “Blue in Green, ” the duet playing falls sonically somewhere between John McLaughlin’s My Goals Beyond and Pat Martino’s We’ll Be Together Again. Corban coaxes different timbres from his guitar that enhance the sound, creating an effect of hearing two different textures, but really it’s one big sound—a poignant and compelling approach to the instrument.
On the playful “Two, Two, Three Step,” for example, Corban expertly supports his solo with unexpected chordal jabs, never resorting to the jazz-guitar custom of strumming four chords per bar. His rhythmic approach to his single lines is driving and full of flurries and aggressive articulation. “You Stepped Out of a Dream” finds Corban joined by The Aperturistic Trio again to end the date with excellent playing by all.
The Corbanator is an invigorating demonstration of how vivid a sound-picture can be established by an individual with a clear vision and the right set of players. It moves from fast swings to guitar duet grooves over which Corban swirls. Corban’s imaginative and crystal-clear playing and composing is only elevated by The Aperturistic Trio, adding up to a stellar recording.
Track, Time and Composer:
1. Dizzy Affairs 3:48 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
2. The Corbanator 5:46 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
3. Sea of Fire 5:54 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
4. Hidden Reality 4:47 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
5. Event Horizon 5:01 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
6. Old Folks 6:23 Dedette Lee Hill / Williard Robison Copright 1938 Warner Bros. Inc., (ASCAP)
7. Stacked Coincidences 4:58 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
8. Two, Two, Three Step 2:44 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
9. Swamp Ditty 3:38 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
10. Don’t Lock the Top 5:30 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
11. Limits of Inquiry 3:26 Larry Corban Music (ASCAP)
12. Blue In Green 3:05 Miles Davis / Bill Evans Jazz Horn Music/Warner-Tamerlane Publ. (BMI)
13. You Stepped Out of a Dream 5:58 Gus Kahn / Nacio Herb Brown Copyright 1940 EMI Feist Catalog, Inc.
Players and instruments on The Corbanator include:
•Larry Corban – Guitar(s): Electric, Steel and Nylon String Acoustic. He plays a Gibson L-5 1978 CES Series, a Fender Stratocastor, a Taylor Acoustic, and a Giannini Nylon string. The amp used was an Acoustic Image Clarus SL-R head through a Leonardo Speaker Cabinet.
The Aperturistic Trio are:
•James Weidman – Piano, Fender Rhodes
•Harvie S – Upright Bass
•Steve Williams – Drums