by Brent Black
Larry Corban The Circle Starts Here Nabroc Records 2013
For some reason the better guitarists tend to shy away from the trio format as of late and in some cases they simply avoid it all together. Case in point, the accomplished guitarist Russell Malone waiting until recently to release his first trio recording. Perhaps like the solo piano effort, a guitar trio is the equivalent of tap dancing in a sonic mine field as one escapes with their life or not at all. Larry Corban’s The Circle Starts Here embraces the guitar trio and runs with it offering up 13 original compositions and one standard to reinforce the sonic bridge between traditional and modern jazz.
For those of you asking, “Who is Larry Corban?” we have a musical resume that includes performing with Omer Avital, Tia Fuller, and Robert Glasper to drop but a few names from his travels. Of course a guitar trio date is only as good as the rhythm section and Corban is ably backed with session ace Harvie S on bass and Steve Williams on drums. Corban digs deep utilizing the electric, steel and nylon acoustic guitars for added depth and texture often missing from some trios that come off sounding a little “one note.” The acoustic work is reminiscent of some John McLaughlin while the electric side is a vibrant presentation that could be referred to as a George Benson meets Grant Green hybrid of six string wonder. Artistic comparisons are inherently unfair by nature as the comparison here are used to simply give one the idea of the lyrical force that is Larry Corban. Clean angular solos with a charming intimacy and necessary fire when the moment is right, a truly unique voice for guitar.
“SideSwiped” is a mid tempo number inspired by the great work of both Cannonball Adderley and Lee Morgan. “Dreamwheel” utilizes the nylon string for a more contemporary flair with the inspiration of a gorgeous ski slope in Steamboat Springs Co. guiding his pen. The lone standard seems to fit right in the Corban wheelhouse as “East Of The Sun” is taken at mid tempo with the subtle nuances of brushes adding the flavor thanks to drummer Steve Williams.
As solid and well thought out as any guitar trio to date. Larry Corban is well on his way as his musical stock would appear to be an arrow pointing straight up!
A rock solid 4 stars!
Tracks: Sideswiped; Bossa Barb; Enjoy The Ride; Seventh Dimension; The Second She Leaves; On The Sky; Blink Of An Eye; 3 Hours Late; Roll The Dice; Story Inside My Head; Dreamwheel; Wolf’s Den; Hmmm; East Of The Sun.
Personnel: Larry Corban: guitars; Harvie S: bass; Steve Williams: drums.