The Circle Starts Here (with Harvie S & Steve Williams)
Larry Corban (Nabroc)
by Terrell Holmes
Larry Corban is a wonderfully conversant guitarist,
whose articulacy and fluidity define his new album.
He’s joined by first-call stalwarts Harvie S (bass) and
Steve Williams (drums) to form a vigorous trio, which
infuses this roster of straightahead tunes with a vibe
both dynamic and relaxed.
Genre and tempo pose no problems for this group;
its gracefulness and facility are unwavering. These
songs, with Corban’s crisp, octave-rich lines at their
core, have an impressive balance and variety. The band
is solid at midtempo on the lilting “Bossa Barb” and
the scampering “Side Swiped”, slick and edgy on the
burners “Enjoy the Ride” and “On the Sly”. The
sunglasses-at-midnight strut of “Wolf’s Den” and
standard “East of the Sun” (the only song not written
by Corban) exemplify swing. And the trio plays with a
heartening intimacy when it downshifts on “Roll the
Dice” and “The Second She Leaves”.
Corban favors the slow hand when he plays solo.
“Hours Late”, “Dream Wheel” and “Hmm” are
contemplative, lovely tunes; the use of overdubbing
enhances their tenderness and gives them added
texture. He doesn’t completely abandon uptempo
tunes – the astrophysics-inspired “Seventh Dimension”
dashes in the off-the-beaten-path time signature of 7/8
– but his thoughtfulness and pacing establish him as a
If Corban is a traditionalist, he’s a mischievous
one. “Blink of an Eye”, for example, has a strong
suggestion of Wayne Shorter’s “Juju” running through
it. And although Corban writes that “Story Inside My
Head” was inspired by John Coltrane’s “Countdown”,
Harvie S and Williams open the tune with a dynamite
mano a mano recalling drummer Joe Morello thrashing
over pianist Dave Brubeck’s ostinato on “Take Five”.
But all of this would sink into mediocrity if not for the
multifaceted Corban, whose skills as player, composer
and leader make The Circle Starts Here a treat.