NYC Jazz Record

NYC Jazz Record

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

first-rank balladeer.

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.

 

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