Alone Together


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Writing a tune using chords generated by the Slonimsky Augmented Scale

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Larry Corban Electric Trio with Greg Gonzalez and Scott Hogan at the Bitter End on Sunday, December 29th at 10:00 for one 45 minute set!

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Emergence reviewed on All About Jazz Oct. 21, 2019

Larry Corban: Emergence


New York guitarist Larry Corban has once again come together with the Aperturistic Trio—pianist James Weidman, bassist Harvie S, drummer Steve Williams—for his fifth recording Emergence. Though titled like a debut album Emergence features a seasoned Corban employing a Gibson L-5 that easily navigates bold swinging on up-tempo burners, and tender musings on lyrical ballads. The ensemble is augmented by the indomitable saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi who adds an element of fierceness to four of the eight tunes.

“Table Stakes” is a Bergonzi contrafact on Benny Golson’s tune “Stablemates.” Bergonzi’s interpretations and reharmonizations of standard tunes have become as legendary as his inventive playing and robust tone on the saxophone. The medium swing feel allows everyone to dig in and explore the harmonic and rhythmic possibilities of the tune. The Aperturistic Trio has been playing together for years, so the swing pocket is deep and supportive. Corban’s guitar solo starts with eighth note lines that are augmented by flurries of embellishments. He continues to build in this fashion, increasing the number of notes and intensity of the flurries. Harvie S and Williams keep the pulse steady as Corban pushes and pulls, creating a sense of drama and musical tension. Bergonzi takes the second solo and continues the theme Corban started; his fluidity of harmonic and rhythmic ideas and clarity of direction is notable. Weidman’s solo is more melodic, but just as energetic and musically rewarding.

“Observer Effect” is a Corban original that is presented with a light bossa nova treatment. For this selection, Corban opts for a chorus effect to color his guitar. The melody is enjoyable and bass lines of Harvie S under the melody add to the color and movement. The bassist continues with a solo that is melodic and covers a wide range on his instrument; he has a strong sense of pacing and a warmed woody tone. Corban’s solo is very active. His single lines speed through the changes, landing on harmonic safe spots to breath and create the shape of his lines. Corban certainly displays a strong technique and an unusual approach which is refreshing to hear, one that pushes the guitar vocabulary forward in the jazz tradition.

Corban has been diligently releasing since 2003, creating a legacy of releases which highlight his strong collaborations and significant compositions. With each release, Corban steps forward as a guitarist with breadth as well as a depth in his writing, bolstering his place in the jazz guitar idiom.

Track Listing: Sea of Fire; Table Steaks; Observer Effect; Soon to Be; Never Let Me Go; On the Fly; Non-Determinism; You and the Night and the Music.

Personnel: Larry Corban: guitar; Harvie S: upright bass; James Weidman ; piano; Steve Williams ; drums; Jerry Bergonzi: tenor saxophone.

Title: Emergence | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Nabroc Records

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Review Alert: Cadence Magazine


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Larry Corban continues to chart at JazzWeek for 14 weeks, peaking at #39 overall

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Larry Corban Interview with Modern Jazz Today


Larry-Corban-EMERGENCE-HighRes-CoverGuitarist Larry Corban is known for his daredevil solos and instinct for well-placed excursions into the realm of improvisation.  His talents are demonstrated on his latest recording Emergence, a post-bop/straight-ahead jazz assortment containing six originals and two covers.  Joining Corban on the tracks is saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi and members of the Aperturistic Trio, pianist James Weidman, bassist Harvie S and drummer Steve Williams. Collectively, the quintet creates the album of Corban’s dreams.

He provides, “I’ve been listening to Jerry and Harvie since I was in high school.  Getting to play with these guys is like getting to play with the Beatles or a similar band of superheroes!”  He enthuses, “Each member of the ensemble can play in a myriad of styles that allows for a huge breadth of scope when sculpting new material.  Generally, they can take any new composition and transform it into something better than I intended.”

How did Corban manage to meet and connect with his heroes and form a lifelong bond?  He recounts, “I met Harvie S on Facebook of all places.  In 2009, I decided to reach out to my favorite bass player, Harvie S, and asked him if he wanted to get together and play.  I sent Harvie some videos of my playing with the Larry Corban Electric Trio, and we started doing sessions with various drummers, workshopping my tunes for four years.”

Fast forward, he chronicles, “In 2013, we decided it was time to make a guitar trio record.  Harvie put me in contact with drummer, Steve Williams, and we made The Circle Starts Here for Nabroc Records.  The following year it was thought that it would strengthen the ensemble to add a pianist.  Harvie connected me with James Weidman”

He clarifies, “Harvie, Steve, and James are also a band called the Aperturistic Trio.  In 2014, we made a record called The Corbanator – Larry Corban & The Aperturistic Trio.  This group is what I consider the core ensemble for my records.”

“In 2016,” he furnishes, “we made Corban Nation and added guest alto and soprano saxophonist, Steve Slagle, for three cuts.  This album had me compositionally moving in a funkier direction with the occasional use of effects like distortion on the guitar.  Since I already have a history of three recordings done with the Aperturistic Trio, I wanted to continue that band development process.  Now in 2019, we’ve released Emergence with tenor saxophonist, Jerry Bergonzi, as the added guest for four cuts.”  The four tracks that feature Bergonzi are “Table Steaks,” “Sea of Fire,” “On The Fly,” and “Soon To Be.”

“I met Jerry through Harvie S,” he recollects. “Harvie contacted Jerry about playing on the session.  Based on Jerry’s schedule we set a LarryCorban-5record date.  I had heard about Jerry in high school in late 80’s.  At the time, Michael Brecker was quoted as saying ‘Jerry Bergonzi is his reason for getting up and practicing every day!”

Inviting guest soloists on tracks has been a pattern on Corban’s records.  He notes, “I’ve been having guests on my records for the last two releases.  The last CD had Steve Slagle on alto and soprano sax for three tunes.  For Emergence, Harvie S suggested that we get Jerry Bergonzi on tenor sax since they had started playing together at Jerry’s residency at the Lillipad in Boston.  I was able to get Jerry on a weekend when he was playing in New York City to record with us.”

He recalls, “The plan for the tunes we recorded with Jerry for Emergence was that we were going play one of Jerry’s tunes ‘Table Steaks,’ which is a contrafact melody over the chord changes to ‘Stablemates’ by Benny Golson, two of my favorite tunes from my catalog (‘Sea of Fire’ and ‘On The Fly’), and a tune that Harvie specifically wrote for Jerry and me to play on this record (‘Soon To Be’).”

“I didn’t need to give Jerry any verbal instruction on ‘Sea of Fire’ and ‘Table Steaks,’” he vouches, “other than solo order.  We fixed a note in the tenor melody of ‘Sea of Fire’ because it was incorrectly written down.  We doubled the melody on ‘Sea of Fire.’”  He specifies about the track, “I came up with the title of ‘Sea of Fire’ because the melody is so angular rhythmically and the chord changes dense harmonically that the tune is a sea of fire to play through.”

Regarding the latter track, he illuminates, “I played the trumpet part on ‘Table Steaks’ as an added harmony part in my Logic Pro X home studio.  During the main recording session at Teaneck Sound, I doubled the melody with Jerry on ‘Table Steaks.’  Through email I had Jerry check if I got the notes right on the trumpet part for ‘Table Steaks.’”

Another track, “Observer Effect,” also evolved incrementally as the musicians shared their ideas and actively collaborated.   He remembers, “‘Observer Effect’ was conceived around the opening eighth note line of the tune when the band goes into time.  It felt right to keep it in a straight eighth note, ECM feel.  This tune is my ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh.  It went through several edits before arriving at this final version.  I got together with Harvie a few times to workshop this tune into the version that it is.  Composition to me is about the process of editing!”

LarryCorban-2He observes, “With each recording, I try to do something I haven’t done before on previous recordings.  [The track] ‘Non-Determinism’ was the first time I ever wrote a ballad that was floating in and out of time.  It’s free and metric.  That’s something I’ve never done before!”

He reflects about his experience during the recording sessions for Emergence, “The biggest challenge is getting to all the parts of the process from recording to final product seamlessly without sacrificing any angle of the vision of the project for expediency. Get who is best for your project not who’s conveniently part of your friend network!”

Overall, he describes, “This record is straight-ahead and hard swingin’ in a mid-60’s Blue Note way.”

Rather than giving the recording a retro title, Corban christened it with a much more forward-thinking appellation.  He explains the reasoning behind the album title Emergence, “It’s a math/music connection.  Emergence Theory is the New Theory of Everything in Quantum Physics.  Emergence Theory is too long of an album title, so I shortened it to Emergence.  Another take on the idea is that this music was in a process of emergence through the moment of spontaneous combustion like Michelangelo allowing the sculpture the process of emergence from the stone.  Having Jerry Bergonzi definitely created an emergence of some fantastic musical moments!”

Enhancing those musical moments is the guitar model of guitar that Corban plays on the recording citing, “The guitar I play is a Gibson L-5 1978 CES Series. I like this Gibson L-5 specifically for the sponginess of the sound of the chords and intervals.  It really has the Wes Montgomery sound built into it!”

He muses enthusiastically, “I have 24 different guitars, due to the musical theater work I do.  I try to have all the different guitar sounds (acoustic steel string, nylon string, 12-string, all the different electric guitars) and doubles (banjo, mandolin, and ukulele) when they are called for.”

Like his array of guitars, Corban also has an array of sites where listeners can find his music.  He lists, “Emergence is available at, CD Baby, Apple iTunes, Amazon, and streaming outlets like Spotify and YouTube.  I’m in the process of setting up a regional tour. Stay tuned at my website,”

He considers, “I would like to play jazz festivals and more jazz clubs within the Tri-State area and over time travel to Europe: UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.”

“I find audiences for my music,” he projects, “through people that also enjoy the music of the sidemen in my band that are jazz guitar fans and/or jazz guitarist, or anyone that enjoys jazz with an edgier, fusion attitude.  I believe people don’t have to listen to you, you have to make them listen to you! You have to give them a reason to engage with your music and that is not a given!”

“Each project teaches you something new,” he attests.” The mix on Emergence is the best yet! The biggest lessons I learned with Emergence is ‘keep your eye on your vision’ and ‘the health of your creative project comes first.’”

The A-list of superheroes playing on Emergence give Corban the confidence to take his music to the public.  Through the collaborative process, tracks are finely tuned, and his vision is materialized.  As an artist and a musician, Corban achieves the album of his dreams.

Susan Frances
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Emergence Review at JazzdaGama

Larry Corban: Emergence

Larry Corban: Emergence

Despite the fact that we’d like to believe the proverbial stars align on any given day, it isn’t always the case. However, when they do, magical things can happen – but only when one is present in the moment almost like an alchemist or druid, to channel that kind of alchemical reaction that brings about this magic. As in life, so also in the arts; in music, to be precise. And this recording, Emergence by Larry Corban is a case in point. Here is a recording replete with intelligently conceived and executed repertoire in which the composer and guitarist, Mr Corban (and his entourage) reduce the complex nature of the art of composition and improvisation, the very agencies, forces, or phenomena of physical nature of Jazz is – elementally – at its finest.

Much of this has to do with the music itself. Each song displays, for instance exquisite craftsmanship (probably) even before a note is played. There is, for instance simplicity of melody, a complexity of harmonic conception and rhythmic intent to describe and paint emotions exactly as they were probably conceived. How do we know this? Precisely because of how little musical ornamentation is required to express things like melodic intent, harmonic cleverness and rhythmic intent; and yet how each song does exactly what it was intended to do, namely to ripple through the body and its senses with the express intention of making one want to dance. One such example is “Sea of Fire”, for instance… which is drenched in a molten flow of melodicism and rhythm, as if the instruments (participating) are licked by tongues of fire.

Not everything is propelled by a shower of brimstone however. “Tasty Steaks” bubbles alright, but only because it seems to suggest something dripping with a delectable sauce. This is poured upon the melody by the glimmering warmth of Jerry Bergonzi’s tenor saxophone. The saxophonist also returns to adorn “Soon To Be” and “On The Fly”, after having contributed to the flame-throwing on “Sea of Fire”, of course. Mr Bergonzi appears on just four charts. It is the pianist James Weidman who is flame-thrower-in-chief as he contributes mightily to the momentum of the music throughout. And while on the subject of rhythmists, Mr Corban leaves nothing to chance with the inclusion of the incomparable Harvie S on bass and Steve Williams on drums; the latter long since having attained a kind of sainthood with Shirley Horn.

Although Harvie S is predictably brilliant throughout, the bassist arrives at his finest moment in the introduction and first part or choruses of “Never Let Me Go”. The profound dolour of his playing captures the aching beauty of the melody and is drenched in the emotion of the underlying narrative of the piece. Mr Williams’ accompaniment is magical across the songs, He plays with impeccable taste, understatement and elegance, and forever articulating what true percussion colouring is all about by accentuating the music with perfect swishes of the cymbals and with never a seemingly curved lines on the skins of the drums.

Which leaves Larry Corban, of course… Displaying complete mastery of his instrument in the grand manner of a virtuoso, the guitarist gives notice that he is an artist of the first order. His playing is gorgeous; deeply penetrating as well as feather-light. There is never a temptation to ornament for ornaments’ sake; every run and every dazzling arpeggio is dedicated to embellishing the music towards completing its harmonic concepts. Mr Corban also has perfect time and best of all his fingers melt on the strings creating the kind of rolling, flowing molten style that has come to be his exquisite calling card.

Track list – 1: Sea Of Fire; 2: Table Steaks; 3: Observer Effect; 4: Soon To Be; 5: Never Let Me Go; 6: On The Fly; 7: Non-Determinism; 8: You And The Night And The Music

Personnel – Larry Corban: guitar; James Weidman: piano; Harvie S: contrabass; Steve Williams: drums; Jerry Bergonzi: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4, 6)

Released – 2019
Label – NABROC Records
Runtime – 51:47


Raul da Gama, Aug 20, 2019

Larry Corban: Emergence

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#26 at RMR this week, August 10, 2019

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12th week on the NACC Jazz Chart, peaking at #2

Top 30 Jazz Charts

Emergence is #26

TW LW Artist Recording Label
2 9 DAVE ROBBINS SEXTET Joan Of Art Cellar
3 5 MIKE CLARK Indigo Blue – Live At The Iridium Ropeadope
4 3 ANAT COHEN TENTET Triple Helix Anzic
5 23 PUREUM JIN The Real Blue Cellar Live
6 22 BRAD TURNER QUARTET Jump Up Cellar Live
7 7 AL FOSTER Inspirations & Dedications Smoke Sessions
9 10 STAN GETZ QUARTET, THE Getz At The Gate Verve
10 2 LUCY YEGHIAZARYAN Blue Heaven Cellar
11 N/A NERIJA Blume Domino
12 16 VOCTAVE Somewhere There’s Music JameyRay
13 12 DAVID FINCK BASSically Jazz Burton Avenue
14 11 JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET Come What May Nonesuch
15 17 WAYNE WALLACE LATIN JAZZ QUINTET The Rhythm Of Invention Patois
16 19 MARY STALLINGS Songs Were Made To Sing Smoke Sessions
17 N/A VERONICA SWIFT Confessions Mack Avenue
18 N/A JD ALLEN Barracoon Savant
19 14 ANTONIO ADOLFO Samba Jazz Alley AAM
20 N/A JON BATISTE Anatomy Of Angels: Live At The Village Vanguard Verve
21 N/A GRETJE (GRETA ANGEL) ANGELL In Any Key Self-Released
22 15 ERIC REED Everybody Gets The Blues Smoke Sessions
23 28 BRAD MEHLDAU Finding Gabriel Nonesuch
24 N/A MATTHEW WHITAKER Now Hear This Resilience
25 6 VICTOR GOULD Thoughts Become Things Blue Room
26 30 LARRY CORBAN Emergence Nabroc
27 N/A JIMMY COBB This I Dig Of You Smoke Sessions
28 24 YOKO MIWA Keep Talkin’ Ocean Blue Tear
29 13 MIKE LEDONNE Partners In Time Savant
30 N/A GEORGE BENSON Walking To New Orleans Provogue
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