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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