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Larry Coryell: A Retrospective
Larry Coryell A Retrospective
Actors: Larry Coryell, Bernard Purdie, David Hidalgo, James Valentine, John Hart
Director: Daniel E. Meza
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2007     3hr 0min

This show was recorded at The Avalon in Hollywood, California on October 13, 2005. It's a two disc retrospective on a career's worth of songs that are every bit as electrifying now as when they were first recorded. Corye...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Larry Coryell, Bernard Purdie, David Hidalgo, James Valentine, John Hart
Director: Daniel E. Meza
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Jazz
Studio: Inakustic Gmbh
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/15/2007
Original Release Date: 05/15/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 3hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Coryell at His Best
Gregory Edwards | 05/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Born in Galveston, Texas and raised in Washington State, Coryell high-tailed it to the Big Apple in 1965 to make his living as musician. In 1966 he appeared on his first album, Chico Hamilton's "The Dealer", and after more than 100 albums, 70 as a leader, the rest is history.

Recorded in Hollywood, California in 2005, this 2-DVD set contains more than 20 songs of Coryell's original songbook dating from the late 60s through the early 70s. Included on the DVD are short interviews with Coryell, as well as extensive rehearsal footage. With the crack bass playing of John Hart and drumming of Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, this material just sparkles from beginning to end. Coryell is joined by guest guitarists James Valentine of Maroon 5, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, and his son Julian, as well as Winston Byrd on trumpet and Tracey Piergross on vocals.

Coryell, who is comfortable playing in any style ranging from classical to country, sticks mostly to blues-inflected jazz-rock for this session. And since Coryell is one of the best at playing this style, this is a good thing indeed. The material includes a heart-warming rendition of "Soul's Dirge," an extended jam version of "Slow Blues," and a superior version of "Stiff Neck," as a duet with Purdie.

Whether it is his angular guitar lines, or that he doesn't stay still for more than a couple albums, Larry Coryell's music has never made it into many people's living rooms. Hopefully this fine glimpse into his early ground-breaking work will change that. This DVD is a must have for any fan of jazz and rock guitar, and is highly recommended.
God bless Daniel R. Meza
bob lundy | San Mateo CA | 05/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For he has given us what we want, a fitting tribute for what I and many of his fans feel is the greatest guitarist, maybe ever. Ah screw it, greatest musician. I've seen them all and love them all but Coryell is the best and he's never been better.

Hopefully, Mr. Meza will try this again, this time maybe at the Blue Note or better yet Yoshi's (I'm in the Bay Area), and show off some of the other facets of Larry's long musical journey.

The period that the show and subsequently the documentary are focused upon is the early 1970s when Larry and cohorts broke the boundaries of rock, jazz and blues and created fusion. This is an era that Larry will revisit from time to time but never so fervently as here. Armed with two vintage Fender amps instead of the usual sterile 120 Jazz Chorus, Larry shows what a meaty solo is all about but this is as much about his writing at the time as his playing. Much in the way that Roy Orbison had to write his own music because nobody was writing songs with his incredible range and intensity so Larry needed to write the music that allowed him the range. Many of the works exhibited here have the sense of aging like fine wine. As time goes by they seem to cement themselves into the fabric of music.

Hidalgo and Valentine were both surprising guest artists. Both were very good. I think Hildalgo was probably helping out because Carlos Santana bowed out supposedly because he was on Leno that night. It's really too bad because Half a Heart would have been a spectacular showcase for Carlos not that David is chopped liver but it could have been special, for Carlos.

Larry must have been a proud Papa listening to his son Julian lay down licks only a handful of his peers could even attempt. He can be seen regularly in the Aimee Mann band.

The trumpeter, whose name eludes me, did some fine work, although he had some radical treatment to his sound that didn't really work at the show but on the DVD seems to have been cleaned up. Anyway, he does some way cool and way hot playing, whoever he is.

As somebody already said, repeat viewings are necessary to take in this weighty stuff.

Okay Daniel, get rolling on that acoustic set and, oh, thanks again.

Addendum: I'm guessing that everyone getting a negative vote means someone bought the DVD on our saysos and didn't think it lived up to our descriptions. I better point out the DVD's faults before anyone else get disappointed. I recently bought Joe Bonamassa Live at Rockplast. Its production values exceeds Retrospective by leaps and bounds. I believe this was Mr. Meza first production and by comparison it could look a little amateurish. Bonamassa is note perfect and Larry has never been about that although these four reviewers here know this was note perfect for Larry even if it doesn't sound like it to the uninitiated. The Bonamassa looks and sounds great but it can be digested very quickly and Retrospective will be thrilling and even surprising the four of us for years to come. We overlook the shortcomings and celebrate the mere fact that this tribute has been made at all. This is music of the highest order but not for all tastes. If you're not familiar with Larry, figure this to be an adventurous viewing. My hat is still very much off to Mr. Meza.
Genius of Guitar
funkbeard | hollywood, ca | 05/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had the good fortune of attending this concert, and it felt legendary at the time. Like the best music, Larry Coryell's performance is one that is best when you form a relationship with it, allowing the music to come to life through repeated viewings. Nonetheless, for continuity, you may want to treat the track "Half a Heart" as though it were on the encore disc. By itself, it's really great, but it's a little out of place, I think, and the whole thing flows much smoother when you do that. Then go back and enjoy the song later and you'll be blown away by it. Great performance, just out of place in the DVD. On the other hand, this DVD is spectacular, and I gain something new every time I go back to it.

The sound in the concert footage is amazing, and although there is no 5.1 option, the mix has wonderful clarity and presence. The DVD goes back and forth between live and rehearsal footage, and although the sound in the rehearsal footage is inferior, the music more than makes up for it. Like much great art, it is difficult to describe the music here. Fusion before it had a commercial polish, jazz with electric intruments and a rock & roll edge, blues that boils up from the core of your being. The interviews are extremely brief, but the performances are almost always in their complete form.

The second disc includes the remaining performances left out of the film, as well as lots of rehearsal footage that is likewise entertaining."
Great Document! Settling Some Probable Confusion...
Terrence Green | Seattle, WA | 07/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am the biggest Larry Coryell fan ever, and I have been waiting for something like this for some time. It is a very interesting document, and I call it a document because it is not your normal everyday conventional concert DVD. You will not see a program that had 10 million dollars in its budget, but you will see a very honest and geniune great looking concert, complete with guest musicians, interviews, and rehearsals. It was made in a very documentary style, which include a concert which seems like it pays homage to the old Woodstock, Isle of Wight, & general musical films from that era.
I noticed a one star review, so let me clarify, there are 2 DISCS TO THIS SET. It sounds like the critique is coming from the BONUS FEATURES [DISC 2] portion of the DVD package. The bonus features are exactly what you would expect the bonus features to be, VERY unstructured loose rehearsals of most of the songs played at the show & actual performances from the show that were cut from the final program being DISC 1. It seems these were obviously cut for many of the reasons described by the one star reviewer. However, coupled with the actual film, DISC 2 is a great glimpse behind the scenes & gives us the rest of the Avalon show.
Which brings us to THE CONCERT [DISC 1], it is a structured "rockumentary" complete with an informative introduction by Julian Coryell (Larry's son), and the show just flows. Once again, this DVD is not shot in a conventional way, which you can appreciate on some levels.
To quote another reviewer, most DVD's are made in such a way where you digest them so quick (if you can get through them), but with Retrospective, its a wake up call, you get a VERY intimate show that puts you right on stage, and it does move around to create a rock raw type feel, which is what Larry Coryell needs anyway after being away from this music for so long. But the music, oh my Lord, the music is amazing."