Having a Dad with the name Larry Coryell certainly made more than a few take notice when Murali stepped out to establish himself as an artist with something to say. Larry has been a respected name in Jazz for years, and his offspring will hopefully have a strong reputation in the fields of soul and Blues in the years to come. There's no doubt upon the first listen to "Eyes Wide Open" that Murali's talent as a guitar player will speak first. His taste for the right lick at the right time seems impeccable, and his tone is gutsy, thick, and varied. His voice is another powerful tool used to great advantage throughout the disc. It's not a straight Blues CD, but there's a lot of years of listening to Blues and other styles and they all come through.
Leading off with title track, Coryell makes a strong statement of purpose letting the listener know quickly that he/she is in for a nice ride. The flavors of soul and r&b come across and Coryell's voice has the perfect touch for this gem. "Now Is The Time" may bring back the years with its Curtis Mayfield leanings; tough and reeking of funk, Coryell makes it clear that he's listened to a lot of artists, and if the tune itself wasn't enough to get you moving, his voice may peel the paint of your walls! Impressive, to say the least... The Southern soul of "That Makes Me Happy" is a treat and the James Brown nod in "Comin' Home To Love You" adds to the mix. "Too Many Women" steps out as a muscular shuffle with Federico Pena's piano speaking first then making way for a choked guitar solo from Coryell. The Uptown Horns do a nice job with the charts in what is known in some circles as a 'flat-tire' groove.
If guitar wizardry is your bag, "The Ice Cream Song" should satisfy your needs; a funky piece with loads of impressive string wrangling. "Everything I Got" follows with its swelling Jimmy Nolen-like guitar rhythms and another nod to James Brown. My vote goes to the closer, "Softly Let Me Kiss Your Lips," as the standout cut on the disc. A slow and heartfelt Blues clocking in at just over nine minutes, Coryell blends the many influences in his guitar and vocal styles, making one sit up and notice his maturity.
Still a young gun, Murali Coryell has a long career ahead of him. His voice is way beyond his years and will beg the question, 'where does such a young guy get a voice like that'? His guitar playing will do the same. When the likes of a Duke Robillard recognize the depth and wealth of talent, you can bet it won't be long before others start to see what's here. If the flavors of "Eyes Wide Open" aren't enough to fill your appetite, check out "2120" released in 1999. This was Coryell's debut CD from 1995, but has been picked up by the folks at Big Mo records.
Email is firstname.lastname@example.org and this CD is available online at many internet retailers. Also check out http://look.net/bigmo/orders.html for more info.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Craig Ruskey, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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