Yes, Murali Coryell is Larry’s kid.
But to leave it at that would be doing a
disservice to the son. He’s a fine player
who doesn’t play jazz, but a blues-soul
hybrid that suits his playing, and his
gravelly, soulful singing to a T.
This CD and DVD set is the perfect vehicle
for what Coryell does, as he guides
the band throughout and lets the songs
go where they may. “I Can’t Give You Up”
is a fine soul tune that runs nine minutes
and finds the leader of the band breaking
it down and throwing in parts of other
songs, including an extended “Feelin’
Alright.” It’s a wonderfully bluesy, funky
tune that even lets his soloing step a bit
outside of the usual pentatonic runs
you might expect to hear. His tendency
to run with whatever’s happening even
stretches to his telling the club owner to
come up on stage to play the B3 during
“Sugar Lips.” Amazingly, the train never
comes close to derailing.
Coryell proves the amiable host right
off the bat, introducing the song “In The
Room With Jimi” by telling how his dad
and Hendrix were friends. His dad, he
says, has told him Hendrix picked him
up out of his crib and talked to him
when he was three months old. The song
then runs us through the story, backed
by Hendrix-inspired chord changes and
soloing that reminds you of the legend
but is never a slavish imitation.
And, that’s the story of a lot of this
music. It’s soul music with Coryell’s twist
that’s allowed to expand even as the song
is being played. No doubt dad is proud
of his kid and the path he’s chosen.
Murali Coryell: Press
Shake-It-Sugar 1 CD & DVD
Seven studio albums into forging a guitar legacy of his own-one distinct from his famous jazz-fusionist father Larry-Murali Coryell has wisely and finally gone Live. Twice, in fact. His first on-the-road chronicle is actually two merged into a double-disc package which finds the now 43 year old really working the bandstand inside New York’s Club Helsinki in 2012 (for an audio CD), then outside at the 2010 Roots & Blues Festival in British Columbia (for a DVD). Both stages (both with different simpatico bands) afford Murali’s is-everyone-out-there-having-fun personality a chance to work up the crowd, while supplying his chops the extra room needed to choogle into and out of “Sugar Lips” for nine minutes. Or to employ the more suave loverman approach to scoring via an equally extended “I Can’t Give You Up” ballad. Having access to two different set lists reveals Coryell’s multi-pronged strategy for attaining six string separation from his dad and even brother Julian, both instrumentalists. The simple fact of singing is an immediate identifier. Just as distinguishing though is the voice of his guitar, gravitating with equal comfort to soul as to blues. So the few times his originality needs to borrow outside material pinching some Marvin Gaye (“What’s Going On”) is just as likely as some Lowell Fulson (“Love Her With A Feeling”). But conversation starters he’ll never need to pinch. So the story goes-as well as the accompanying wah-wah swirled “In The Room With Jimi” – that Hendrix once hoisted an infant Murali out of a stage side bassinet when paying his father a Fillmore East visit.
CD Review – Murali Coryell – Live
January 2013 – blue barry
Smoky Mtn. Blues Society
Happy New Year my friends. The New Year has also brought us a musical gift I know you will like. Check out Murali Coryell Live, CD/DVD combination. Don’t know Murali Coryell? He is the son of legendary guitar player Larry Coryell, and author/actress Julie Coryell. Coming from a major jazz family, Murali got to see many musicians, and experience first hand many jazz and rock legends while growing up. Starting out as a jazz player, no doubt from Dad, he has drifted into the blues and is doing a fabulous job. This is his 3rd or 4th CD and not only is it an outstanding blues CD there is also DVD of a live performance! Although the CD isn’t pure blues, it is loaded down with great guitar playing, and fine blues as well. I have listened to it about 10 times and it is very enjoyable. He plays everything from Jimi Hendrix to Marvin Gaye. Since it’s a live CD there are a few sour notes, and noises in the background, and other little things going on, but that is why it is so good. It’s real, it’s live, this guy can play! When you are out there in a live performance there’s no place to hide. In the studio you can correct things, and spend a year making things perfect. I really like it. He has a degree in music theory, and composition, and a background in playing jazz, he is something else. The DVD let’s you see Murali and the band, and how they connect with each other and perform. The DVD is pretty good, but the CD is better. There are not many CD/DVD combinations out there. Murali is confident enough to do it though. The CD contains 11 songs and they range from 5 minutes to close to 10 minutes long. So you can really get to hear him unwind. The DVD has some of the same songs, but others as well, and there are 10 songs on it. This is not only a great CD from a really good player, but a bargain as well. Lets all go to muralicoryell.com and check it out. I have really enjoyed it, and I’m kinda’ hard to please. Again, Happy New Year my friends, one love, blue barry.
"Sugar Lips", the latest effort from blues veteran Murali Coryell, is one sweet triptych across the musical map. As the son of jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, gigs with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, George Clinton and George Thorogood Player and CNN imperial echelon. The title track exemplifies all that defines classic blues: saucy lyrics, masterful guitar licks, cool macho vocals and one helluva good-time party. Self-congratulatory "Blame It On Me" adds horns and raucous keyboards to the mix, as singer/guitarist/songwriter Coryell¹s wired strings share lead with his chops; while "What You Gonna Do?" about a woman
gone astray, slows the tempo to a sensual crawl. But perhaps the most
affecting track is "Mother¹s Day," a crawling heartbreaker about ultimate
loss: "Mom gave me a call the night before it all/I love you and your
brother, couldn¹t be prouder as a mother/Life¹s too short, thank you for
giving me the best Mother's Day' " Throughout the disc, helmed by
Grammy-nominated producer/songwriter Tom Hambridge, Coryell displays
laudable versatility, consummate vocal and instrumental savvy (with his dad
and Joe Louis Walker offering accompaniment), and arrangements that shine
with a dazzling blues hue. Indeed, this "Sugar" is mighty sweet.
Murali Coryell is really on fire with Sugar Lips. Murali―singer, songwriter, guitarist―has produced an A+++ CD featuring his legendary jazzman father, Larry Coryell and the great bluesman Joe Louis Walker. Each of these musicians having achieved their own fame, they play as tight as tight can be. Murali, coming from a very talented family, is a gifted singer who plays one electrifying guitar.
This 12-track CD is filled with non-stop, top-shelf blues songs. On “Mothers Day,” Murali sings an extremely soft tribute to his mother, who died on Mother’s Day, while his father joins in on guitar―the talented duo express their sadness through music. On two tracks, Murali is joined by the fabulous Joe Louis Walker on vocals, guitar, and harmonica. Joe and Murali take turns on vocal and guitar solos, in addition to some awesome duets…Murali will sing to you about the golden years, hanging off chandeliers. Walker really wails out on that harmonica, guaranteed to give you goose bumps, and like me, you won’t be able to just stand around.
They really “get down” to the roots of the blues. By far, Murali’s best CD to date. Don’t do without this one in your collection! ―Robin Murray
Murali's Music Records
Sure, Murali Coryell's famous last name can open up some doors. However, as second-generation musicians often find out, they've got to have the skills to follow that name with them through the door. That being said, Murali Coryell not only has the skills, but more importantly, he's got the feel. Coryell's latest disc, "Sugar Lips" is a breezy, groove-inducing shuffle-fest that's got plenty of laidback, seductive swagger and affable spirit to burn. Translation-it's a fun record.
Murali, the son of iconic jazz guitar master Larry Coryell, has been steadily making a name for himself with a soulful brand of roadhouse-themed blues/rock. His music has plenty of sauntering overtones as well, ranging from funk to R&B, that reveals the depth of resources the younger Coryell has picked up. He can play beer-soaked blues until last call, and he can also hang with more pop-tinged material-think a grittier, bluesier John Mayer.
Coryell rocks like a madman on the combustible "Blame It On Me", gracefully slides through the senuous "What You Gonna Do About Me", and shows his poignant bittersweet side through the heartbreaking tale of "Mother's Day"-featuring a classy guitar solo courtesy of dad Larry. In addition to Coryell's legendary dad, Joe Louis Walker also contributes some tasty, ultra-hip guitar runs and a vocal turn on the Isley Brothers-inspired "Minor Funk". For a little icing on this soulful cake, how about SRV sideman Reese Wyans providing keys throughout? The atmosphere is slick but not over-produced. Coryell never pushes the envelope too much but knocks around like an unruly child within its boundaries.
Murali Coryell's got the same charismatic demeanor and natural sense of musical intuition as another second-generation rockin' bluesman, Ronnie Baker Brooks. The pair would be explosive touring together (hint, hint guys). Is Murali Coryell in his influential father's shadow? Nope. With "Sugar Lips", Murali's now casting a shadow of his own.
A bluesman makes his own breaks
He's going all out to raise his profile, and win a Grammy.
Murali Coryell figured it was time to go for broke.
In a bid to reach for the Grammy Award for best contemporary blues album this year, the 40-year-old husband and father of two took out a second mortgage on his house to finance his sixth CD. He hired producer and songwriter Tom Hambridge, who has worked with Grammy-nominated blues-rocker Susan Tedeschi, and recorded in Nashville with a stellar cast that included keyboardist Reese Wynans and bluesman Joe Louis Walker, as well as his father, the pioneering jazz-rock guitarist Larry Coryell.
"You have to have a great product out . . . and if I want to win the Grammy, or be considered for it, I have to have something that's going to compete," Coryell says over the phone from his home near Woodstock in Upstate New York. "So I went out and hired a great, Grammy-nominated producer . . . and surrounded myself with people who have been there and done that. . . .
"I don't have a manager. I don't have a booking agent. It's not coming to me. I approached record companies. They all like me, they all think I'm really great, but none of them wanted to sign me. And in the end, it's for the best."
It certainly seems to be. Sugar Lips, released on the singer-guitarist's own Murali's Music Records, is an artistic triumph and is making noise on the Living Blues radio chart. Coryell, who never before worked with an outside producer or songwriting collaborators, makes the most of his new resources. It's an outstanding collection, from the horn-fueled roadhouse romp of "Blame It on Me" to the sweet soul-pop of "Closer to You Baby" and the loping, Jimmy Reedesque blues of "I Still Do." When he doesn't have a hand in the writing, he offers knockout interpretations, his voice a soulful rasp, as on the bittersweet "I Could Have Had You," by Hambridge, Gary Nicholson, and Colin Linden.
One of his own standout numbers is the acoustic-textured "Mother's Day," a touching tribute to his mother, Julie, who died earlier this year at 61. Her death, and the reaction to her son's performance of the song at her funeral, only reinforced his conviction to go for it with his career.
"It became the most important thing in my life," he says. "There was no question about going for broke. This is the time to do it."
Speaking three days after a showcase at New York's Bitter End, Coryell was still marveling at the reception he received from Judy Collins, one of the eminences of American folk music.
"She's e-mailed me four times," he says. "She says, 'I have plans for us.' She also said, 'I haven't seen energy like that since 30 years ago, when I saw Paul Butterfield play the same room.' I said, 'What?!"
For Coryell, Collins' reaction validates his effort. He got past "all the negativity of record companies and agents," and made an impression. "It touched her artistic soul."
The Murali Coryell Band will play at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St. Tickets: $10. Phone: 215-928-0770.
"People ask me why I'd take a second mortgage on my home just to make a record," says bluesman Murali Coryell. The answer is not the up-tempo title tune on Sugar Lips — look deeper into the heart of the record, to the slow, reflective, "Mother's Day." A deep attachment to his mother and her sudden loss made a change in his life, "I've joined the club, the Lost-A-Parent Club," he says. After that, nothing ever looks the same. Knowing this song was composed in time for her funeral is all the more moving, and yes, getting it recorded, with both his father, Larry Coryell, and himself taking guitar solos in her memory was reason enough to mortgage the house. "The producer told me: No fast runs and fire, take your solo like you are talking to your mother. I cried all through it and when I was finished I looked up and the engineers were crying, too."
Thu., Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m., $10, Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St., 215-928-0770, tinangel.com.
Murali Coryell : Sweet New Release-Sugar Lips CD Review
A few weeks back I received a message from a friend informing me about a new release by Murali Coryell called Sugar Lips. This immediately brought to mind an album review I did last October for Joe Louis Walker’s latest Between A Rock And The Blues. There were many memorable moments on that record and the song “Way Too Expensive,” a tune Murali wrote was one of them… Now I must admit when information of Coryell’s CD was sent to me I was feeling kind of lousy. No particular reason. Hey, these things happen! However, that didn’t stop me from being curious. So after taking a listen to some clips on cdbaby, I immediately downloaded the album. I really enjoyed the finger snapping grooves and genuine sentiment that’s expressed on this album.
This musical journey opens with the buoyant boogie “Blame it On Me”, and then continues with two highly addictive numbers, “What You Gonna Do About Me” and “Closer To You Baby.” It was at this point I could sense my mood taking a quick turn for the better… I found myself particularly moved by the expressive and poignant fourth track “Mother’s Day.” The song is a tribute to Murali’s mother author/actress Julie Coryell who passed away last May. Murali poetically captures a difficult moment in time; opening a door that allows us to share his thoughts and feelings.
Coryell is a terrific songwriter/guitarist who also has a smooth soulful voice. There is a whole lot of passion happening on this CD, and the well constructed tunes kept coming on “What Works On You” & the title cut “Sugar Lips.”
Earning degrees in music theory and composition while in college, Coryell got his start by hosting blues jams in upstate N.Y in the early 90’s. During that time he gigged with artists such as Ritchie Havens and Duke Robillard. Over the course of his career, he’s recorded the songs of Sam Cooke, Al Green, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Charles Mingus and Marvin Gaye. He’s toured with B.B. King and also played with Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, George Clinton and George Thorogood among others.
The son of jazz fusion guitarist Larry Coryell, Murali grew up surrounded by music legends such as Carlos Santana, Jack Bruce, and Miles Davis just to name a few. He even wrote a song called “In The Room With Jimi” that depicts a time as an infant in San Francisco in the early seventies when he was brought along to the Fillmore East where his father was playing at the time. There Jimi Hendrix came by to hear his father Larry play and afterward Hendrix came backstage and stood over Murali’s bassinet to check him out.
Flashing back a little (although a very different style and time) I remember listening to Murali’s father Larry play with his band Eleventh House, and also some of his work with guitarist Steve Khan. So it was really cool to see him featured on Sugar Lips.
Murali’s first CD Eyes Wide Open was released in 1995. His previous album “The Same Damn Thing” in 2008 has been featured in Guitar Player Magazine, Elmore Magazine and Blues Revue. In total he has recorded six solo CD’s in addition to collaborating with his father and brother Julian on the album The Coryell’s. His work has also been heard on NBC’s “Crossing Jordan.”
Getting Back to the Last Half of Sugar Lips…
There are several standout tunes like the elegant ballad “I Could’ve Had You,” and the edgy “Still Rockin.” The 9th and 10th tracks “Minor Funk” and “I Still Do” features Joe Louis Walker which show the indisputable chemistry between these two guys. Those four songs display a nice mixture of blues/rock, funk and melodic fortitude. And the hypnotic sound of the last two songs “Music Sets You Free” and the closer “Where Is The Spirit?” really captured my imagination.
The album was recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy nominated Tom Hambridge who also plays drums. Hambridge’s impressive resume includes producer, songwriting and performer credits with artists such as Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, Johnny Winter, Susan Tedeschi, Hank Williams Jr, Delbert McClinton and Bo Diddley. The line-up on this project also includes Reese Wynans (who played with Stevie Ray Vaughan) on keyboards, Steve Mackey (of Delbert McClinton) on bass. Special guests Joe Louis Walker and Larry Coryell are widely featured throughout the album and provide some great moments.
Sugar Lips was a real mood changer for me. It’s a perfect example of the affect music has when something this fine comes your way. While listening to this album many times over I discovered the honest upbeat atmosphere that was generated really livened up my mood. Now that’s a Christmas present I’m confident will last throughout the holiday season and well into the New Year.
So now it’s your turn. Have you heard of Murali Coryell? Did you checkout the link located above and listen for yourself? Let me know what you think by adding your comments. Let’s spread the word about this awesome new release… For information on Murali Coryell you can go to his website by clicking here.
All The Best This Holiday Season,
The Blues Blogger
"WRITING YOUR OWN TUNES IS THE most important contribution any musician can make," declares blues guitarist Murali Coryell, whose fifth solo album is entitled "The Same Damn Thing" [Murali's Music Records]. "And it's the best way to develop your own style, because if you write the song, it's going to come out as you."
Coryell is no stranger to America's musical roots. The son of jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, Murali grew up surrounded by giants such as Carlos Santana, B.B. King, and Miles Davis, and his devotion to the blues is unswerving.
"Blues, rock and roll, and jazz are America's cultural contribution to the world," he says. "But there isn't going to be another B.B. King or Buddy Guy, so we have to absorb what they've done, and make sure we keep the music right."
But while Coryell believes blues musicians must be firmly steeped in the blues tradition, he maintains that players must strive to evolve the style. To that end, he tries to avoid obvious patterns when he composes.
"I've found it's really important to not rely so much on the guitar," he says. "It's a riff-oriented instrument, so you tend to play and write stuff you already know. What you should do is write something that comes naturally to your head, and then translate it to the instrument, rather than the other way around. I also have a secret songwriting weapon in my seven-year-old son Charlie, who sometimes comes up with titles for me. A song starts with an idea, and I'm the kind of person who is most creative when there's a structure established--like a song title. My family provides tons of inspiration, because blues is life and life is blues."
"Please Please Baby" and "Way Too Expensive" deal with core blues topics and provide the only 12-bar representation on Murali Coryell's self-released "The Same Damn Thing". Coryell's trio (Tony Levin on bass and Gene Randolph on drums) generally plays a variety of loosely blues-influenced styles. Coryell's guitar owes some debt of style and tone to Eric Clapton. Most songs are well-realized, with soulful rockers ("You're the Only One"), raggae-pop blends ("The Blues is Taking Its Place"), and the John Mayer-esque "Standing the Test of Time" anchoring an almost Prince-like cheating song, "Calling From Another Phone."
"An amazing piece of work"
"One of the BEST cds I have heard in my over 13 yrs hosting Blues
"I have to say it is one of the hottest recordings I've heard in a
while. Great production, amazing guitar work, and an overall hip sound
that just makes me want to listen to it over and over (as I have
Well-known blues artist coming to Cadillac
With his clean-cut look and pale skin, Murali Coryell may not look like your typical blues artist, but he’s one of the most soulful singers and blues guitarist of our time. And he’s coming to Cadillac Saturday.
Coryell, who has toured with B.B. King and whose latest album "Same Damn Thing" was on the nomination ballot for the Grammys, takes the stage at Curly’s in McGuire’s Resort.
Audience members can expect to hear Coryell’s original blues songs and covers from blues and soul artists including Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sam Cooke, James Brown and The Temptations, to name a few.
The 39-year-old Coryell from upstate New York said even if you think you don’t like blues, his music will change your mind.
"People who think they don’t like blues will come and listen to me and my band and say, ˜I didn’t know that was blues “ I love blues,’" Coryell said. "It’s a matter of hearing it in a way that’s connecting it with you.
"The way I frame it is: if you love blues, you’re going to love Murali Coryell; if you don’t love blues, you’ll end up loving blues."
Coryell said audiences can expect a full-bodied performance, because his band doesn’t hold back.
"We give it to you right away," he said. "From the first note, we’re reaching out to you, and it’s real easy to step up and go with it and just enjoy it.
"We really give people the opportunity to enjoy themselves in the most intimate and friendly environment," he continued.
Coryell said his love for blues originated about 20 years ago when he first heard B.B. King and Muddy Waters.
"I couldn’t get enough," he said. "Blues gave me goosebumps - it was the emotion in it. It grabbed me - the pure, direct emotional raw sound of it. It got me. I heard it, and it’s been in me ever since."
Coryell, who grew up listening to rock, soul, jazz, reggae, Latin, classical and blues, said little pieces of those genres often filter into his original songs. His jazz influence is thanks to his father, Larry Coryell, a jazz guitar legend who has played with the likes of Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix and is one of the inventors of jazz rock fusion music.
Coryell has been to Michigan many times to play gigs in Grand Rapids, which is soul singer Al Green’s hometown, but this will be Coryell’s first time in Cadillac.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 775-NEWS (6397)
Murali Coryell – The Same Damn Thing
Murali’s Music Records, 2008 (self release)
If Murali Coryell’s name seems familiar to you, it should. Murali, who is the son of jazz fusion guitar legend Larry Coryell, has been acclaimed by several journalistic outlets as one of the most soulful singers working today. Murali’s 1st instrument of choice was drums, but made the inevitable switch to guitar at a young age. Inevitable, as both his father and his brother were already playing guitar. In order to avoid competition with Dad and brother, who were playing jazz-based styles at the time, Murali perfected his own eclectic style of blues and soul guitar.
It’s been said of Murali’s father (Larry Coryell) that he is a true eclectic, possessing amazing technique and able to play with comfort in most any musical style he chooses, from loud, distortion-heavy rock workouts to delicate, gentle acoustic guitar. Well, the very same statements can be applied to the music of Murali. He also possesses amazing technical abilities on guitar, rarely overplaying. Murali is very much his father’s son musically as far as eclecticism and ability are concerned. He’s just chosen to follow his own muse with the types of music he tends to play and to record.
Here are a few items of note concerning Mr. Coryell (Murali that is.)
• Murali, who will turn 40 in October of 2009, earned degrees in music theory and composition while in college.
• His latest CD, The Same Damn Thing, has been entered for Grammy nominations in 2 categories: Best Contemporary Blues Album and Album of the Year.
• His album “2120” was the 1st album released on the Czyz Records label. The label was formed by Marshall and Kevin Chess, who are the sons of Chess Records owners Leonard and Phil Chess, respectively. For those of you interested in this sort of thing, Czyz is a close approximation to the family’s original Polish surname that became Anglicized into Chess when the family immigrated to the United States.
• TRIVIA: what does the title of Murali’s album “2120” refer to? No googling it, either!
1. In The Room With Jimi: This song is pretty firmly rooted in the “jam band” camp. It’s definitely bluesy, but it isn’t blues. I enjoyed the melody but the lyrics become a bit monotonous by the track’s end. The song might have been better served if it would have been performed as an instrumental.
2. The Same Damn Thing: This song will definitely appeal to STLBlues.net users, especially if they dig old Fab T-Birds material, or the work of Mike Morgan or Doyle Bramhall. Murali’s voice is very expressive here (he’s coarsened it up, well, down) and he plays with a warm guitar tone. This tune will make you smile – and will make you wish you were cruising down the road in a convertible!
3. The Blues Is Taking It’s Place: This cut is a contemporary blues track that certainly would be embraced by the jam band crowd. It’s got a funky bass line and Murali’s lead work is very crisp, very clean. He also played rhythm guitar here, which maintains that Texas feel heard on “The Same Damn Thing”, although the feel here is a little cleaner through most of the track.
4. I Just Can’t Stand It Anymore: This song is much more of a pop/jam kind of thing. The guitar work is excellent, but as in track #1, the lyrics become a little monotonous as the song is long (5 ½ minutes.)
5. Way Too Expensive: Ahhh, back to Texas roadhouse blues… Murali performs this style extremely well. His rhythm work is so nice, and his coarsened voice sounds like a natural fit. When he plays lead things really get cookin’… the man can play that guitar. This is a very good cut!
6. Standing The Test Of Time: This song is much more contemporary in style. It’s very funky, almost urban R&B rhythmically, but the guitar lines stay bluesy throughout. Not for blues purists, but if you like funky, “jammy” stuff you will enjoy this song.
7. Calling From Another Place: Well, there’s no blues (or bluesy content) here. This is pretty firmly in the contemporary urban R&B vein. This one’s kind of lost on me, although Murali’s vocals on the verses are extremely soulful.
8. Please Please Baby: Please, please, back to the blues… yep, this is the ticket! This song is most definitely in that Texas style Murali excels at so much (OK, I admit it. This author is a died-in-the-wool shuffle-head.) This track is a little heavier than the earlier tracks played in this style, but it’s all good. Murali’s vocals on these kinds of tunes remind me of somebody… maybe Lee McBee in his early days with Mike Morgan? Nice track – think Mike Morgan meets early Chris Duarte!
9. You’re The Only One: This song starts off with a very nice solo into, then moves into a contemporary R&B/bluesy hybrid of sorts. Murali plays two distinctively different guitar parts: an overdriven modern blues lead, and a much cleaner rhythm guitar line. I really didn’t care for this song the 1st time I heard it, and am still not crazy about the vocal/lyric, but I enjoy the melody quite a bit.
10. Fun (Gonna Have A Good Time): The name of this song says it all – this is just good old fun track. It’s built around a VERY cool rhythm guitar groove; Murali plays amazing rhythm guitar lines. This song is fun to listen to and allows Murali and his band to, well, have a good time!
This CD turned out to be one of those that took me multiple listens in order to get my ears around it. With apologies to Murali and his band, I just didn’t care for some of it at first. The CD is very eclectic, moving among several styles, sometimes within the same song; it is blues, jam band, urban R&B, and soul. I really dug the Texas-bluesy-roadhouse tracks; they’re very, very good.
I’m a pretty opened-minded music fan as a rule, so I’m not sure why I took so long to come around here. With each listen I began to take to more of the tracks on this album, especially as I listened to Murali’s rhythm guitar work. You know, you can have all the fancy lead guitar work in the world going on, but it there’s not some solid rhythm playing of some sort going on (guitar, organ, harp, piano - whatever) it’s all just noodling. I can honestly say now that I enjoy the majority of the songs here, and I think you will, also - if you listen to this CD with open ears. Blues purists, if you can’t do that then you should probably pass on this one. STLBluesometer rating = 3.5
Lee Howland, aka "East Side Slim"
Oddly enough, talking to a blues singer on a rainy Monday is an uplifting experience - a warm up to hearing Murali Coryell sing Saturday at the Turning Point in Piermont.
Upbeat and enthusiastic about his music, he credits his entertainment industry family with giving him the foundation for a successful career. His dad is jazz fusion guitarist Larry Coryell, and his maternal grandmother was actress Carol Bruce, who played Mama Carlson on "WKRP in Cincinnati," and also was a singer.
"I grew up in a pretty crazy atmosphere, but it prepared me for life on the road," Murali Coryell said from his home in Boiceville, near Woodstock. "I understand the pitfalls of the business and the industry."
While being a dad keeps him grounded, he takes off to perform in places like Lebanon and Bulgaria, or Chicago or Austin, Texas. Playing at Austin's South by Southwest festival last month, he said, he was delighted to find that his music is on producer Michael Lang's iPod.
At the Turning Point (another place he knows through his father), he'll sing selections from his fifth CD, 2008's "The Same Damn Thing," but the audience gets to hear extended solos. The songs reflect times and experiences in his life, like "In the Room With Jimi."
"My dad and mom lived in Nyack; my dad and Jimi Hendrix used to take me down to the Fillmore East. Dad would jam with him, mom was friends with him," Coryell said, adding that the family also lived with Carlos Santana. Reviewers have compared the two guitarists.
Coryell has toured with B.B. King and played with musicians such as Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, George Clinton and Gavin DeGraw. His music was used on NBC's TV show "Crossing Jordan."
"My blues are influenced by soul, jazz, Latin," he said. "We look to establish our identities through writing and singing the best songs others have done."
Grandma Bruce "laid a blueprint for me - you may not be famous, but you can be working steady in the industry. This is our calling, our mission, what we're supposed to do."
The grandson adds this advice to young musicians: "Keep your own publishing, own your own master recordings.
"Steve Jordan [a New York music producer] said if you own your own record, you'll make more by selling 50,000 of your own records than making a million sales with a record company."
These days, after all, it's not just the record companies that keep him in royalty checks - it's satellite radio, the Internet, plus small audiences like those in Piermont which he calls knowledgeable and appreciative.
"I have to 'suffer' through playing for adoring audiences," the bluesman said. You could hear the overlay of humor.
The wandering life suits Murali Coryell’s fresh musical style
01:00 AM EDT on Thursday, June 26, 2008
Murali Coryell, left, has an impeccable guitar pedigree; his dad is jazz and fusion great Larry Coryell and his brother plays and writes with Madeleine Peyroux. Blues harmonica player and J. Geils Band alumnus Magic Dick, above, will take to the stage with Coryell at Chan’s in Woonsocket for two shows Saturday night.
Murali Coryell knows that the lot of today’s blues and R&B player is to tour constantly, building a live audience and selling CDs from the stage in between sets. He also knows that that’s harder than ever in the days of higher air fares and ridiculous gas prices.
But Coryell, who lives in upstate New York, has figured out a way to get around at least part of the problem: He’s got a stable of bands and players all over the country whom he calls on a gig-by-gig basis.
He has networks of backing players who know his songs in Chicago, Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts, California, Kentucky and more. Some of them are well-known and play in the regular bands of some of the blues greats as their main gig; some are obscure but talented.
“There are so many people out there who are incredible blues and rhythm and blues players. Some are famous and some are not. And to me, that’s what the music is all about — it’s almost like a jam-band attitude, I guess. But I consider blues and jazz guys the original jammers.”
It takes a long time to build up such a network, but Coryell’s put in that time — his first record came out in 1995.
“I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’ve built up a comfortable stable of great players. In a perfect world, you want to have your own band all the time. And that is definitely great. But there’s also something to be said for playing with all these great players. You keep it really fresh.”
One of the benefits of the wandering life is the opportunity to sit in with and tour with legends such as King, Buddy Guy and members of their bands. “I’m so grateful and happy to be doing what I love and playing with my heroes.”
One of those heroes is harmonica player and J. Geils Band alumnus Magic Dick, who’ll play with Coryell this weekend. Coryell, 38, recalls listening to J. Geils Band records in high school and calls Dick “really special. In this dime-a-dozen world of blues harmonica players, you can’t find a better one.”
Another hero is Tony Levin, who won’t be with Coryell at Chan’s this weekend but who plays on Coryell’s latest record, The Same Damn Thing. “I was so thrilled to get him on my new record, and I can’t even get him on the phone anymore!” Coryell says of Levin, who plays with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson. The Same Damn Thing is another sure-shot collection of soul, roots-rock and R&B-inflected groove music with Coryell leading a trio and featuring his own rough-edged, fuzzed-out guitar, more similar to Jimi Hendrix (about which more in a moment) and Carlos Santana than his father.
Coryell is the son of jazz and fusion great Larry Coryell, and while he’s always played guitar, the family legacy weighed heavily on him for a while. His younger brother, Julian, also plays guitar, graduated from the Berklee College of Music at age 16 and now plays and writes with Madeleine Peyroux.
“I couldn’t do the jazz virtuoso thing like he and my brother do. . . . There was such a sense of pressure, with my dad and when my brother came along, that I said, ‘I don’t know.’ I was a regular kid, into sports and into school.”
The key, Murali Coryell says, was learning to do what you really want — a lesson he learned from his father and the great musicians who came naturally into his life.
“All my heroes, they all said, ‘You’ll find your own thing.’ Everyone starts off by imitating their heroes, but there comes a point where you have to develop beyond that.”
Now he embraces his legacy with songs such as “In the Room with Jimi,” the leadoff track from The Same Damn Thing, which recounts the story of being in a bassinet while his father played with Hendrix, as well as his decision to go his own way. When he played it for his father, he says Larry Coryell’s reaction was, “I like it, but it’s too short and you should have had me on it.”
Coryell says his father taught him some guitar techniques, and once gave him John Scofield’s number when he had trouble figuring out a Scofield song, but also introduced him to the concept of the freelance musical life he now leads. When a young Murali Coryell lost a bass player from his band, his father matter-of-factly told him, “Get another bass player.” “It had never occurred to me!,” Murali Coryell remembers now.
Coryell has two sons of his own now, and spending a lot of time on the road means a lot more work for his wife, but on the other hand, “It was the same thing for me. When I grew up, I didn’t know any other way. Dad went off to gigs and Mom took care of the routine. . . .
“There is some kind of plan out there, and I’m glad that I found my thing, and I’m glad that I get to be who I am.”
Murali Coryell plays at Chan’s, 267 Main St., Woonsocket, Saturday night. Tickets are $17 for the 8 p.m. show, $12 for the 10 p.m. show and $20 for both. Call (401) 765-1900 .
The Same Damn Thing
Being the child of a legend brings a lot of pressure, particularly when the child treads some of the father's turf. As a teen, Murali Coryell asked his musician father, Larry Coryell, where to start with music, and Larry gave him B.B. King "Live at the Regal" (1964). It changed Murali's life.
On his seventh album, "The Same Damn Thing", Murali is joined by bass legend Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, King Crimson), who holds it down beautifully, and on drums, regional legend Gene Randolph. Known more as a jazzman, Gene brings a Memphis back beat to the equation. Murali himself is a consummate bluesman as well as an accomplished R&B performer. His vocal style channels Sam Cooke; his guitar is strong and understated like Albert King.
In "Way Too Expensive," he takes the blues shuffle to a new level lyrically: "It cost me one hundred dollars just to fill up my tank/Puttin' gas in my car/I may have to rob a bank." The opener "I Was In The Room With Jimi," is a lyrical catharsis, and a homage to Jimi and his dad, relating young Murali's experiences backstage during his father's shows. "Calling From Another Phone" is reminiscent of the Philly feel in "Me and Mrs. Jones". "I Can't Stand It Anymore" is an anti-war statement that sounds like it belongs on a Neil Young album, but that is part of Murali's honesty. The album offers plenty of blues shuffles, but there's a lot more to it.
"Lu-eee-ze," howls Murali Coryell on "Louise," his mind, voice and guitar equally wrecked by trouble. The son of fluent jazz guitarist and sessioneer extraordinaire Larry Coryell, Murali has made an efficient little blues album with bassist Bill Foster and drummer Rod Gross. 2120 is rich with Coryell's explosive self-possession. He never goes for the easy stuff: "Hidden Charms" and "That's How It Is (When You're in Love)" are gems that trade in chicken scratches and country-soul dignity, respectively. Chicago blues is an unforgiving old style that takes some resonant chops to animate fully, and Coryell, who relieves his distorted tenor with nearly matching yelps from his distorted guitar, can call on them. Throughout 2120 he aches and screams, dirties things up and keeps them clean. One promising new hound. (RS 823)
They say the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, but Murali Coryell's laid back blues and soul is light years removed from father Larry's groundbreaking jazz-rock explorations of the late '60s and '70s, which occaisonally indulgent, often brilliant and never dull. Rather than the Mahavishnu-meets-Miles intensity of his dad's group The Eleventh House, Murali's music hones closer to Sam Cooke and Al Green, featuring tasteful old-school R&B grooves, refined guitar playing and his warm, reedy voice. Perhaps that's waht youthful rebellion means when you grow up with a jazz fusion pioneer as a father. And who knows-maybe it's come full-circle, as Coryell the First just two years ago released an album titled Laid Back and Blues. 8 p.m. at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar-
Born in Fame, Guitarist Finds His Own Career and His Own Sound
AS an infant, Murali Coryell lay in his baby basket, looking up wide-eyed as Jimi Hendrix peered down at him. A few months later Carlos Santana was bouncing the little boy on his lap, and on his 10th birthday Miles Davis gave him a $100 bill.
No one would be surprised to learn that this child, son of the jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, grew up to become a musician and that Murali Coryell, now 30, is indeed becoming a guitar force. But he was not exactly handed an easy road to fame.
Murali (whose name means ''divine flute'' in Sanskrit) could not figure out those crazy chord changes he watched his father swing through, so Mr. Coryell -- who had neither the time nor the inclination to spoon-feed his son -- packed Murali off to guitar camp. Meanwhile, Murali's younger brother, Julian, picked it up immediately.
''I used to have a little bit of a jazz inferiority complex because of my dad and my brother,'' Mr. Coryell admitted recently. ''Carlos Santana and people like that would say to me, 'Man, you've got to become a great jazzer like your dad and carry on the tradition.' So I went through a phase where I was trying to learn jazz. I tried to play Miles Davis's 'Four' with Dad, but I couldn't. I remember feeling really bummed out that I was Larry Coryell's son, and I couldn't even play 'Four'!''
The father was not oblivious to his son's pain. Between world tours with Dizzy Gillespie and Betty Carter, Larry Coryell bought his son two records, Jimi Hendrix's ''Are You Experienced?'' and Steely Dan's ''Greatest Hits.''
''He said, 'I think you're gonna like this song and this one and this one,' '' the younger Mr. Coryell recalled. ''He was always pointing me in the right direction. Eventually, the blues just hit me. That's what made me want to play.''
The elder musician, it appears, sensed his son's gift long before anyone else.
''When Murali was just a few months old, in early 1970, he was brought along, in his little basket, to the Fillmore East, where I was playing in a band with Jack Bruce and Mitch Mitchell,'' Mr. Coryell, the elder, said. ''One of those nights, Jimi Hendrix came around to hear the show and was ushered into the dressing room where baby Murali was, and he stood over Murali's basket there and checked him out. Maybe some unseen connection took place between them, because Murali grew up, like Hendrix, to play blues guitar and sing the blues.''
This is no idle bragging from a proud papa. Murali Coryell does indeed have a Hendrix-style intensity to his guitar playing and a voice like Otis Redding's. Even those who do not consider themselves music aficionados -- and this writer is one -- cannot help being moved by his sound.
Which is exactly how Mr. Coryell achieves most of his acclaim -- by captivating people with live shows in concert halls or coffeehouses or Chinese restaurants. (His wife, Mary, a registered nurse, first saw her future husband performing in a bar in New Paltz and decided she liked him because he looked like one of the Beatles. Asked which one, she replies, ''All of them.'')
Until this year, Mr. Coryell booked and promoted all his gigs himself. His new manager, Geoff Cullerton, came on board when friends insisted he watch the guitarist at work.
Mr. Cullerton recalled that the owners at the Town Crier in Pawling called him and said, ''Larry Coryell's son is playing; you've got to come down here right away!'' ''So I did,'' Mr. Cullerton said. ''And I had a smile on my face within seconds after walking in the door.''
Though he still plays small clubs throughout the New York metropolitan region and is only a household name in certain households, Mr. Coryell has toured with Duke Robillard, has opened for George Thorogood, Gregg Allman, B. B. King and Wilson Pickett and has been featured on CNN's ''Showbiz Today'' and the BET channel.
''It's like dreams really do come true,'' said Mr. Coryell. ''You actually can grow up and meet these idols that you've grown up listening to -- and they like you! B. B. King asked me to sign a CD for him, and I was like, 'Oh, my God.' ''
That CD, ''2120'' (1999, CZYZ Records), was his second and won stellar reviews. James Hunter, writing for Rolling Stone, called Mr. Coryell ''one promising new hound,'' and a reviewer at CDNow said, ''This guy can wipe the floor with most of his next-generation colleagues.''
Fans have embraced him as well.
''This is what blues lovers have been waiting for,'' said a fan in Santa Barbara, Calif., writing in to Amazon.com. ''A giant new talent to turn the world on for the millennium.''
For Mr. Coryell, who is clearly happiest when on stage, sleep is an annoyance. He had just arrived home from Chicago, where he played a gig the night before, to guzzle several mugs of extra-strong coffee while chatting through an hourlong interview. Then he jumped into the shower and tore off to play two more gigs that evening. The next morning he would begin teaching an intensive two-week course at the National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut.
''I'm tired, but tired-happy,'' he said. ''If I wasn't so happy, I'd be really tired.''
At the first show that night, an outdoor concert in Kingston, Mr. Coryell's audience grew by the minute. Teenage boys sang along as he slid into Al Green's ''Love and Happiness.'' An older crowd tapped their feet, and Mary Coryell's parents -- a former nun and Marist Brother -- nodded joyfully. Others sat, looking hypnotized, as the roof of the stage trembled with vibration.
In Chicago, not 24 hours earlier, he had performed with Shirley King (daughter of B. B. King), and there was such a synergy between them, Mr. Coryell said, that the two are talking about a King-Coryell tour ''and not telling people it's not Larry Coryell and B. B. King,'' he said jokingly. ''There is definitely a second generation out there.''
Now that he has his own career and his own sound, Mr. Coryell said that playing music with his family has become a joy (his brother, Julian, is still a jazz genius, he said, sighing). The guitar trio released a CD this year, ''The Coryells'' (2000, Cheskey Records), and they will play at The Blue Note in Manhattan this Tuesday through next Sunday.
Still, music is a serious, competitive business in the Coryell family, and the years have not changed that. The elder Mr. Coryell approaches his young collaborators not as a kindly father but like the veteran he is.
''Dad is hard-line,'' the younger Murali Coryell said, laughing. ''He never gives us extra money or anything, like you might think a father would. He treats us just like other musicians. He always wants to be the center, the star. We all want to be the star.''
Latest by Coryell, shouldn't be missed
By DAVE MALACHOWSKI
The Same Damn Thing
Recorded at the Clubhouse in Rhinebeck by Chris Laidlaw and Roman Klun, The Same Damn Thing sure isn't. The Woodstock-based guitarist and singer raised
the bar considerably by utilizing bass genius Tony Levin and master drummer
Gene Randolph, but its his own touch and sensitivity and style that make
this a work of note.
The flowing "I Was In The Room With Jimi," where he recalls "daddy used to
jam with Jimi (his father, jazz great Larry Coryell)," works well, while the
free and easy "The Same Damn Thing" shows off his powerful pipes. He plays
the blues in "Please Please Baby" with verve, and knocks one out of the park
with sparkling "You're the Only One."
Coryell's guitar playing is dead on, but it's his voice that is his real
calling card: soulful, emotional and flexible. Don't miss his regional
performances or this CD.
Young Coryell chooses his own path
When most guitarists say it's their dream to play alongside Eric Clapton, you roll your eyes and think “fat chance.”
When Murali Coryell says it, you're almost surprised it hasn't happened yet.
Coryell, who plays the Bucks County Blues Society's Blue Thursday series tonight at A.J.'s in Bristol Township, has been surrounded by greatness literally since he was an infant, when Jimi Hendrix held him in his arms backstage at the Fillmore East. The son of jazz guitar giant Larry Coryell, Murali received his name from the same Indian guru who christened Carlos Santana, and as a young child he and his parents lived with both Santana and Jack Bruce of Cream.
He didn't follow his father's path to jazz but has become an accomplished blues and soul singer, writer and guitarist, performing alongside B.B. King, Buddy Guy and countless others.
But not Clapton. Not yet, at least ... although he was able to pass some of his CDs on to Clapton's manager when the guitar legend played a concert in Albany, N.Y., near Coryell's home, a few years ago.
“He and my dad played together. He's one of my greatest influences,” said Coryell, who had been reading Clapton's autobiography before this phone interview. “It's been a goal of mine to meet him and get a chance to play with him. He does pick younger blues guitarists that he likes to play with.”
But it's not like Coryell, who lived in Doylestown as a boy from 1973-76, is sitting by the phone waiting for Clapton to call. He's too busy carving his own musical niche, which includes six CDs since 1995 and a passionate live act that has earned him praise from CNN, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. His 2007 solo acoustic all-original album, “Don't Blame It On Me,” has gotten strong reviews in Guitar Player magazine and Blues Revue.
You can't pigeonhole Coryell. His 2005 three-song EP, “The Future of Blues,” recorded with bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) and drummer Gene Randolph, includes a blues, rock and R&B song. When he performs tonight at A.J.'s, he'll do so as part of a gospel trio that offers beautifully soulful vocals to go along with his incendiary guitar work.
“The No. 1 thing is the music,” said Coryell, who has been compared vocally to such soul legends as Sam Cooke and Al Green.
“Above ego, above whatever the fads might be, just get the music right.
“My whole style is the simple, organic approach. It all comes down to picking great songs. Whether I wrote them or somebody else wrote them, these are the vehicles with which you connect to the audience.”
Artistic talent runs in Coryell's family. His younger brother Julian was a jazz prodigy who has also enjoyed a successful music career. His maternal grandmother was the late Broadway actress Carol Bruce (perhaps best remembered for her role as Mama Carlson on “WKRP in Cincinnati.”)
Coryell also performs jazz, although he acknowledges he could never match the prowess of his father or brother.
“They were just wailing, and I didn't have that instant ability to do it,” Coryell said. “What I did have, as my dad pointed out, was a real feeling for the blues. I had to pursue what was in me.”
Coryell, who turns 38 on Saturday, admits that fame is one of his goals, not because he craves wealth and adulation, but because he wants to play his music for as many people as possible.
“It motivates very much, especially when I see all these "American Idol' offshoots,” he said. “To me it's debasing. We're celebrating mediocrity in America.
“I want to try to break through and at least be more famous than Sanjaya. Come on, how much are we all better off having seen Sanjaya? That didn't change my life at all. I'm trying to do something positive with my music.”
Murali Coryell performs tonight at A.J's, 5316 New Falls Road in Bristol Township. Admission $3. Show time 9 p.m. 215-949-9570.
October 25, 2007 8:13 AM
A BluesWax Reprint
This review ran in BluesWax issue #372 on 11/29/2007
Don't Blame It On Me
BluesWax Rating: 8 out of 10
The Future of Popular Blues
As a young man, Marshall Chess worked for his father and his uncle at
the famed Chess Records. In 1970, when the Rolling Stones left the
less-than-scrupulous Allen B. Klein to start up their own label, they
called Chess to front the effort for them. After a substance
abuse-induced break with the Stones, Chess would try again with his
new label, CZYZ, and in 1999 released the album 2120 by the artist
Murali Coryell. Blues fans will immediately recognize the name of the
album as the address of Chess Records in Chicago (also commemorated in
the early Rolling Stones song "2120 South Michigan Avenue"). It is
purported that "Czcy" is the Polish spelling for the Americanized
version of his family name Chess.
And so in 2007 Coryell, a determined road dog, would release an
acoustic album, Don't Blame It On Me. As you might expect, being the
son of legendary Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, Murali is blisteringly
competent on the guitar, however it's his vocals that immediately draw
you in. If Marvin Gaye were to grow up listening to the sugary
Euro-Pop of the 1970's BBC, one can get a hint of Coryeli's vocals --
soulful, yet vulnerable, yet still more Motown than Michael Bolton.
The opening title track, "Don't Blame It On Me," is a wonderful song
that sets a tone for emotion-steeped lyric lines and earnest grit. On
"Way Too Expensive" Coryeli's vocals lead a crisp acoustic guitar
through your traditional twelve-bar Blues format as he sings, "We got
the Iraq War/And Sisters are dying too/But the Administration tells us
its good for me and you/But its way too expensive/Way too expensive
for me and you." On the third track, "Standing The Test Of Time,"
Coryeli uses a powerful Blues-Rock structure to push through a
well-written song that is at once funky, Blues, and the best of Rock,
including a chorus that the listener quickly picks up.
Several of the tracks on Don't Blame It On Me appeared on previous
albums in an electric form, including the emotion-tugging,
father-to-son track "Hi Charlie" and the radio-friendly "Stop," where
he sings "Stop, Baby, wait a minute/I had my whole life planned before
you came in it."
Murali Coryell is the future of the popular Blues, albeit not the
only course in front of us. He is an exceptional songwriter who can
sing better than he plays and, brother, he can play! This album
contains the necessary 12-bars that old-schoolers want, but seeps with
a soulful Pop sensibility that should capture a wider audience. On
"Sea Legs" Coryeli incorporates the names of today's Blues icons in a
silly, yet adoring, format that appropriately recognizes those that
came before him. So he honors the art rather than simply quaffing from
that loving cup. What more could you ask for? Perhaps major
Rick Galusha is a contributing editor at BluesWax