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Murali Coryell: Press

"An amazing piece of work"
Justin Foy - WDST-100.1 FM Radio Woodstock, NY (May 15, 2008)
"One of the BEST cds I have heard in my over 13 yrs hosting Blues
Mark T Smith-The Blues Pilot - 88.9 KJLU FM Jefferson City, MO (May 16, 2008)
"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
Adam Roufberg - WVKR 91.3 FM Vassar College Radio-Poughkeepsie, NY (May 17, 2008)
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. | 775-NEWS (6397)
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 .
Murali Coryell
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.
Stan Beinstein - Elmore Magzine (Aug 27, 2008)
Latest by Coryell, shouldn't be missed

Murali Coryell
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.

A BluesWax Reprint
This review ran in BluesWax issue #372 on 11/29/2007

Murali Coryell
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
Rick Galusha - BluesWax (Dec 5, 2007)
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