Album Reviews

Murali Coryell – Restless Mind (Shake It Sugar)

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restlessmind-300x265His father, Larry’s, career as an iconic fusion jazz guitarist gave Murali Coryell such expansive exposure, from Jimi to Miles and many more, that it had to be challenging to meld those influences into his own style.  We still hear the pulls of jazz and blues, with some pop creeping in on this effort too.  Nonetheless, we do see the singer/guitarist /songwriter progressively refining a soul-blues approach that began to emerge on his last studio release, 2009’s Sugar Lips. While that record had high profile producer (Tom Hambridge) and accompaniment from Reese Wynans, Joe Louis Walker, and his dad,  Murali produces the album himself this time while backed by his own band.

The album begins with the pop oriented “Waiting and Wasting Away” and moves into funk through some rather comical love-life stories such as “Kiss Me First”, “Sex Maniac”, and “Crime of Opportunity.”  Coryell has a gritty, soulful voice that prevails throughout, compensating for some less than compelling lyrics.  Murali’s guitar playing usually compliments his vocals, rather than taking the spotlight as a soloist.  In the midst of these tunes, we get the nicely structured, jazzy title track.  In the latter half of the album, though, the blues-soul Murali steps forward, with the horn-infused “I Can’t Give You Up” and “Tag Along” along with solid blues of “I Need Someone to Love.”  All are Murali’s tunes with the exception of the closer, Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”  Although he’s been performing it live for years, few would have the courage to record it. That, in itself, is indicative of how Coryell is confidently establishing himself as a blues-soul artist.

– Jim Hynes

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