Artist: Larry Corban
Album: Corban Nation
Label: Nabroc Records LLC
Release Date: 11/04/2016
Larry Corban is a New York City based guitarist with an ear for original material and playing in a style that is deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, while still managing to push the boundaries of today’s jazz guitar. Corban Nation is Corban’s third album recorded with the Aperturistic Trio, which is comprised of James Weidman on piano, Harvie S on bass and Steve Williams on drums. Saxophonist Steve Slagle joins the quartet for three selections. The chemistry between each player is very strong and the group, as a whole, has a unique sound that only comes from working together over a long period of time. The project presents seven Corban originals and two covers, Charlie Parker’s “Segment,” and “I Should Care,” written by Axel Stordahl, Paul Weston and Sammy Cahn.
“In Vision” a Corban original, is an excellent melody based on a pentatonic scale performed by Corban and guest Slagle. Corban’s solo is a study in modern jazz guitar. His widely-acclaimed virtuosity is uncontestable, yet he remains a tonal traditionalist—an aspect reinforced by his command of traditional ornamentations of melodic figures. His hollow-body electric guitar is focused and pushes the music with excitement. Despite the long phrases with little space, Corban continues to eschew the feeling of unnecessary virtuosity that would diminish the clarity of his crystalline cadences and musical statements. Slagle’s solo is equally exciting , and the strong pulse from S and Williams is unstoppable, allowing all the soloist to freely explore this well written composition.
Corban narrows his focus to concentrate on original material. However, his arrangement of Parker’s “Segment” is a fine example of the guitarist’s command of his jazz roots and his ability to stretch them. Set to a medium tempo, S and Williams hold a steady pulse as Weidman colors around Corban’s lines, providing context and stylistic continuity, Weidman’s solo rounds out the tracks with delightfully appealing creativity and excellent melodic colors, with hip voicings. Also of note is Corban’s interesting embellishments on the melody, one can tell he has a deep understanding of the Great American Songbook standards, as well as the be-bop and post-bop era.
The result is a brisk but bracing affair, with all the cuts providing excellent musical entertainment and playing. Corban and company certainly show their musical prowess on each of the catchy numbers with their command of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic foundations without undue extrapolation, all while capturing the spontaneous energy of their joy of playing music together. Corban inevitably shines as the leader, whose energetic and tasteful solos brim with fluidity of phrase and darting fretboard runs. Emblematic of its title, Corban Nation reveals another facet of Corban’s burgeoning artistry, finding him moving beyond the traditional jazz guitar vocabulary, and moving it into a more expansive mode of expression that is modern jazz guitar for today.
– Sylvannia Garutch