Monday, July 22, 2013

Live reviewed by Rick Davis

Murali Coryell
Shake-It-Sugar Records
CD 11 Tracks
DVD 10 Tracks

To hear Murali Coryell live is an experience that I have had on several occasions. Murali has that rare ability to write, sing, and play guitar, blending blues, soul, and jazz. He reflects on artists like his father Larry Coryell, B.B. King (recommended by his father), Albert King, Albert Collins, as well as rock legends like Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. He has opened for R&B and blues artists like George Thorogood, Gregg Allman, Wilson Picket, and B.B. King.

His recent live CD/DVD released by Shake-It-Sugar Records, captures magic of one of his finest recent performances on CD at Club Helsinki in Hudson, New York (7/30/12) and an older show on video at The Root & Blues Festival, Salmon Arm, BC (8/14/10). The CD line-up has Murali on guitar and vocals, Dorian Randolph on drums and vocals, Vince Leggiere and Henry Oden on bass, Bill Foster on guitar, Stacey Waterous on saxophone and vocals, Cameron Melville on organ, and Dave Fleschner also handling keyboards. The CD opens with Murali's introduction and dedication to Jimi Hendrix with his tune "In The Room With Jimi," the story about meeting Jimi as an infant at the Fillmore East. During his guitar solos he works his wah-wah petal to perfection as only Murali does in a live show. With soulful, gritty vocals, he captivates the audience with his own R&B tune "I Can't Give You Up." The smooth saxophone overtones, deeply emotional vocals, and rich guitar solos on the Hambridge/Nicholson/Linden song "I Could've Had You" create a relaxing aura. He brings the band way down on the best blues number of the show "Softly Let Me Kiss Your Lips" so the audience can in his words "feel the spirit." They pick up the groove with the Coryell/Hambridge/Fleming tune "Sugar Lips" and the self-penned tune "Music Sets You Free." The only blues cover blues song in the performance is Lowell Fulson's "Love Her With A Feeling" with both superb guitar solos from Bill Foster and saxophone solos from Stacey Waterous. Coryell sparks audience participation on the song "What's Going On" recorded by both Marvin Gaye and Donnie Hathaway. The live CD concludes with Coryell's lively song "The Blues Is Taking Its Place" and the classic Coryell/Hambridge tune "Closer To You Baby."

The live video show in the package includes Murali on guitar and vocals, Dorian Randolph on drums and vocals, Henry Oden on bass, and Dave Fleschner on keyboards. He doubles on the CD/DVD with the tunes "Sugar Lips, "In The Room With Jimi," and "The Blues Is Taking Its Place." He brings in some funk to the video with the Coryell/Hambridge song "Minor Funk." Murali performs more of his own material with tunes like "Calling From Another Phone," the blues shuffle "Please Please Baby, "The Same Thing," featuring Dave Fleschner on keyboards, and the rockin' blues tune "Way Too Expensive." The show ends with an energetic version of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me."

What makes a Murali Coryell live show so spirited is the creativity that he brings to the stage. He has the ability to draw his audience into the performance, making his show an incredible night of entertainment. The CD/DVD Murali Coryell Live brings that experience of seeing and listening to Murali live to his listeners who have not had the pleasure to actually see a live performance.

Review by Rick Davis

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