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Murali ‘The Destroyer’ Coryell

Mrs. Whitely’s music class, mid 70’s–Burr Farms.

In the middle of one of Whitely’s lectures a man opens the door, sticks his head in and asked her a question. He had long hair and looked kind of eccentric. With a nod he shuts the door and is gone.

I ask one of my friends, “Who’s that?”

“That’s Murali’s dad, he’s a famous rock guitarist.”

I was too young to grasp the meaning of who Larry Coryell was or to understand his influence on modern music. About that time his band, The Eleventh House, was regularly opening for John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Just to put things into perspective, John McLaughlin is the only guy to give Jimmy Page guitar lessons. McLaughlin was Miles Davis’ guitar player on Bitches Brew and for the film score “Tribute To Jack Johnson”. These sessions included Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea—Billy Cobham. This was the invention, in 69-70, of what is called Jazz Fusion. The ultimate in progressive jazz performance—gone electric!

Come to find out Larry Coryell invented Jazz Fusion and Miles was nickin it off him. Now everybody has their own personal taste but Larry Coryell is basically the best guitar player in the world. In the most sophisticated circles Larry Coryell is artist, musical inventor and performer supreme. He fronted a power trio with Jack Bruce, the bass player for Cream, and Jimi Hendrix’s drummer, Mitch Mitchel. He toured as a trio with Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin in1979. His drummer in The Eleventh House was Alphonse Mouzon…one of John Bonham’s favorites.

Ok so years later my family moved across town, into the woods, and I didn’t know all my neighbors. Andy Korchak was the coolest and lived next door. I had been playin guitar for almost ten years by the time I was 18. I had this really loud amplifier. We used to wheel the amp outside and crank it all the way up. I’m talkin hundreds of watts and a six foot wall of 12” speakers. And if you can imagine I can play about as obnoxious as I need to.

I had always been friends with Murali, he was kind of shy—then…I got to know his dad through other circles. I was just learning then how much of a master Larry was musically—soft spoken and humble.

I was so embarrassed when Larry told me he lived behind me through the woods and laughed when he realized that I was the blaring guitar player. Just goes to show—you never know who’s listening. I needed a studio and he invited me over to do some recordings. That’s when I met Julian the younger son. Julian became the youngest person, at 18, to graduate from Berklee Collage of Music—a musical genius in his own right.

Murali hadn’t found his style—yet…He had some pretty big shoes to fill. But he was playing. The last time I saw him was in front of the Pizzeria a long time ago, he was talking about playing guitar—he had the fever!

So I come back from Hollywood after working at the record company for the better part of ten years. My friend Darren says to me, “so–Murali sings soul music!”

It didn’t fit into what I thought. I thought he would be doing jazz. But sure enough it wasn’t long before I heard radio spots, “Murali Coryell soul & blues,” advertised for different venues.

One of the greatest moments; when I heard his singing voice for the first time. I couldn’t believe it was him. Raw power vocals– dominating with depth and feel—pure soul.

Totally different music from his dad’s. He has his own voice. The guitar skillz are crazy good as one might expect but different than you would think. It looks like his career is steam rolling. Flawless album productions and a never ending live schedule. Perfect candidate for the Westport Blues Festival—have to talk with Bob LeRose about that.

Here is a clip from last week—I can’t stop listening to this song. I always thought of Murali as the shy kid but now he’s like–The Destroyer!!!!

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