About Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey, & Lenny White
This lineup conjures musical magic in the minds of Jazz Rock fans, and rightfully so. Larry Coryell is a true Jazz Rock pioneer and arguably inventor as well. Lenny White – the legendary drummer in Return to Forever and on the groundbreaking Miles Davis Bitches Brew recordings – is a monster often overlooked by fans in favor of flashier style drummers. Victory Bailey gained notoriety for taking over for Jaco Pastorius in Weather Report and has grown into a phenomenal musician in every respect. This potent combination of seasoned players is guaranteed to set the stage and listening minds on fire and not to be missed.
As one of the pioneers of jazz-rock, Larry Coryell deserves a special place in the history books. He brought what amounted to a nearly alien sensibility to jazz electric guitar playing in the 1960s, a hard-edged, cutting tone, phrasing and note-bending that owed as much to blues, rock and even country as it did to earlier, smoother bop influences. Yet as a true eclectic, armed with a brilliant technique, he is comfortable in almost every style, covering almost every base from the most decibel-heavy, distortion-laden electric work to the most delicate, soothing, intricate lines on acoustic guitar.
Born in Galveston, Texas on April 2, 1943 Coryell grew up in the Seattle, Washington area where his mother introduced him to the piano at the tender age of 4. He switched to guitar and played rock music while in his teens. He didn’t consider himself good enough to pursue a music career and studied journalism at The University of Washington while simultaneously taking private guitar lessons. By 1965 he had relocated to New York City and began taking classical guitar lessons which would figure prominently in later stages of his career. Although citing Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry as early influences he also took cues from jazzmen such as John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery. He was also inspired by the popular music of the day by the Beatles, The Byrds and Bob Dylan and worked diligently to meld both rock and jazz stylings into his technique. This was reflected on his debut recording performance on drummer Chico Hamilton’s album ” The Dealer” where he sounded like chuck Berry at times with his almost distorted “fat” tone. Also in 1966 he formed a psychedelic band called The Free Spirits on which he also sang vocals, played the sitar and did most of the composing. Although conceptually the band’s music conformed to the psychedelic formula with titles like “Bad News Cat” and” I’m Gonna Be Free” it foreshadowed jazz rock with more complex soloing by Coryell and Sax/flute player Jim Pepper. However, it wasn’t until three years later after apprenticing on albums by Vibraphonist Gary Burton and flutist Herbie Mann and gigging with the likes of Jack Bruce and others that Coryell established his multifarious musical voice, releasing two solo albums which mixed jazz, classical and rock ingredients. In late 1969 he recorded “Spaces”, the album for which he is most noted. It was a guitar blow-out which also included John McLaughlin who was also sitting on the fence between rock and jazz at the time and the cogitative result formed what many aficionados consider to be the embryo from which the fusion jazz movement of the 1970s emerged. It contained insane tempos and fiery guitar exchanges which were often beyond category not to mention some innovating acoustic bass work by Miroslav Vitous and power drumming by Billy Cobham both of whom were to make contributions to Jazz rock throughout the `70s.
His career, however, began in era of guitar rock, where he was able to rise for a time with legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton. His music continues to influence musicians and fans internationally and will continue to do so for a very long time.
Since the late seventies,as a teenager,Victor Bailey has been hailed as one of the worlds greatest bass guitarists.
He gained international recogniton in the early nineteen eighties when he joined the innovative jazz fusion supergroup Weather Report.
He has made three of the most highly acclaimed solo records ever by any bassist.As a studio musician he has played on over one thousand records.He has toured and recorded with artists as diverse as Joe Zawinul,Mary J. Blige and Madonna.
Bailey is also a prolific composer, producer and bandleader.
As one of the founding fathers of the musical movement known as “fusion,” Lenny White earned a worldwide reputation as the drummer in the super group Return to Forever. A teenager in 1967, Jackie McLean asked him to join his band and within a year, he had played on two of the most important “fusion” records ever made, Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay.”
After Return to Forever’s split in 1976, Lenny, recorded three critically acclaimed jazz rock records of his own. His late ’70s recordings are often cited as outstanding examples of a new transitional sound made famous by friends Earth, Wind, and Fire. Lenny’s versatility, lead to collaborations with many of the finest Jazz musician as Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana just to mention a few names.
In the early 1980’s, he teamed with Chick and Stanley again, and he produced, The Griffith Park Collection and the Grammy-nominated Echoes of an Era with vocalist Chaka Khan. He wrote music for Spike Lee’s “School Daze” and along with Marcus Miller, scored the soundtrack to the Huddlin brothers’ movie “House Party”.
To complete Lenny’s living-legend drum circle, he joined Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Al Di Meola for the 30-year-in-the-making, successful Return to Forever Reunion World Tour, summer of 2008, then in 2009, he toured with Corea and Clarke for an unplugged version of RTF. In May of 2010, Lenny released his 13th album entitled “ANOMALY”, in con junction with Absrtact Logix; he also co-produced The Stanley Clarke Band CD along with a documented version of the Corea, Clarke and White tour of 2009 entitled “Forever”.