It's hard to believe, from my first meeting with Larry Coryell, in the back of "Shelly's Manne-Hole" sometime in 1968, when he was with Gary Burton's ground breaking quartet, that some 7 years later I would be sharing so many airplanes and stages with a major inspiration. Over the years, Larry and I had spent mostly social time together, but, from '74-'75, we worked opposite each other on several occasions. I was part of Steve Marcus' Count's Rock Band, and Larry was leading his newly formed Eleventh House group. So, it was sometime in early 1975 that Larry's manager, Vince Cirrincione suggested that he and Tom Paine would like to try forming a duet context for Larry. It would be primarily acoustic, but could include some electric....whatever it was to be, it would be a tremendous help to the finances.
On March 8th, 1974, Larry and I met at his house in Wilton, Connecticut to rehearse and see if this was even possible. I came armed with books of music, an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, an amp....and a Univox rhythm machine on the wild chance that it could be worked into the program. We decided to draw from several sources: music from Larry's career; and tunes that people would not expect an acoustic guitar duo to attempt. Hours later, it seemed like it could work, we smiled and I returned to New York City...still skeptical if I could hold-up my end of this duo! Well, there wasn't much time to worry as our first gig was booked and we were off for a weekend in Detroit. As it was with most of our gigs, that year, many people showed-up expecting to see he Eleventh House. Amazingly though, it worked and between Larry's work with the Eleventh House and my work with the Brecker Bros. Band, we did the duo thing whenever possible.
More often that not Larry just played stuff on the guitar that I just couldn't believe, and if it hadn't been impossible to stop playing, I would have probably stopped and applauded myself! I wondered: "What am I doing on the same stage with this guy? I must be NUTS!" In general, it was a wonderful experience, and it was all too sobering to sit next to someone, who, night after night, hit moments of sheer guitar genius. "TWO FOR THE ROAD" represents the acoustic portion of our program and I wish to thank Vince and Tom and all those who came to see us play, and I hope that these performances will bring back wonderful memories of those evenings.
Photo: Steve Khan and Larry Coryell