Murali Coryell – Mr. Senator | Album Review

Murali Coryell – Mr. Senator

Shake-It-Sugar Records

10 songs Time-45:03

With his pedigree of being noted jazz guitarist Larry Coryell’s son and his association with Joe Louis Walker I would of expected from Murali Coryell a CD of jazz and/or blues instead of this mixture of blue-eyed soul, funk and pop. His guitar playing is a combination of funk, jazz and very little blues. The band configuration is basically guitar, drums and bass with saxes on one song. There is also an additional guitarist on two tracks. They manage to funk things up with just the three instruments. The three best known cover songs really don’t offer much over the originals, save for a different guitar approach.

The title track introduces the listener to Murali’s smooth, sandpaper, blue-eyed soul voice. His guitar soloing here owes a big debt to the influence of Carlos Santana. The sentiment of the song is timely as it speaks of crooked politicians. “Dysfunctional Child” is straight up R&B complete with plenty “woo hoos”. The guitar solos are quite nice here in the blues-rock vein. Murali dusts off his slide guitar for the sax driven “Tuff Love”. Leon Russell’s “This Masquerade” is truer to George Benson’s slick pop version. It doesn’t add anything to either of the two versions, except a different guitar style, which in Murali’s hands is a harder attack.

His wife wanted him to write a pretty, romantic song for her, so he wrote this boy band sounding piece of fluff instead in “You Blew My Mind”. His approach to Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” works quite well and you don’t really miss the keyboards as blues-rock guitar fits the bill. The AM radio staple “Slip Away” is a harder and quite good rendition. The guitar playing on “Let’s Straighten It Out” is jazzy on this slow R&B burner. “My Pedal Board” is about how airlines mishandle the band’s musical equipment as a nice bluesy shuffle. The lyrics to “Tejanos” are in Spanish and the song sounds similar to what Los Lobos does on occasion.

Ok, there you have it. This isn’t the kind of music that appeals to me, but the musicianship and production values are there. There is music for all tastes, so if this is on your radar, you should find much to like here. Whatever makes you happy.

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