Drop of fusion in ocean of music

Fusion style godfather — virtuoso jazz guitarist Larry Coryell — gives concert in Minsk

By Irina Ovsepyan

Fusion style godfather — virtuoso jazz guitarist Larry Coryell — gives concert in Minsk

Larry Coryell performs
Larry Coryell performs

Before his concert at the State Philharmonic, the musician gave a master class to students at the Belarusian State Culture University, despite his long flight, Mr. Coryell chatted with journalists, demonstrating some knowledge of Russian.

Why did you decide to give a master class to Belarusian student-musicians, free of charge?

Students are our future and I’m keen to teach anyone eager to learn. It’s extremely important for me to share my knowledge with the next generation, having been taught by great masters in New York.

It’s your first time in Minsk. What are your impressions?

I love everything, without exception. Moreover, I’ve eaten the best borshch of my life today; it’s borshch number one for me!

Why have you chosen Minsk as the first destination for your European tour?

Just luck. I talked to my Moscow friends and one had recently returned from Minsk, having given a wonderful concert. I decided that it would be great to begin my tour here...

Tell us more about your War and Peace musical.

I composed in honour of Leo Tolstoy, whose ‘War and Peace’ so impressed me. I wanted to express my feelings in music. Interestingly, Thomas Mann also described a similar situation in his book: a young man goes to war and dies almost immediately. This is tragedy but Tolstoy’s message helps us feel forgiveness and humility. The idea was previously brought to music by my idols: John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie. In composing music for ‘War and Peace’, I ‘translated’ some thoughts and ageless truths of Tolstoy into musical language.

What are your artistic goals?

Music is truly universal — like an endless ocean! In composing, I simply fill it with minor drops. I think, each musician does the same.

MT’s reference:

Larry Coryell is an American guitarist, and a pioneer of jazz-rock and fusion. He was born on April 2nd, 1943, in Galveston, Texas. Larry has performed with Gary Burton Quartet, Jack Bruce and Charles Mingus. Fans all over the globe call him ‘a guitar God’: over his 40-year career, he has released over 75 albums. Mr. Coryell lectures at Washington University.
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