|Larry Coryell was one of the first and, depending on your point of view, one of the best/worst fusion guitarists in jazz history. He's done some truly exciting, breakthrough work with Gary Burton, Philip Catherine, Carla Bley and John McLaughlin, and some then-trendy stabs at funk that are best forgotten. With MONK..., Coryell gets back to his jazz roots. By covering tunes by the greats (many of which have become jazz standards) Coryell pays homage to the jazz legends that helped shape his musical conception.
Here the sound is softer and more contemplative without being dozy--his guitar has the gentle burred tone of Pat Martino and Wes Montgomery. Unlike many guitarists, Coryell doesn't stifle an idea with excess and flash. The band is equally fine: John Hicks and Santi Dibriano are masters of their instruments. Dibriano in particular is a joy to hear with his supple, sensitive, guitar-like approach to the acoustic bass. Guitar fans and mainstream jazz fans will find this album a treat, a contemporary master paying respectful tribute to jazz innovators.
...Coryell is gradually becoming one of [jazz's] greatest seasoned veterans, as this material strongly suggests. -Jazz Times (06/01/1999)