Personnel: Larry Coryell (guitar); Steve Marcus (soprano & tenor saxophones);
Michael Mandell (piano); Mervin Bronson (bass); Roy Haynes (drums); Lawrence Killian (congas); Harry Wilkinson (percussion).
Produced by Bob Thiele and recorded at Electric Lady studios with engineer Eddie Kramer, Barefoot Boy is one of Larry Coryell's finest recordings as a leader. "Gypsy Queen" was recorded prior to bassist Mervin Bronson's arrival at the studio, and features the percussion section locking into a groove over which Coryell lays down a riff and Steve Marcus cuts loose with a fiery soprano sax solo. When it's his turn to solo on this opening number, Coryell turns up the heat, sounding like a cross between Jimi Hendrix and Sonny Sharrock. (Coryell played with Sharrock on Herbie Mann's Memphis Underground.) "The Great Escape" finds Coryell cooking over a bass and percussion groove, with Marcus on tenor sax. "Call to the Higher Consciousness" is a side-long 20-minute jam in which all the players take a ride, with Marcus once again cooking on the soprano sax. Roy Haynes is superb throughout, working in tandem with the percussionists to keep the music moving. This recording is a noteworthy example of the possibilities inherent in the early days of fusion, blending the electrifying energy of rock with the improvisational excitement of jazz. ~ Jim Newsom