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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet


 
CHICK COREA

Rendezvous in New York

STRETCH RECORDS 038 023-2
 


 
Disc 1
Chick Corea & Bobby McFerrin Duet
1. Armando’s Rhumba
2. Blue Monk
3. Concierto De Aranjuez /Spain
Now He Sings, Now He Sobs Trio (ChickCorea, Roy Haynes & Miroslav Vitous)
4. Matrix
Remembering Bud Powell Band (Chick Corea, Roy Haynes, Joshua Redman, Terence Blanchard, Chritian McBride)
5. Glass Enclosure/Tempus Fujit
Chick Corea & Gary Burton Duet
6. Crystal Silence
Chick Corea Akoustic Band (Chick Corea, Dave Weckl, & John Patitucci)
7. Bessie’s Blues
Disc 2
Chick Corea Akoustic Band
1. Autumn Leaves
Origin (Chick Corea, Avishai Cohen, Jeff Ballard, Steve Wilson, Steve Davies,
& Tim Garland)
2. Armando’s Tango
Chick Corea & Gonzalo Rubalcaba Duet
3. Concierto de Arranjuez/Spain
Chick Corea New Trio (Chick Korea, Avishai Cohen, & Jeff Ballard)
4. Lifeline
Three Quartets Band (Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez & Steve Gadd)

Reading the sleeve notes gave me a clue as to why it is that whilst no-one could deny that Chick Corea is a genius of the keyboards, nothing he does seems to grab me at all.

Apparently Chick does not like to revisit anything he or anyone else has done previously, because he feels that it would inhibit his creativeness. This view from a musician of his standing has to be respected, but it does not help me in my wish to understand his work.

To give myself hope I started with the Remembering Bud Powell Band because Terence Blanchard and Joshua Redman are two musicians I am familiar with and whose work I enjoy. I am into Bud Powell’s piano playing big time. The track Glass Enclosure/Tempus Fujit, does not seem to have any connection to Bud Powell and my heroes don’t seem to be used to good effect.

To give myself a fresh start, I moved to the duets with Bobby McFerrin and surprise, surprise, I was into something I could enjoy. It is said that both McFerrin and Corea are into spontaneous free improvisation, well this is free improvisation I can enjoy, because it never gets so far from the original as to be unrecognisable. The technical skills of both men are hard to believe and when you add the dimension of improvisation, you get something of real quality.

It’s strange, I’m getting to like this man, Matrix is a delight, superb piano from Corea and wonderful bass and drums from Vitous and Haynes on a track that really swings hard by anyone’s standards.

Track 6 brings together Gary Burton on vibes and Corea on piano and once again it works, the simultaneous improvisations of the two musicians are a delight to the ear.

The Akoustic band featured Dave Weckl &John Patitucci, the latter playing both acoustic and electric bass. The two tracks (which span the two CD’s) swing powerfully and are very enjoyable. I guess I am a Chick Corea fan after all after hearing this record, how strange I should pick the only track I don’t like to listen to first!

Armando’s tango has Steve Davies on trombone, Steve Wilson on clarinet and Tim Garland on bass clarinet. It proves to be an interesting instrumental line-up and everyone comes out of this one with credit.

On the next track there is a piano duet between Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Both pianists are classically trained and both have Latin roots and this background becomes very evident to the listener within a few bars. Faultless technique is the norm here and invention of the highest quality, but is this jazz, as we know it? The problem may be that this kind of technical excellence is rare but does it drive in the direction a jazz audience wants to go? The applause for this one is muted.

Lifeline is back with the trio format with master bassist Avishai Cohen and percussionist Jeff Ballard, this certainly is jazz, as we know it from three star performers.

Finally Quartet No2, Part 1 finds Corea in the company of tenor player Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd. Brecker turns in a breathtaking performance, of the kind that has made him one of the finest in the world of jazz.

This was all taken from live recordings of these artists at the Blue Note Club in New York; they must have very deep pockets to assemble all these stars at one time. This unique album therefore is an essential for the serious jazz listener.

This album has changed my view of Chick Corea’s music; you should try it if you need to be convinced in the way I did.

Don Mather
 



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