- The Disguise
- New Blues, Old Bruise
- Hymn to Andromeda
- Dr Jackle
- Senor C.S.
- In a Silent Way / It's About That Time
- Someday My Prince Will Come
Chick Corea - Piano, keyboards
John McLaughlin - Guitar
Kenny Garrett - Alto sax
Christian McBride - Acoustic bass, electric bass
Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums
Herbie Hancock - Piano (track II/3)
Having been a fan of Chick Corea's Return to Forever and John
McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, I was looking forward to
hearing this band on their European tour last autumn. The Five Peace
Band was formed last year by the two men, who first worked together
on Miles Davis's album In a Silent Way. I caught the band at
London's Festival Hall at the end of the London Jazz Festival and
was rather glad that I was sitting far away from the stage, as the
band was often too loud for comfort.
This double CD was recorded during the tour. The main purveyor of high volume was guitarist John McLaughlin, who often played with the power of a heavy-metal band. Kenny Garrett made his alto sax scream as if he was a grandstanding soloist like Illinois Jacquet in Jazz at the Philharmonic. Fortunately Chick Corea played with more restraint and most of the concert's highspots came when he was soloing.
The technical proficiency of the band members was beyond doubt but I questioned their taste in delivering technoflash jazz fusion at such a high decibel level. Of course, when you are listening to a record album, you can turn the volume down, although it means that you miss some subtleties that may find their way into the music. Mind you, I wouldn't mind missing a lot of Kenny Garrett's screeching, which often depends on endless riffs or high-powered squeals.
The assault starts with the very first track, as McLaughlin, Corea and Garrett all show off their dexterity with mostly unsubtle force. Things quieten down for The Disguise, a Corea composition which Chick begins on acoustic piano - thankfully subdued and thoughtful. McLaughlin's New Blues, Old Bruise is quite listenable. Kenny Garrett's solo starts off well but is marred by some squawking. McLaughlin's guitar reaches my threshold of pain at several points. Where is the delicacy he showed when playing with his group Shakti? Vinnie Colaiuta contributes an impressive drum solo and this number is a good example of the firm but unobtrusive rhythm lines laid down by him and bassist Christian McBride.
Chick Corea's Hymn to Andromeda is a rather mournful oasis of calm, with pensive keyboards from the composer and a bowed-bass solo from McBride. Chick's piano introduction to Mr Jackle sounds remarkably like Thelonious Monk, even throwing in a hint of Blue Monk. It develops into a beboppish outburst from the whole band and a great Corea solo, followed by more searing guitar heroics from McLaughlin. Kenny Garrett's alto solo swirls fluently, and Christian McBride's solo on double bass is dextrous and well-shaped.
John McLaughlin introduces his Senor C.S. in meditative mood but it turns into a bustling up-tempo with lots of squealing from guitar and sax. Corea and McLaughlin recall their time with Miles Davis in a medley of In a Silent Way and It's About That Time, adding Herbie Hancock as a guest. The two leaders close the concert with an empathic interpretation of Someday My Prince Will Come.
The recording is bright and clear, but the echoey ambience can pincrease the aural onslaught. I wish there had been more of the "peace" that was mentioned in the band's name.