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CHICK COREA

The Musician

Concord 7202649

 

 

 

 

CD1

  1. Captain Marvel

  2. Light As A Feather

  3. I Hear A Rhapsody

  4. Spirit Rides

  5. Special Beings

  6. I've Got The World On A String

  7. Spain

    Chick Corea - Piano with

    Return To Forever Unplugged

    Stanley Clarke - Bass (tracks 1, 2)

    Lenny White - Drums (tracks 1, 2)

    Frank Gambale - Guitar (tracks 1, 2)

    Chick Corea Trio

    Gary Peacock - Bass (track 3)

    Brian Blade - Drums (track 3)

    Five Peace Band

    John McLaughlin - Guitar (tracks 4, 5)

    Kenny Garrett - Saxophone (tracks 4, 5)

    John Patitucci - Bass (tracks 4, 5)

    Brian Blade - Drums (tracks 4, 5)

    Chick Corea And Bobby McFerrin Duet

    Bobby McFerrin - Vocal (tracks 6,7)

    CD2

  1. Overture

  2. Your Eyes Speak To me

  3. If I Were A Bell

  4. Nefertiti

  5. Zyryab

  6. Mi Nina Lola

    Chick Corea - Piano with

    Chick Corea And Gary Burton Duet

    Gary Burton - Vibraphone (tracks 1, 2)

    The Harlem String Quartet (tracks 1, 2)

    Gayle Moran Corea - Vocal (track 2)

    From Miles

    Wallace Roney - Trumpet (tracks 3, 4)

    Gary Bartz - Alto sax, tenor sax (tracks 3, 4)

    Eddie Gomez - Bass (tracks 3, 4)

    Jack De Johnette - Drums (tracks 3, 4)

    Flamenco Heart

    Concha Buika - Vocals (track 6)

    Carles Benavent - Bass (tracks 5, 6)

    Jorge Pardo - Soprano sax, flute (tracks 5, 6)

    Niņo Josele - Guitar (tracks 5, 6)

    Jeff Ballard - Drums (tracks 5, 6)

    CD3

  1. C.C.'s Birthday Blues

  2. Caravan

  3. Hot House

  4. Dolphin Dance

  5. Cantaloupe Island

  6. Ritual

  7. Silver Temple

    Chick Corea - Piano with

    Chick Corea And Marcus Roberts Duet

    Marcus Roberts - Piano (tracks 1, 2)

    Wynton Marsalis - Trumpet (track 1)

    Chick Corea And Herbie Hancock Duet

    Herbie Hancock - Piano (tracks 3 - 5)

    The Chick Corea Elektric Band

    Dave Wecki - Drums (tracks 6, 7)

    John Patitucci - Bass (tracks 6, 7)

    Eric Marienthal - Alto sax, tenor sax (tracks 6, 7)

    Frank Gambale - Guitar (tracks 6, 7)

    What better way for Chick Corea to celebrate the year of his 70 th birthday (2011) than with a month-long residency at the celebrated Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City? One of the big-hitters of jazz piano, Corea has put together in these recordings, only recently released, a series of live sets which reflects the diversity of his contribution over the years, covering no less than ten different group settings, all reunited during the Blue Note dates. He is joined by a host of outstanding musicians, many of them household names, for a fascinating trip down memory lane. Spread over three CDs, there's a chance to hear a fresh take on some famous collaborations. Listeners will, of course, respond more enthusiastically to some tracks rather than others, according to individual taste, but can be assured there is something for everyone to be found here.

    So to the first of this trio of CDs. The Return To Forever Unplugged slot is represented by Captain Marvel and Light As A Feather. In the case of Captain Marvel , the familiar jazz-rock theme is given a consummate treatment by the quartet. Bassist Stanley Clarke's composition, Light As A Feather, provides an extended workout for the group, lasting almost fourteen minutes. The performances are marked by energy and invention. Next up is the Chick Corea Trio with I Hear A Rhapsody. The line-up of Corea, Gary Peacock on bass and Brian Blade on drums could hardly be bettered and they certainly deliver! Incisive and swinging, to a man. The Five Peace Band reunites Corea with guitar great, John McLaughlin. Of the two tracks on offer, the intoxicating and adventurous Special Beings edged it for me, McLaughlin, Corea and the impassioned Kenny Garrett, all on form. The first CD concludes with I've Got The World On A String and Spain. For these, Corea teams up with that maestro of vocalese, Bobby McFerrin. Spain, of course, is one of Corea's most distinctive compositions, incorporating as it does at least three musical genres as well as obliquely referencing Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. Unsurprisingly, it's a version full of interest here with McFerrin constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the human voice.

    The second disc opens with a couple of tracks featuring the Corea/Gary Burton partnership, augmented by the Harlem String Quartet. Burton is flawless and there is some stirring interplay between the duo and the string quartet on Overture. Chick's wife, Gayle Moran Corea gives a dramatic rendition of Your Eyes Speak To Me which is also marked by a beautiful introduction from the strings. A couple of numbers from a star-studded quartet, in tribute to Miles Davis, follow. If I Were A Bell is a lengthy exploration of the show tune. Although it is hard to beat the orginal, there are some fine solos from the likes of Wallace Roney, taking the Miles part on trumpet and giving his considerable all. The estimable Eddie Gomez on bass and an energetic Gary Bartz on saxophone supplement a bustling Jack De Johnette and, of course, Corea himself to complete a high octane line-up. Chick Corea has been associated throughout his career with Latin rhythms and it is his Flamenco Heart group who complete the second CD. The audience clearly found the vibrant Zyryab exciting and it's a judgement I endorse. There's a rich vein of improvisation apparent here from a group of musicians at home in each other's company. I was even more impressed by Mi Nina Lola. Vocalist Concha Bisika's powerful voice features alongside Corea's masterly playing and the fervent and questing flute of Jorge Pardo. The audience response is even more ecstatic for this one.

    The final CD pairs up Chick with fellow pianists Marcus Roberts and Herbie Hancock respectively while the final couple of tracks reconstitute his Elektric Band. Although familiar material is at hand, as well as congenial collaborators, I found this disc the least satisfying of the three. It does boast one outstanding track, though, CC's Birthday Blues. It takes us right to the roots of jazz. Corea and Marcus Roberts inspire one another to fresh heights of performance and guest Wynton Marsalis on trumpet is a blast. The blues are delivered with attitude and bite. A further session with Roberts allows the couple to explore the Duke Ellington favourite, Caravan, which is played with zest and a sense of adventure. I'm an admirer of both Corea and Herbie Hancock but confess to being a shade disappointed with the three pieces they share. Maybe the classic status of the material concerned arouses expectations difficult to meet. As for the Elektric Band numbers, despite the quality of musicianship, full appreciation, I suspect, depends on the listener's reaction to that phase of Corea's work (mid 1980's/early '90's). Nevertheless, rousing stuff.

    Overall, admirers of Corea's ability to explore, innovate and create will be reminded of his achievements over many years, together with his appetite for collaboration with other giants of the genre. Along the way, they will get to hear some exceptional music from what was surely an unforgettable residency at the Blue Note. Incidentally, it's worth mentioning that in addition to the 3 CD or Blu-ray set, there's a package available which includes a feature length documentary on Chick's life and musical career.

    James Poore


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