When like minds get together, the results can be unpredictable. Will empathy lead to a spirit of freedom and adventure, or will the parallel thought processes translate instead into blandness? Adventure clearly wins the day on Like Minds,
vibraphonist Gary Burton’s third release as leader for Concord Jazz. Even with Metheny’s guitar added and Corea’s piano hardly as spare as John Lewis’, the session manifests a beguiling MJQ–like ambiance at slower tempos but shifts easily into high gear to swing hard and consistently on the more accelerated numbers. Burton wrote two of them (“Like Minds,” “Country Roads”), Metheny four (“Question and Answer,” “Elucidation,” “Tears of Rain,” “For a Thousand Years”), Corea three (“Windows,” “Futures,” “Straight Up and Down”), and they are so colorful and captivating that one can charitably overlook the inclusion of only one song from the standard repertoire, George Gershwin’s “Soon.” As for Burton’s sidemen, their resumés speak for themselves; they are assuredly among the best at what they do, and what they do here is form a water–tight quintet that can swim with any contemporary group in Jazz’s mainstream. One can’t overpraise the contributions of Holland and Hayes, who are always dancing nimbly around the ballroom without stepping on anyone’s toes. Too often one hears a leader say that he chose so–and–so to play with because they are musical soulmates, when in reality so–and–so was chosen for him. In this case, one senses that what Burton says is true; he wanted to assemble a like–minded group of superb musicians and create something new and exciting. He has succeeded on both counts.
Track listing: Question and Answer; Elucidation; Windows; Futures; Like Minds; Country Roads; Tears of Rain; Soon; For a Thousand Years; Straight Up and Down (68:19).
Gary Burton, vibraphone; Chick Corea, piano; Pat Metheny, guitar; Dave Holland, bass; Roy Haynes, drums.