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Chick Corea uses more through-writing on his latest Origin album, and it works; partly because the composer succeeds in this area of artistic achievement, and partly because his sextet is so laden with talent. With Corea's compositions, you get an intricate painting that captures the details many artists overlook. His arrangements insure that the instrumental voices are working in the fashion intended, and there's still plenty of space left for the sextet's members to stretch out. Adding the marimba to his project for two pieces creates for the listener a desired image, while maintaining Origin's natural acoustic sound. Saxophonist Steve Wilson is on the left channel while Bob Sheppard is on the right, providing a convenient way to tell the instrumental voices from one another.
"Before Your Eyes" represents the album's title and theme by changing mood several times from lush and natural to majestic and militant, then back to a relaxed feeling. The music changes before your eyes, as the accompanying mental images switch gears. The distinctive voice of Corea's marimba sits well with "Wigwam" and "L.A. Scenes." On one it offers a natural tribal harmony; on the other a tense urban grit linked to both pedestrian and automobile traffic. "Compassion," a redesign of "It Could Happen to You," is performed by the piano trio alone. Cohen wrote "Lylah," which Corea arranged and combined with "Awakening" to make a closing suite. Corea and Cohen have much in common, writing from a Middle Eastern standpoint, incorporating threads that evoke Spain, Argentina, and much more. Of course, Corea's broad brush covers a lot of territory. This one represents some of his best work. Highly Recommended.
Track Listing: Chick Corea- piano, marimba; Avishai Cohen- acoustic bass; Steve Wilson- soprano sax, alto sax, flute, clarinet; Bob Sheppard- tenor sax, bass clarinet, flute; Steve Davis- trombone; Jeff Ballard- drums.
Personnel: Wigwam; Armando's Tango; Little Flamenco; Early Afternoon Blues; Before Your Eyes; L.A. Scenes; Home; The Spinner; Compassion; Night (Lylah); Awakening.