If the evening's song choices weren't already eclectic and quite interesting, when he announced that he liked to "doodle and sometimes I like to do it on the piano where I improvise a melody..." He talked about his upcoming 2014 release called Portraits
(Stretch/Concord Records). He said, "I paint people's portraits with an improvised piece of music and melody." It became even more fascinating when he did just that; he invited audience members to come on stage, sat them down (one at a time), and painted a musical portrait improvising a melody, on the spot, capturing their essence. He punctuated this portion of the show by casually commenting that, "The tricky part is that people change from second to second. So do I."
The show continued with a group of short, simple and sweet tunes that Corea called "Children's Songs." Following a longer piece that effectively ended the main set, Corea announced that he's like to do an encore. As a preamble, he explained that he's like to do them with his wife, vocalist Gayle Moran. When Moran ambled out to join her husband she brought a few friendsNBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar and trumpet player Wallace Roney
. Corea and Abdul Jabbar then told the story of how they met back when Abdul Jabbar was 16-years-old and still known as Lew Alcindor. Abdul Jabbar then asked Corea to play one of his favorites, "Trinkle Tinkle." The rest of the encore consisted of Moran's vocal stylings on Corea's "You're Everything" and "Someday My Prince Will Come." "Someday My Prince Will Come" was announced as a tribute to Miles Davis. Roney (who as a young musician was taken under Davis' wing) channeled his master making this performance a one-of-a-kind treat.
The hardest thing for a musician is to command a stage by his or her lonesome. Playing solo can be daunting. Not so for Chick Corea. His good humor, encyclopedia knowledge of music, inspired song choices, virtuoso playing and improvisational genius made the evening an unmitigated success. Photo Credit Christine Connallon
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[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon