Did Chick Corea ever disappoint? Did he ever fail to cast a sense of wonderment and community on any live performance? Did his mischievous hands ever land on a bad note? If so, it seems never happened at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where Corea spun his spell twenty-three times over the years, and certainly not on the fabulously curated The Montreux Years.
Available in a host of configurations, the set blasts off with "Fingerprints" from 2001with Christian McBride and Brian Blade, first heard in all its high def excitement on the Grammy winning Trilogy (Concord, 2013) and sky rockets from there. The gravity defying "Bud Powell" from Remembering Bud Powell (Stretch, 1997) receives a sprightly and hugely spirited work out with Kenny Garrett's clear toned sax riding the waves conjured by Corea, McBride and drummer Roy Haynes.
Spotlighting the breadth and reach of Corea the intuitive and emphatic composer, The Montreux Years then serves up "Quartet No. 2 (Part I)," a true piece of harmonic push and pull that the Akoustic Band, namely John Patitucci and Dave Weckl, magically work into a jazz/classical mash up. Corea, ever the imp, messes with the 2004 Montreux crowd with "Interlude" and gives the 2001 audience a deeply heartfelt rendering of "Dignity" from Past, Present & Future (Stretch, 2001). From a performance in 2006 with the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, the rapturous suite "America (Continents Pt 4)" is a marvel. As a testament to his unselfish brilliance The Montreux Years cannot be matched.
Fingerprints (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 2001); Bud Powell (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 2010); Quartet No. 2 (Pt.
1)(Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 1988); Interlude (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 2004); Who’s Inside the Piano (Live –
Montreux Jazz Festival 1993); Dignity (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 2001); America (Continents Pt. 4) (Live –
Montreux Jazz Festival 2006); New Waltz (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 1993); Trinkle Tinkle (Live – Montreux Jazz
Festival 1981) (Vinyl edition only).
Christian McBride: bass (1,2, 6); Brian Blade: drums (1,6); Roy Haynes: drums (2,8); Kenny Garrett: saxophone (2);
John Patitucci: bass (3, 4, 5, 8); Dave Weckl: drums (3, 4); Frank Gambale: guitar (4); Eddie Marienthal: saxophone
(4); Gary Peacock: bass (8); Joe Henderson: saxophone (8).
Bob Berg: saxophone (5,8); Gary Novak: drums (5,8); The Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra (7).
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