235

Corea, Clark & White: Forever

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Corea, Clark & White: Forever This Concord Music Group release is identical to that reviewed by John Kelman, previously released on Universal Music Japan. A two-CD set, the first disc is an acoustic piano trio recital from the original rhythm section of the 1970s fusion band Return to Forever, recorded during the 2009 RTF-Unplugged Tour, while the second is an electric survey with RTF's first guitarist, Bill Connors, along with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and vocalist Chaka Khan, taken from rehearsals for a one- time performance at the Hollywood Bowl.

With the demographics out of the way, an acoustic trio made up of RTF's fine rhythm Section, performing mostly jazz standards, might at first seem to be a bit of a novelty. Not so. While the trio never toured as such before these recordings were made, its nearly 40-year history fully prepared the group for a look back at the Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Miles Davis songbooks; as well as drawing from the members and RTF's repertoire.

Trio recordings like this clearly define the division between "simply exceptional" and "without peer." It is difficult to find a truly bad jazz trio recorded—canned, as typically they are, long before the capital investment. While there is a mountain of really fine music available—very serviceable and quite enjoyable—here is little trio music that is as rarefied as that found on Forever. All three musicians so command their instruments that they exist on a performance plane defying supportive/lead roles, in favor of absolute equality, like Jimmy Giuffre's trios of the early 1960s.

Lengthy readings of "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Waltz for Debbie" warm things up enough for Chick Corea's well-known "Bud Powell," before introducing Stanley Clarke's "La Canción de Sofia," a piece that showcases the obvious empathy between the pianist and bassist, who both play with a rare touch and grace. Clarke divides his solo time between arco and pizzicato playing, his transitions guided by Corea's shifting ruminations. His melodic pizz solo is a study in superb bass playing, predicated on idea development and an bottomless loam of experience.

The RTF pieces, "Senor Mouse" and "No Mystery" translate seamlessly into the acoustic trio format. The trio plays as a spiritually conjoined unit, punctuated with Corea's left hand. These are sublime acoustic renderings of fusion classics.

Disc two's electric music is revelatory; it could be a primer to fully developed fusion, more informative than even rival Weather Report, whose collective virtuosity is typically too radioactive for immediate consumption and assimilation. For those frightened by the specter of fusion, this is the introduction that leads back to the gritty Miles Davis source. Corea's electric piano potently recalls that wild 1970s Davis sextet that hosted Corea, resulting in Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time (Columbia, 2001).

Track Listing: CD1: On Green Dolphin Street; Waltz for Debby; Bud Powell; La Canción de Sofia; Windows; Hackensack; No Mystery; Señor Mouse. CD2: Captain Marvel; Señor Mouse; Crescent; Armando's Rhumba; Renaissance; High Wire--The Aerialist; I Loves You Porgy; After the Cosmic Rain; Space Circus; 500 Miles High.

Personnel: Chick Corea: piano (CD1, CD2#3-7, CD2#10), keyboards (CD2#1-2, CD2#8-9); Stanley Clarke: acoustic bass (CD1, CD2#1, CD2#4-7, CD2#10), electric bass (CD2#2, CD2#8-9); Lenny White: drums (CD1, CD2#1-3, CDF2#5-10); Bill Connors: guitar (CD2#2, CD2#7-9); Jean-Luc Ponty: violin (CD2#4-5, CD2#7-9); Chaka Khan: vocals (CD2#6-7).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "It Will Come" CD/LP/Track Review It Will Come
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Jazz Marathon 2" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Marathon 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left
by John Sharpe
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Live at PafA" CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 17, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!