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Chick Corea & Gary Burton: Native Sense: The New Duets

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recorded acoustic duet albums three times in the past, in 1972, 1978, and 1979, on the German ECM label. Now, nearly twenty years later and once again recording for the same label (Corea's Stretch Records), they're together again. It's wonderful to hear that, despite the many different paths they have travelled on their respective musical journeys, they still have that special chemistry and they have, if anything, grown more musically compatible as they've matured.

This is a wonderful piece of work. The interplay is amazing to behold. There's some very musically complex compositions here (almost all by Corea, and it's some of his best work), and the pair performs them flawlessly. And what makes their solos so engaging is not just the vituosity of the player in the spotlight, but the thoughtful, effective comping by the supporting player.

One thing that makes this CD a special treat for me is the choice of material. "Love Castle" and "No Mystery" are two of my very favorite Corea compositions. These and other repertoire gems "Duende" and "Armando's Rhumba" were, to quote Corea's liner notes, "written and recorded by myself with other groups but never performed very much afterwards." And while they were originally written for other instrumental configurations, they work splendidly for piano and vibes. There are three brand new compositions and works by Bela Bartok and Thelonious Monk to round out the program.


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