366

Chick Corea: Origin

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
In the early Seventies, Chick Corea played in Circle with Anthony Braxton, Dave Holland and Barry Altschul. Braxton, of course, was moving fast toward musical experimentation; Corea, in the grip of Scientology, wanted to go in a more commercial direction. Twenty-five years later, Braxton is a grand old man of the avant-garde, and Chick Corea is a very rich man. But on this disc Corea puts aside the electric keyboards and pop / funk stuff for a sharp jazz set at the Blue Note that hints, here and there, of the pianist's adventurous past. In the liner notes, he says that he wrote several tracks years ago, but they never had a "performance home" until now. So Origin may indeed refer to Corea looking back to his wild youth.

On the opening "Say It Again," trombonist Steve Davis and two reedmen, Bob Sheppard and Steve Wilson, go all over the place before the piano man brings them together. Wilson's alto solos are not as crisp or mercurial as Braxton's, but he dances on the edge in "Double Image." Davis doesn't sound as razor-sharp as J. J. Johnson or his ilk – he brings Grachan Moncur III to mind – but he contributes some heat of his own, and Sheppard is unafraid to venture into multiphonics (after scorching the changes) on tenor. According to Corea, "Double Image" sometimes lasts the whole set (it is only seventeen and a half minutes long on this disc), and it is a rouser. Everyone solos: Avishai Cohen on bass, strumming guitarishly, Adam Cruz on drums, and Corea, dreamily.

Corea pops into "Dreamless" as if he's still on those keyboards, a vibe-like hint in his playing. The ensemble is tight, but the harmonies are again piquant. Sheppard on bass clarinet consistently draws the listener’s ear. Wilson is on a fluent soprano here. "Molecules" begins with another unaccompanied Corea introduction. His playing is as masterful as ever, but he deserves special mention for this arrangement, which tips the hat to Ellington with a skillful deployment of the kind of parts-writing Duke made look easy. And again, that bass clarinet stays in your mind.

Rounding out the disc are the pretty waltz "Soul Mates" and an arrangement of Burke and Van Heusen's "It Could Happen to You." It could happen that Chick Corea could lapse back into pallid pop writing, but this is a genuinely surprising, brilliantly played, and consistently rewarding disc.


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano" CD/LP/Track Review EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano
by Doug Collette
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "ScratchBop" CD/LP/Track Review ScratchBop
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Carolina" CD/LP/Track Review Carolina
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "The Whole World Must Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Whole World Must Change
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Blue Monday" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Monday
by James Nadal
Published: March 20, 2016
Read "Bye" CD/LP/Track Review Bye
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!

Buy it!