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Chick Corea: Originals & Standards

Jim Santella By

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Recorded in November 1999, Chick Corea’s 2-CD solo piano set is a "best of" compilation, selected by the artist, from 10 concerts he performed in Europe and Japan on a whirlwind tour. Packaged separately, the two discs represent what Corea normally achieves in concert: one platter contains the pianist's originals, while the other contains standards by Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others.

With one hand working in triple meter and the other hand simultaneously working in double meter, Corea can always create an underlying sense of drama and tension. Yet, it's always comfortable. The pianist's respected articulation and naked melodic interpretations combine to deliver impressions that last. Corea improvised "April Snow," "The Chase" and "The Falcon" at a performance in Sweden without preconceived ideas and named each selection afterwards. In retrospect, it's easy to see how an audience would interpret high, jumpy, staccato runs over deep, bass plodding as a small dog chasing an elephant. Similarly, his softly cascading phrases depict one scene, while a lurking harmonic menace depicts another. "Swedish Landscape," fully improvised and intended to create scenery for the audience, weaves an eclectic assortment of aural elements into one broadbrush swipe. The pianist's well-known "Spain" was performed as an encore for his Norwegian audience. What a classic piece!

Corea makes any standard easy to recognize. Their instant familiarity is what we like so much about them. Once a melody is announced, he improvises. The pianist is always careful, out of respect for the composer and listener, to emphasize the melody and not stray from it too far. He swings more on the standards and turns each one into a brief history lesson. Monk is Monk. Bud Powell is Bud Powell. Chick Corea is both an interpreter and an innovator. His solo piano magic is always a pleasure and highly recommended.

Track Listing for Originals :Brasilia; Yellow Nimbus; Prelude #4, Opus 11; Prelude #2, Opus 11; Children’s Song #6; Children’s Song #10; Armando’s Rhumba; April Snow; The Chase; The Falcon; Swedish Landscape; Spain; Children’s Song #12.

Track Listing for Standards :Monk’s Dream; But Beautiful; Blue Monk; Ask Me Now; Thinking of You; Yesterdays; Dusk in Sandi; It Could Happen to You; ‘Round Midnight; So In Love; How Deep is the Ocean; Oblivion; Brazil.


Personnel: Chick Corea- piano.

Title: Originals & Standards | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

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