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Who would have thought that Chick Corea's latest musical explorations would lead to the origins of an exceptional group of musicians recording jointly and individually and influencing even more musicians along the way? In actuality, many of the Origin musicians started in bassist Avishai Cohen's group, which invokes multi-cultural muses; wisely, Corea scooped them up in a synthesis of concepts.
Incrementally, the first and the successive musicians of the sextet have gone on to further their careers under the auspices of Corea's Stretch label. In case anyone hasn't been paying attention, the members of Origin have spread their wings to develop distinctive statements that no doubt had remained unexpressed until the Stretch opportunity presented itself.
Originations: The Music Of Chick Corea & Origin solidifies the scattered perception of the musicians' common interest in ground-breaking music that combines jazz and uncommon outside influences such as Sephardic songs or Afro-Caribbean percussion. While all but one of the tracks on this CD have been recorded and marketed within the past two years, the bringing back together of the musicians' individual statements allows a comparison of their outside-of-Origin work to their performances within the group of "Wigwam" and "Psalm."
For example, Steve Davis' choice of "I'm Old Fashioned," flowing over Steve Nelson's vibe work, may not be a choice of Origin, but it reinforces Davis' interest in communicating with an audience through the attractiveness of his sound, akin to that of his mentor, Curtis Fuller. In contrast, the adjacent Steve Wilson track, "Roots & Herbs," unselfishly gives space to percussionist Adam Cruz on steel pans in an impressionistic depiction of Caribbean witchcraft. Cohen's metrical experimentation and incorporation of unconventional instrumentation finds fulfillment in his tune, "Madrid," as oud player Amos Hoffman flavors the tune with references to the country's Moorish, rather than flamenco, culture. The first Origin tune on the CD, "Wigwam," is distinguished by the fact the Corea sets it up on marimba, emphasizing the percolating rhythm of the piece.
There seem to be one omission from Originations: The Music Of Chick Corea & Origin: Jimmy Greene, who unfortunately signed with RCA. Pianist extraordinaire Jason Lindner's stunning debut on the Stretch CD Premonition would have been a worth additional as well. While Lindner, of course, isn't a member of Origin, his debt to the group, and to Corea, remains.
Originations: The Music Of Chick Corea & Origin provides the opportunity to catch up on the where the members of Origin have gone since they joined the group, and it gives hints of where they will go in the future.
Track Listing: Wigwam; I B 4 U; Turnin' The Corner; Shadows; Made By Walking; Beat Street; Madrid; Roots & Herb; I'm Old Fashioned; Flicks; Psalm
Personnel: Chick Corea, piano, marimba; Jeff Ballard, drums; Avishai Cohen, bass; Steve Davis, trombone; Tim Garland, saxophones & flute; Steve Wilson, saxophones & alto flute; Jimmy Greene, soprano saxophone; Bob Sheppard, Mark Turner, tenor saxophone; Nicholas Payton, trumpet; Gerard Presencer, flugelhorn & trumpet; Avi Lebovich, trombone; Bruce Barth, Brad Mehldau, David Hazeltine, Geoff Keezer, Jason Lindner, piano; Steve Nelson, vibes; Joe Locke, vibes & marimba; Amos Hoffman, guitar & oud; Lary Grenadier, Ed Howard, Nat Reeves, bass; Adam Cruz, Joe Farnsworth, Jorge Rossy, drums
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.