In his restless and adventurous sixty year career, Chick Corea
has presented his music in a myriad of assemblages, from sideman to leader, solo, duo, quartet, quintet, fusion, traditional, classical, flamenco, world music, etc. And bless him for it. But if truth be told, perhaps the time tested piano trio is the truest representation of his creative trajectory and imaginings.
Even a nickel tour through his discography reveals deep riches. From 1968, with Roy Haynes
and Miroslav Vitous
at A&R Studios in New York we hear Now He Sings, Now He Sobs
(Blue Note Records), with Corea's ebullient, searching clusters and runs at all times tying jazz's past to its then unknown future. In 1971, accompanied by Dave Holland
and Barry Altschul
that future begins to coalesce freely on The Song of Singing
(Blue Note). 1984's reunion of Haynes and Vitous, Trio Music, Live In Europe
(ECM Records) never fails to astound for its buoyancy and virtuoso performances from all three members.
Tightly artful fires fuel Corea, bassist Avishai Cohen
and drummer Jeff Ballard
on Past, Present & Futures
(Stretch Records, 2001). Released only in Japan on Stretch Records in 2008, Super Trio
finds the pianist revisiting many past glories ("Matrix," "Humpty Dumpty," "Spain") alongside Christian McBride
and Steve Gadd
. In 2014 the blazing, two Grammy Award winning 3 disc Trilogy
employs McBride once more accompanied by Brian Blade
, leaving fans of all three musicians wanting more. Which brings us joyfully to Trilogy 2
Let's leave it to greater minds to fathom why we had to wait three years to be enraptured by this 2016 reunion, but here it is so listen closely because Trilogy 2
takes off right after Corea introduces his genius partners to an expectant Bologna audience with a lively reprise from Trilogy
of "How Deep Is the Ocean?" McBride sets the tone with a remarkably conversant performance. Blade explores Corea's Return to Forever
milestone "500 Miles" with a tensile, vigorous energy that Airto Moreira
couldn't give it due to the fusion constraints of the time of the original recording. Corea then takes the effervescently playful lead on two favored Thelonious Monk
eccentricities, "Crepuscule with Nellie" and the knotty "Work." "La Fiesta" as ever, is never a let down as the trio takes it on like they're playing it for their first, fervent time.
Disc 2 keeps the energy brisk and high as Corea introduces Steve Swallow
's "Eiderdown." McBride dances the tune along with an intuitive lightness few bassists can lay claim to. Anyone reading this can't possibly recall how many readings of "All Blues" they've heard in their lifetime, but here it is heard refreshed and sweepingly refurbished. Unbelievably, "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs" gets its first live airing since '68. At just over sixteen minutes, the rhythm section digs in, daring Corea to let fly the ideas. The track sizzles and sparks with host of inventive turns and solos. Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" gets a a gloriously funky rhythm rework while Corea holds the light romanticism of the original. Though we wouldn't want to lock any of these thee masters to one form, here's hoping we needn't wait another several years for Trilogy 3.