Monday, January 23, 2012

Chick Corea with Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian - Further Explorations (Concord, 2012)

Pianist Chick Corea recorded this homage to the late pianist Bill Evans with former Evans collaborators Eddie Gomez on bass and drummer Paul Motian recorded live in 2010 at the Blue Note in New York City. These recordings are particularly poignant as they are among the last recorded documents of the great drummer Motian who anchored Bill Evans’ sublime trio with Scott LaFaro before embarking on a stellar career as a bandleader. The album contains a number of Evans compositions and as well as songs that are associated with him like the original “Peri’s Scope” and the LaFaro composition “Gloria’s Step.” The group develops the material collectively, whether totally improvised like the exciting “Off the Cuff,” or an excellent extended version of Thelonious Monk’s “Little Rootie Tootie.” Corea’s love of Spanish musical development lays the foundation for “Another Tango,” while bebop is represented with a fast paced version of Tadd Dameron’s “Hot House.” Evans’ own beautiful ballad “Turn Out the Stars” is given a heartfelt reading as well. The diversity of the material and the high level of interaction amongst the musicians drives this album beyond what one might expect from a standard “tribute” album. Gomez acts as a rock-solid pivot point for Corea and Motian to dance around like a may-pole, and the drummer is particularly inspired, adding the hushed mystery of his non-linear percussion. Finally this works well for Corea too, as much of a Evans fan as he may be, his playing style is quite different than the honoree and he brings a different sensibility to the music that is laser focused on spontaneous creativity and works very well. Further Explorations -

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