Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Chick Corea Akoustic Band - Live (Concord Jazz, 2021)

The first posthumous release from pianist Chick Corea's representatives is a very good two disc album from his Akoustic Band, recorded live at the SPC Music Hall in Florida a few years before his unexpected death. The Akoustic Band featuring John Patitucci on bass and Dave Weckl on drums, had been a long running concern, with the trio having played together for decades and that camaraderie really comes through on this recording as they are able to compliment one another, anticipate each others ideas and react fluently to changing circumstances. The setlist is a generous one, including original compositions and jazz standards played at length with excellent band interplay and considerable solo space. The album opener is "Morning Sprite" which is a fast past and complex performance that really demonstrates the band's ability to both create at high speed and to throttle the tempo spontaneously when necessary. Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood" is a ballad that is played with admirable restraint, developing lush piano, elastic bass and soft drumming. The group touches base with Corea's Spanish roots on "Rhumba Flamenco" combining these two musics, the danceable rhumba and the complex flamenco to an improvised section that becomes more rapid and complicated, building from composite parts to a fine performance. "You and the Night and the Music" starts out with a boiling fast trio improvisation, with all three musicians locked in tight, leading to well articulated bass and drum solos both framed by piano, and finally to a fine bowed bass conclusion. The band really deconstructs Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Mood" taking it apart thoroughly to see how the genius put it together and using the component parts as launching points for an interesting improvised performance all their own. This album worked quite well, clearly proving that thirty years of familiarity in no way bred contempt, but rather an even stronger urge to explore the jazz idiom and search out the mysteries held within. Live - amazon.com

Send comments to Tim.