Recording live at New York's Blue Note club, Chick Corea unveiled another new group, the challenging Origin acoustic sextet, on this CD, winnowing down some 12 sets into an hour-plus package. With Steve Davis (trombone) and Bob Sheppard and Steve Wilson (flutes and reeds) up front, Corea had a flexible horn choir to write for, and he uses mellow, urbane voicings that recall some of the Herbie Hancock Sextet's early work in the late '60s. The interplay that Avishai Cohen (bass), Adam Cruz (drums), and Corea have with the horns, though, is anything but mellow, and frequently they strike combative sparks against each other. Some of the selections, including "Double Image" (no relation to Joe Zawinul's electric jazz classic) and "Dreamless," have Latin-ish grooves – which are no strangers to Corea's Spanish heart – in spots.
Aside from being legendary multiple Grammy-winning jazzmen on very different instruments, Chick Corea (piano) and Béla Fleck (the world's premier jazz banjo master) have a shared love for collaboration and the infinite improvisational possibilities their chosen idiom offers them. In some ways, the two have been preparing for this masterful, musical dialogue-driven masterpiece for over ten years. Fleck, who has always credited Corea as being one of his chief influences, invited the pianist to play on the Flecktones' Tales from the Acoustic Planet, as well as the group's live CD Live Art. Some years later, in 2001, Corea found a spot for Fleck on his Rendezvous in New York DVD. Later, they toured as a duo, making the unique recording of The Enchantment an inevitable artistic extension of their on-stage chemistry.
The second album of Elektric Band, "Light Years" is more funk-oriented than its predecessor. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal joins the band and Frank Gambale replaces Henderson and Rios (who plays still on some tracks) to form what is considered the band's definitive lineup.
This may not be the ultimate Chick Corea collection, but fans aren't likely to find a better one on video anytime soon. A near-complete portrait of the legendary pianist's non-fusion career is captured on the 10-DVD Rendezvous In New York boxed set, featuring performances from his three-week run of reunion concerts at the New York's Blue Note in 2003 to celebrate his 60th birthday. Those craving more after hearing the Grammy-nominated double-CD released that year under the same name will find the extended material equally satisfying. It also stands commendably on its own as a showcase for some of the most talented musicians from the past 25 years including Bobby McFerrin, Roy Haynes, Gary Burton, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Michael Brecker, Steve Gadd and John Patitucci.
The jazz legend Chick Corea and world-renowned Italian guitarist Flavio Cucchi have known each other since the late 1980s. This recording features Corea’s only work written expressly for the guitar, ‘Six Ruminations,’ heard in a new version by Cucchi, as well as Cucchi’s arrangement for two guitars of the magical, haiku-like ’12 Children’s Songs.’ The album continues with Alfonso Borghese’s charming ‘Habanera d’Autunno,’ the famous Egberto Gismonti piece, ‘Agua e vinho,’ Giulio Clementi’s evocation of bygone dance hall days and the folk-infused ‘English Suite’ by John Duarte. Flavio Cucchi has given hundreds of recitals all over the world and participated in radio and TV broadcasts for the BBC, RAI, ZDF, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and Radio Prague, among others. Many composers have dedicated works to him, and he has held masterclasses all over the globe.
2006 seems to be a significant year for jazz's elder states persons. Pianist Andrew Hill has seen a year full of recordings: new music, reissues and previously unreleased material, as well as an outstanding tribute by guitarist Nels Cline. Chick Corea, who's a few years younger than Hill, has released a new record and toured with trios focusing on his back catalog. Super Trio (Stretch, 2006) documented a tour where the pianist was clearly in control of the arrangements; however, Live in Molde is an entirely different affair.