Chick Corea

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Following the massive live outpouring of music that marked the debut of Corea's band Origin, this studio album begins to fulfill some of the sextet's possibilities; hence, the completely appropriate title. The front line is unchanged from the live albums (Steve Wilson and Bob Sheppard on reeds and flutes, Steve Davis on trombone), Avishai Cohen remains on bass, and Jeff Ballard replaces Adam Cruz on drums. Again, though everyone solos and interacts intelligently and energetically, Corea is still Origin's most distinctive presence, and he reinforces his dominance by being the album's sole composer, save for Cohen's "Lylah." Corea makes his debut on marimba on the leadoff track, "Wigwam," which he plays in an Afro-Cuban-spiced manner (his Spanish tinge on marimba is even more pronounced in live performance). "Armando's Tango" sends the Latin explorations further South, while "Little Flamenco" is a busy, highly syncopated, high-energy outing driven by a simulation of flamenco hand-clapping by Ballard with nice flute work by Wilson. But when "Early Afternoon Blues" harkens back to bedrock hard bop in every respect, straight out of Blue Note, the CD settles pretty much back into the mainstream with a few quirky compositional motifs to pique your interest. The best tune on the CD is the closer, "Awakening," which echoes all the way back to Corea's triumphant RTF album Where Have I Known You Before.

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