Chick Corea's Akoustic Band / Chick Corea

Chick Corea Akoustic Band

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After recording a string of fusion records in the late '80s with his Elektric Band, Chick Corea returned to acoustic jazz with this trio date. Enlisting Elektric Band sidemen John Patitucci and Dave Weckl, Corea swings through ten tracks with noticeably mixed results. The leader is as romantic as ever, playing with bravado even on ballads, flawlessly executing complicated ideas, reveling in drama and melodrama. Patitucci's upright playing clearly betrays his electric pedigree; listen quickly to his solo on "So in Love" and you might mistake it for a Jaco Pastorius spot. Weckl has been accused of being a soulless technician serving questionable music in the past, and those who are predisposed against him will find nothing here to change their minds. On the Corea-penned compositions, the band sounds tight and fresh, but on the standards, they sound out of place. The band's reading of "Sophisticated Lady," for example, is busy and confused, but once they get their hands on Corea's own "Morning Sprite," the resulting joyful romp is pure pleasure. An unremarkable performance of "Autumn Leaves" is balanced by a great new take on Corea's classic "Spain," where Weckl and Patitucci tear through the song with panache as Corea solos gleefully on top. This band seems made for one thing: to play Chick Corea originals -- and in any situation other than that they sound awkward. If this album is an attempt to take the standard piano trio and apply a fusion-informed, Corea-style attitude toward familiar material, it is an interesting experiment. In the end, however, it still does not work as well as some of Corea's other efforts, but you can't blame him or his bandmates for trying. A pleasant, though by no means essential, entry in Corea's discography.

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