Chick Corea

The Definitive Chick Corea on Stretch and Concord

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This two-disc, 21-track collection covering Chick Corea's recordings over 30 years offers a dazzling array of settings and styles, originals and standards. It begins with the electrifying title track from 1979's Tap Step -- which featured the late Joe Farrell -- in a fusion quintet, continues through his "Bud Powell" composition with then-young lions Wallace Roney, Kenny Garrett, and Christian McBride (along with the timeless veteran Roy Haynes) in 1989, through to his beautiful solo rendition of "Spain" in 1999, all on disc one. Corea dazzles technically and is always in stellar company, from younger players like those mentioned above or younger still (Avishai Cohen) to contemporaries (Gary Burton and Michael Brecker), to mentors (Lee Konitz). While Corea does play Fender Rhodes and synthesizers on that first cut, the rest of this first disc features his acoustic piano. Disc two is more varied; balanced between Rhodes and acoustic piano. It begins in 2003 with the now familiar "Blue Monk" rendered by Corea and vocalist Bobby McFerrin, and moves through his New Trio period with John Patitucci and Dave Weckl, and into the Elektric Band with those players, Frank Gambale, and Eric Marienthal, with "Johnny's Landing" off 2004's To the Stars. There's a reunion with Airto on the quintet cut "North Africa" from The Ultimate Adventure, and a beautiful version of "Fool on the Hill" with Japanese piano sensation Hiromi. There's another pair of of duets, too: "Señorita" with Béla Fleck from The Enchantment, and a live version of "Crystal Silence" with Burton backed by an orchestra. Disc two closes with a balance of the old and the new. First, there's the crunchy rocking fusion of "The Disguise" from Five Peace Band: Live, which features Garrett, McBride, Vinnie Colaiuta, and guitarist John McLaughlin, followed by an unreleased live acoustic version of "La Fiesta" with Lenny White and Stanley Clarke from the Return to Forever "unplugged" tour, which was left off 2011's Forever. Although Corea's work has been compiled in various ways before this focused set was released, The Definitive Chick Corea, produced by the man himself, offers a look at how he views his own work over three decades.

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