A Week at the Blue Note

Chick Corea / Chick Corea & Origin

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A Week at the Blue Note Review

by Scott Yanow

During an engagement at the Blue Note in New York, pianist Chick Corea had an opportunity to stretch out with his new group, Origin, a sextet also including Steve Wilson on alto, soprano, flute and clarinet, Bob Sheppard on tenor, bass clarinet, flute and soprano, trombonist Steve Davis, bassist Avishai Cohen, and drummer Adam Cruz. A single disc was released by Stretch late in 1998. This six-CD set has all of the other music recorded on January 1, 3 and 4, 1998 during a total of six sets. Although most of the songs are repeated along the way, none of this music duplicates the single CD. Origin is one of the strongest groups that Corea has ever had, a no-nonsense acoustic jazz sextet which, due to some inventive frameworks and very high creativity, really inspires the pianist to play at his best. On the extended program, there are five versions of Corea's brief theme ("Say It Again (Parts 1 & 2)"), three apiece of Corea's originals "Double Image," "Hand Me Down," and "Matrix" (a complex but swinging blues), two versions of "Molecules" and "Sifu," and one of "Soul Mates" and "Dreamless." In addition, the group reinvents "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" three times, investigates "Bird Feathers" and "Tempus Fugit" twice, and digs into "It Could Happen to You," "Four," and three Thelonious Monk songs ("Blue Monk," "Straight No Chaser" and "Four in One") once apiece. Despite the repetition, the quality of the performances is so consistently high that true Chick Corea fans will have to get this limited-edition set. Certainly an unusual way to launch a new group!

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