A year after the 1978 Chick Corea/Herbie Hancock duo tour was documented on a two-LP Columbia album, An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, Corea's label, Polydor, issued its own two-LP collection of extracts from the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Ann Arbor concerts. With both artists still selling lots of electric records then, it was feasible to do so -- and the two double sets served as massive ripostes to those who accused the two pianists of abandoning jazz per se in favor of filthy electronic lucre. Fortunately, there was enough worthwhile, often brilliant material on the tapes for both albums, with only one duplication of repertoire. The sole repeated item, the medley of Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" and Corea's "La Fiesta," differs noticeably from the version on the Columbia album. For one thing, it clocks in seven and a half minutes shorter at 27 and a half minutes. For another, "Maiden Voyage" is developed more elaborately and "La Fiesta" incorporates more touches from the avant-garde and generates a little more heat. Indeed, the Polydor album seems to have been programmed with more of a classical bent than its companion. Corea's "Homecoming" comes off like a big, progressive 20th century classical composition, broken up in the center with humorous fury that is followed by a section for prepared piano à la John Cage. "The Hook" develops the prepared piano ideas even further, with plunkings and buzzing strings galore. And as if the point wasn't clear by now, Corea and Hancock hammer out a pretty good rendition of the brittle ostinato movement from Bartók's Mikrokosmos, which doesn't sound at all out of place with the rest of the program. As on the Columbia album, side three is a solo side, this time with Corea offering his lovely, Spanish-flavored "Bouquet." Overall, the Polydor album is more stimulating than its Columbia cousin.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell
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