Chick Corea / Chick Corea Trio


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Arguably (and not many would argue) the greatest living jazz pianist, Chick Corea has had a long and highlight-filled career, beginning with his tenure with the great Miles Davis when Davis was defining the jazz-rock synthesis, through Corea's own breakthrough jazz fusion recordings and his subsequent journeys into everything from the post-bop avant-garde to classical and new age, and his restless and musically inclusive spirit has always shone through. This expansive live release finds Corea working with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade, and the three have an uncanny connection, filling space with gorgeous and subtle phrasings, gliding through all manner of styles with a seemingly effortless elegance, grace, and freshness. The three-disc Trilogy was recorded live at tour stops in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, California, and in Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Turkey, and Japan, by Corea's longtime (since 1975) recording engineer Bernie Kirsh, who has provided the trio with a bright, warm production sound that allows each player's slightest shift and voicing to come through with clear precision. In spite of the various locations, this set has a remarkable sonic coherency. It might be too much to call this set a summation of Corea's legacy, but it does have the slight feel of a retrospective collectio. The band revisits classic Corea compositions like "Spain" and covering several tunes from the Great American Songbook, a couple of Thelonious Monk tunes ("Blue Monk" allows bassist McBride to particularly shine), a previously unissued Corea composition, the half-hour "Piano Sonata: The Moon," where the trio shows its ability to move between scored and improvised sections with breathtaking ease, and even a take on classical Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's "Op. 11, No. 9" that manages to breathe and flow without sounding like a forced fusion of classical and jazz. There are guests on three tracks, flutist Jorge Pardo and guitarist Niño Josele on "My Foolish Heart" and "Spain," and vocalist Gayle Moran Corea, the pianist's wife, on "Someday My Prince Will Come," but it's the three primary musicians who drive everything. Not exactly a holding pattern, and not exactly a career summation, Trilogy will surely please and delight Corea's many fans.

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