Archive for the Chick COREA Category

Jam Miami – A Celebration Of Latin Jazz 2000

Posted in Arturo SANDOVAL, Chick COREA, Jam Miami, JAZZ on December 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Jam Miami – A Celebration Of Latin Jazz 2000
Arturo Sandoval, Chick Corea, Poncho Sanchez & Pete Escovedo


This album is something really special- these artists play together like they were brothers, and in a way, they are. They dedicate the music to Tito Puente (who was very ill at the time of the concert). They music is entirely soulful and heartfelt. Everyone plays “Tunisia,” but this version is really something to behold. Chick’s playing on Sandoval’s “Mis Abuelos” is perfectly mathed with Sandoval’s horn. Claudio Roditi explodes with vitality, Poncho Sanchez is ON. This concert album is recorded with studio quality. If you like any of these cats, this album is definite.
As if to remind anyone who’s forgotten his roots, Chick Corea re-connects here with his past, when he was pianist for Willie Bobo and Cal Tjader in the 1960s, and a catalyst for Brazilian fusion in the 1970s. Playing a Fender Rhodes piano throughout this 10-song live session, Corea reminds one more of Latin jazz master Clare Fischer than the adventurous soloist who always keeps his music on the edge. With Arturo Sandoval on Mongo Santamaria’s “Beseme Mama,” Corea recalls his days with Return to Forever.
The disc opens with all the pots boiling on “Soul Sauce” and “A Night in Tunisia,” two standards by Dizzy Gillespie, the godfather of Latin jazz. Corea, Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez, and former Spyro Gyra vibes player David Samuels are all featured with fiery solos, with Sandoval trading high-flying riffs with fellow trumpeter Claudio Roditi on the latter tune. A tribute to Tito Puente, who was originally a part of this jam before falling ill, Jam Miami features two former members of his group, flutist Dave Valentin and trumpeter Ray Vega, as well as Escovedo, who, with Puente’s death, may be the leading timbalero in Latin jazz. The theme from “I Love Lucy” and Corea’s own “Wigwam,” featuring members of his band Origin, are among the sparkling highlights of these long, solo-rich numbers. And smoke from the smoldering percussion riffs probably will linger in the South Florida night for ages.
By Mark A. Ruffin.
“I just want to celebrate” is the theme of Jam Miami: A Celebration of Latin Jazz, recorded “live” in Miami, FL, by legendary jazz masters Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Pete Escovedo, and Poncho Sanchez. The heat and energy emanating from this incredible concert, one that has been dedicated to their friend and mentor Tito Puente, is preserved in an excellent collection of ten songs that feature an array of stellar arrangers, composers, and musicians. Ray Vega, Steve Turre, Avishai Cohen, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentin, Ed Calle, Nestor Torres, Oscar D’Leon, Horacio Hernandez, Claudio Roditi, Hilton Ruiz, Origin, and the Latin Jazz All-Star Band are having the time of their lives and really do jam on this one. Opening with the Latin soul hit “Guachi Guaro,” this great collective introduces their stylistic diversity in a blaze of Sandoval trumpet glory that defies the conventional range of the instrument. Their spirits continue to soar with Dave Valentin blowing awesome flute trills in his solos on Ray Vega’s arrangement of “Medley Para Tito.” Vega’s heartfelt salute featuring “Ran Kan Kan” and “Oye Como Va” is a definite jam, and from the sound of the cheers coming from the audience, the spirit of the recently departed Tito Puente must have filled the room. “Wigwam,” the Grammy-nominated song by Chick Corea, features Origin at the core of its big-band arrangement. This expanded version offers listeners an exceptional opportunity to hear great improvisations and solos by the quintet backed by an exciting big-band format. Poncho Sanchez’s conga mastery is historic on “Poncho Con Su Tambor,” and for two minutes, he unloads his percussive thunder on this solo triumph. “A Mis Abuelos,” a ten-minute masterpiece written by Arturo Sandoval, features his brilliant trumpet and flügelhorn playing surrounded by a dramatic display of Spanish beauty, spirituality, and fire. Horacio Hernandez on drums, Leo Quintero on guitar, and Chick Corea on Fender Rhodes are blazing against a backdrop of blaring horn charts that will send good chills down your spine. They end the set with a fiery jam of Desi Arnaz’s, “Theme From I Love Lucy.” This CD contains one great show that celebrates the innovative music of a multi-generational Latin jazz “family” and together they capture the ambience and heritage of many phenomenal Latin jazz experiences.
By Paula Edelstein. AMG.
Oscar D’Leon- (Vocals);
Ed Calle- (Tenor Sax);
Arturo Sandoval- (Trumpet, Flugelhorn);
Claudio Roditi, Ray Vega- (Trumpet);
Steve Turre- (Trombone, Conch Shells);
Nestor Torres, Dave Valentin- (Flute);
Dave Samuels- (Vibraphone);
Hilton Ruiz- (Piano);
Chick Corea- (Fender Rhodes Piano);
Horacio Hernandez- (Drums, Percussion);
Poncho Sanchez- (Congas);
Pete Escovedo- (Timbales).
Steve Wilson- (Alto Sax);
Tim Garland- (Tenor Sax);
Steve Davis- (Trombone);
Avishai Cohen- (Bass);
Jeff Ballard- (Drums, Percussion).
01. Guachi Guaro (Soul Sauce) 6:37
02. Night in Tunisia, A 7:08
03. Medley Para Tito: Ran Kan Kan / Oye Como Va 8:29
04. Ican 7:07
05. Wigwam 8:45
06. Ven Morena 7:38
07. Poncho con su Tambor 2:01
08. Besame Mama 5:31
09. A Mis Abuelos  10:51
10. Theme From I Love Lucy 7:04

Continue reading


Chick COREA & Hiromi UEHARA – Duet Chick & Hiromi 2007

Posted in Chick COREA, Hiromi UEHARA, JAZZ on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Chick COREA & Hiromi UEHARA – Duet Chick & Hiromi 2007


Chick Corea is not only a highly imaginative and prolific recording artist, but the world-renowned pianist also loves to walk the tight wire without a net. His latest project of jazz daring-so is Duet, a two-CD live performance with up-and-coming pianist Hiromi, recorded live in 2007 at the Blue Note in Tokyo.

Duet is a masterwork of remarkable pianists of two different generations and cultures who transcend all boundaries to converse with each other with an exuberance and passion. The first CD features an original by each pianist (Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty” treated to a new rowdy rendering of skips, scrambles and nimble tumbles, and Hiromi’s “Déja Vu” brought to a higher tier with the duo imagining new twists and turns) as well as four covers, including tunes by Bill Evans (“Very Early”), Thelonious Monk (“Bolivar Blues”), Antonio Carlos Jobim (“How Insensitive”) and Lennon-McCartney (“Fool on the Hill”). On CD No. 2, each pianist brings to the set two originals (Corea: “Windows” and “Do Mo: Children’s Song #12”; Hiromi Uehara: “Place to Be” and “Old Castle”). They also cover “Summertime” with a reharmonized beauty and adventurously meld Joaquin Vidre Rodrigo’s classic “Concierto de Aranjuez” with one of Corea’s best-known tunes, “Spain.” The performance is so exhilaratingly rhythmic that the crowd claps in glee while the two pianists captivate on the keys. The music features pockets of spiraling dance and torrid zigzagging as well as teems with gentle lyricism and sublime wonderment. It’s no wonder that Duet, originally released in Japan in 2007 on Universal, became the top-selling jazz album of the year there. It also marked for Corea his first acoustic-piano duo performance since he and Herbie Hancock recorded their classic In Concert 1978 album live at Tokyo’s Budokan.

Because Duet soared in popularity, Corea and Hiromi decided to meet again—this time not in the intimate confines of a club, but at the outdoor Budokan stadium. Writing on his website, Corea said, “It was wild to see 5,500 people in attendance for the piano duet with Hiromi, the brilliant, young Japanese pianist and composer. Our three days at the Tokyo Blue Note became the double CD…and the interest [in it] seemed to warrant a try at a larger audience.” Corea continued: “I wasn’t sure how an audience that large in a venue that sprawling would receive our duet, which was conceived as an intimacy, largely improvised and for a jazz-wise public. Well, what a surprise when the audience calmly and appreciatively took in the almost two-hour concert with great interest and standing-ovation approval. I was so happy to see that this could happen in this day and age, and then thought, ‘Well, the Japanese have such an artistic culture.’”
Combined with his abilities as a soloist, Chick Corea’s uncanny accompanist’s instinct for supporting and focusing the spotlight on another player’s efforts has produced celebrated duets with everyone from Gary Burton and Herbie Hancock to John McLaughlin and Bela Fleck. With Hiromi Uehara he has done it again.

Duet captures the two pianists in an engagement at Tokyo’s Blue Note club in September of 2007, and finds them repeatedly achieving ecstatic heights of ingenuity and inventiveness. At first blush the opening tracks might feel too quiet as an introduction to the Sturm und Drang of this dynamic pairing, but if the anticipated energy, the bounding, rampaging, red-eyed thunder-and-lightning this partnership promises to deliver is not immediately evident as the first of two discs opens with Bill Evans’ “Very Early” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “How Insensitive,” don’t touch that dial…

Once these two get their hands warm on “Déjà Vu,” the first of Hiromi’s contributed compositions, they ignite things with a respectfully deconstructed version of “Fool on the Hill” that hews neatly to the lilting Lennon/McCartney melody line and harmonies right up until the closing three bars, when Corea unexpectedly plucks a few portentous notes inside the piano. The cubist conflagration long-time Corea fans perennially yearn for then flares dramatically on a joyful, abstracted version of his enduring “Humpty Dumpty,” ending with his throwing down fistfuls of Cecil Taylor-esque tennis-ball chords, and his protégé enthusiastically throwing them right back. When he next engages Hiromi in some gravity-defying rhythmning on Thelonious Monk’s “Bolivar Blues,” the first disc’s final track, it is plain she’s in a mood to play.

A meandering “Windows” opens the second disc, but then it’s off again on a stunning steeplechase of a composition, Hiromi’s “Old Castle, by the River, in the Middle of a Forest,” featuring some vintage unison dressage. By the time the last notes are sounded they are both energized and ready for a quirkily non-traditional distillation of “Summertime,” using the Gershwin standard to continue widening the degree of abstraction as they travel through a sublimely ordered track sequence (a good argument in favor of albums, and against selective MP3 downloads). Musically, the end of “Summertime” dovetails into Hiromi’s evanescent “Place to Be,” which manages to slow the heart rate a few more beats per second before the disc concludes with a free-playing romp on Corea’s “Children’s Song #12,” re-titled “Do Mo,” and finally, an off-kilter rendition of “Concierto de Aranjuez/Spain” to provide an insouciantly perfect coda.
Every once in a while, a CD comes across my desk that I dig, and I just can’t put into words why. (I like to believe that it’s more about some mystical quality of the music and less about vocabulary limitations.) Chick Corea and Hiromi’s Duet is one such CD. Recorded by two masterful, rather flexible jazz pianists, it’s somewhat of an old guard meets new guard. Chick Corea, of course, has been around since the late 60s and has had a hand in the development of several jazz genres and helped bring electric pianos and synthesizers into the jazz mainstream. I’d never heard of Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara until hearing this duet album, but this and videos of her various solo compositions have definitely caught my attention.

Part of the issue with phrasing my opinion of the CD is: how can you write about something like two pianists in a live setting bouncing off of each other? Unlike Corea’s 2007 duet with Bela Fleck, The Enchantment, this double-album was recorded live at the Tokyo Blue Note. In a studio jazz setting, even if all of the takes are recorded with all instruments at once, it’s still possible to pick the best take for an album; in the live setting, there’s no way to bring it back, and there’s also a lot more energy from the crowd and from the musicians playing off each other.

With that in mind, and comparing it to the difference between The Enchantment and Corea and Fleck’s live performance, Duet is relatively restrained. The pieces go on for long times–the shortest piece, “The Fool on the Hill,” clocks in at just under 7 minutes, and the longest is barely shy of 15–but in there are very few places that feel self-indulgent. The end of “Humpty-Dumpty,” for instance, has a section which is basically a flurry of notes from both pianists with little semblance of harmonic structure, and on “Summertime,” the melody is only followed closely enough to remind the listener what the song is. There are a few songs which are attention-grabbing, such as “The Fool on the Hill” with a percussive groove (my first reaction was “pianos can make a sound like that?”), or the funky “Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are (Bolivar Blues).”

Put simply, this is an excellent piano jazz CD. The two show run the gamut from majestic flowing chords as can only be played on piano to saloon blues plinking, and all points between. If you’re a fan of either pianist, pick it up, and if you’re like me and had never heard of Hiromi before, make sure to check out some of her solo works as well.
By Dan Upton.
Cd 1
01. Very Early 9:13
02. How Insensitive 7:37
03. Déja Vu 9:01
04. Fool on the Hill 6:47
05. Humpty Dumpty 7:50
06. Bolivar Blues 8:46

Cd 2
01. Windows 7:45
02. Old Castle 14:57
03. Summertime 8:50
04. Place To Be 8:12
05. Do Mo -Children’s Song #12 13:02
06. Concierto de Aranjuez/Spain 12:12

Continue reading