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IN TUNE: Chick Corea returns to form

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

MUSIC REVIEW : We were on our way in to the Chick Corea show at the Blue Note when a woman in the parking lot began scatting. A man sang back to her, and the two clearly enjoyed the back-and-forth.

I am not a jazz head by any stretch. So if you’re looking for  critical deconstruction, you missed your stop. I will tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed Corea’s performance at the Blue Note in the Village, and the band is one major reason.


At this point in career, Corea can command the best. So the band included the parking lot scatter Joe Lovano and Greg Osby on sax, Ed Gomez on bass and Paul Motian on drums.

It was literally a return to forever, as some of the Sicilian/Hispanic band leader’s greatest accompanists joined the genius of a legend who is just this side of 70 and still sharp, enthusiastic and powerful, one of (if not THE) greatest jazz instrumentalists of ours or any generation.

Behind the piano this early May night, he set out to explore the work of the late jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans, whose trio from 1966 to ‘77 included Gomez, now 67.

Ah, Gomez…. When a bassist coaxes sounds out of his instrument that sound like a cello, and keeps the entire crowd on top of the sound through a five-minute solo — literally with his eyes closed — you know you are witnessing mastery at work. That, plus his training as a drummer from age 8, had accounte for the percussive feel of his work.

Lovano, a tenor sax player married to singer Jill Silvao, isn’t one of the biggest names. At 57, he was one of the youngest of the group. And like Gomez, he coaxes sounds from his instrument you’ve never heard before.

The baby of the bunch, Osby, certainly held his own. I couldn’t help but wonder what the experience was like for him.

Lynn Paret

The most pleasant surprise was Paul Motian on drums. He doesn’t so much as lay down a beat as he simply augments the music with splashes of percussion — hitting the cymbal at exactly the perfect moment, using the brushes, and occasionally bringing out the sticks.

What a shock to learn that he, too, was in Evans’ trio. He’s 79 years old!

Of course, the show all came down to the charisma of 69-year-old Chich Corea, graduate of both Harvard and Juilliard. I swear, sometimes it sounds like more than two hands are on that keyboard.

I mean, imagine beginning to play the piano at 4 years old, surrounded by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Lester Young, then joining them as pioneers of avante garde and jazz fusion forms. Like it or not, we‘re talking music historial here..

If you’re still not sure whether jazz is for you, do what I did — agree to see a master surrounded by a crack supporting crew. Select a man who backed up Miles Davis’ move to electric jazz in the 60s, and, a decade later, created one of the greatest of all jazz combos, Return to Forever.

I’m already becoming a convert. Who knows? I may scat my next review!

The pics were taken by Joe Dulanie

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