Header Quote

"If you ain't got it in you, you can't blow it out."
— Louis Armstrong

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chick Corea/Stanley Clarke/Lenny White: Forever

The industry that Return to Forever has become is offering up an intriguing new piece of product: Forever, the first release from just the trio of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White.  It's nothing new exactly, but rather a concert recording of these three masterful jazz musicians playing live (mostly standards, a few tasty RTF classics like "Senor Mouse") or, oddly enough, rehearsing to play live.  I know, it sounds like filler material, fluff to keep fans of the old fusion juggernaut in candy.

But it's more than that and better than that, even though that's what it is.  My PopMatters review is HERE.

It's better because, no matter how you slice it, Corea and Co are stunning jazz musicians, and when they play without bombast and fusion-show-offiness they are take-your-breath-away wonderful.  There are two discs here, and on the first it is just the trio, playing acoustic on harmonically rich material.  It's hard to imagine too many jazz fans turning their nose up at this stuff.

On disc two, the trio is captured either in concert or in rehearsal with guests.  Guitarist Bill Connors is there to reprise the earliest of the RTF quartets, electric and searing.  Then Jean-Luc Ponty comes in on electric violin to reprise some material from one Chick's solo albums, My Spanish Heart.  Then the five of them play together.  Nice.  More out of left field, the trio brings in singer Chaka Khan to reprise two tunes from the Echoes of an Era band.  (Do any fans remember this oddly unbalanced album from 1982 with the fondness that I do—originally with Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard on horns?)  For jazz fans of that time, this disc recaptures some wonderful oddities.  Ponty's acoustic original "Renaissance" is a delight.  No doubt, this second disc is less timeless than the first, but for fans of Corea, it's a plus.

If this music were brand new today, would it delight me so, or is nostalgia doing its work?  I think that the superb playing transcends time, but you can find out for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment