The quintet’s tour de force double-album, Five Peace Band Live, which was recorded during their European tour during the fall of 2008. Five Peace Band Live features Corea and McLaughlin’s inspired duets as well as all five members negotiating the twists and turns of the compositions.
As shown throughout the tours, Corea and McLaughlin are truly kindred spirits, given that both are brave musical explorers and virtuosos on their respective instruments. As young jazz artists, they both did stints with Miles Davis and appeared together on the groundbreaking jazz/rock/funk classic Bitches Brew before forming their own revolutionary bands: Corea’s Return to Forever and McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. The innovative music played by these two groups attracted theater and stadium-sized audiences in the ‘70s and helped to shape a new genre of music, turning on multitudes of rock fans to a new form of jazz.
Since those burgeoning jazz-fusion days, both Corea and McLaughlin have led extraordinarily prolific careers, with continual creative output spanning many genres of music in a host of different musical settings—all the while maintaining unparalleled artistic integrity and becoming legends in their own right.
Five Peace Band marks the duo’s first collaboration with a band, presenting eclectic nights of highly creative music that includes nods to Miles (and to the late Joe Zawinul, with an exhilarating performance of “In a Silent Way”), intricate acoustic jazz, burning jazz/rock/funk, and intimate duets. Also in the mix are Corea and McLaughlin classics.
“I thought this might be a good period for both of us, so I presented [John with] the idea of a quintet and the musicians involved,” Corea told Australia’s Perth Now. “He liked the idea right way. We decided pretty quickly that both of us would bring musical ideas and compositions. John sent me a bunch of stuff and I sent him my ideas. I wrote several new pieces. Within a couple of weeks we had the basic direction of what we would perform.”
Corea also told The Australian that the band’s aim was to create “a new, fresh sound,” and that the sets are “more electric than not, but there are acoustic moments. John is playing his electric guitar all the way through, but he has this really cool ability to be able to play that instrument in a pretty mellow way. So we do some duets where I play acoustic piano and he plays the electric guitar.”
McLaughlin told iheartguitar.blogspot.com that both he and Corea have a “mutual history, a combined history.” He added that even though the Five Peace Band is their first group outing together, they have performed together before: “What we’ve done over the years is played many times in duo together, piano and guitar. And this is something that we really love to do…[On the tour] we do it every night at some point, we’ll just get together, just the two of us on stage. It’s very special…We have a very strong complicity, in a way. It’s just such a joy with this band. They’re such great musicians and great human beings too.”