09 SEP 14 CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Chick Corea, an NEA Jazz Master and winner of 20 GRAMMY® Awards, has been a prime mover in jazz ever since the late 1960s, when the keyboardist was a youngblood in the electrifying jazz-rock ensembles of Miles Davis. Corea has made classic records as a leader both in acoustic mode (such as the star-making Blue Note trio album Now He Sings, Now He Sobs) and electric (the pioneering '70s fusion of Return to Forever), as well as collaborating on acclaimed albums with peers from Gary Burton to Béla Fleck. Stretch Records/Concord Jazz will release Trilogy, a recording to rank with the landmarks of Corea's career. Trilogy is a triple-CD set recorded live around the world with his spectacularly virtuosic trio featuring bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade, both star leaders in their own right (and previously the rhythmic backbone in Corea's Five Peace Band). In an interview with Spain's El Pais, Corea said about them, "Both are master musicians and together we have an easy rapport. There is a lot of give and take in our music. It's always a lot of fun." And reviewing one of the stops on the trio's two globe-trekking tours, All About Jazz noted, "Corea, ever the mischievous, puckish protagonist, created a context where the music centered on high-spirited playfulness: pushed and pulled, twisted and turned, and obliquely refracted—as much about the journey as it was the destination."
A marvel of live recorded sound, particularly for having been captured in multiple stops on the road, Trilogy sees the trio reinvent classic Corea compositions (such as "Spain"), as well as previously unreleased originals ("Piano Sonata: The Moon"). The group also performs an array of jazz standards (including two Thelonious Monk tunes) and even re-imagines a Prelude by fin-de-siècle Russian composer Alexander Scriabin ("Op. 11, No. 9"). The recordings were made live in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, CA; in Spain, Switzerland and Austria; and in Slovenia, Turkey and Japan. Corea, McBride and Blade are joined by special guests on three tracks: flutist Jorge Pardo and guitarist Niño Josele in Madrid ("My Foolish Heart" and, aptly, "Spain") and vocalist Gayle Moran Corea, the pianist's wife and longtime collaborator, in Sapporo ("Someday My Prince Will Come"). About one of the concerts, WUVT Virginia said, "The performance was mostly fun and relaxed, but as expected from Chick Corea, it had its moments of deep thought in which the music could bring tears to one's eyes."
Corea calls the trio experience with McBride and Blade "a joyful exploration," adding, "There's a certain chemistry that happens, which is really difficult to describe—it's simply that thing that happens when the three of us get together to play. I know I find myself trying things that I wouldn't normally try. The game of live performance—for a performer and a listener—is one of the most basic human pleasures. For me, certainly, the best and most rewarding thing I know to do in music is to play live for a live audience. And no matter how recordings and the mass consumption of music evolve, the fundamental musical experience will always be a live performance. A live album like this is the next best thing to being there, a snapshot of special moments in musical time that we can share."
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29 APR 14 CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Chameleon, the scintillating Concord Records debut from multi-GRAMMY-nominated Harvey Mason, finds him drawing upon the rich jazz-funk legacy of the 1970s and recasting seven of that era’s most enduring classics with an early 21st-century sheen. A legendary session drummer, producer, composer and recording artist, Mason is among the most recorded and in-demand musicians of all-time.
Co-produced by Chris Dunn, Chameleon features some of the brightest young jazz talents on the scene today. NEXT Collective alumni such as trumpeter Christian Scott, bassist Ben Williams, pianist/keyboardist Kris Bowers, guitarist Matthew Stevens enliven Chameleon. Bringing more young firepower to the fore are trombonist/vocalist Corey “Ck” King, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, vocalist Chris Turner and keyboardist Mark de Clive-Lowe.
Helping Mason steer this cooperative are some of his contemporaries – bassist and co-founder of the legendary Yellowjackets, Jimmy Haslip; percussionist and founder of Los Hombres El Calientes, Bill Summers; and bassist Paul Jackson. Summers and Jackson worked with Mason on Herbie Hancock’s 1973 landmark LP Head Hunters.
CD | MP3
11 FEB 14 CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Four-time GRAMMY winner Dianne Reeves has released Beautiful Life, her eagerly anticipated first album in five years. New to the Concord Records imprint, yet established as one of the classiest vocalists around, Reeves powerfully sustains her genre-defying tradition with elements of jazz, contemporary R&B, classic soul, modern pop, and vintage funk. Through her two sublime originals, "Cold" and "Satiated (Been Waiting)," along with covers by Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Marley, and Ani DiFranco, Reeves covers a lot of musical ground—and incorporates a lot of talent, too.
Beautiful Life features an A-list supporting crew, including production by Terri Lynne Carrington and musical appearances by Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter, Robert Glasper, and George Duke. A soulful and sophisticated rendering with a sweet, sexy, and celebratory underlying tone, Beautiful Life is an inspiring affirmation not to be missed.
26 DEC 13 ANNE FARNSWORTH
In 2009, I went to UCLA's Royce Hall to see Chick Corea and John McLaughlin's Five Peace Band in concert. With Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride and Vinny Colaiuto assisting, the two all-stars tore the roof off of the hall. Listening to Five Peace Band Live, the double CD they recorded during their European tour, always brings me back to that amazing show.
The combined talents of the five men were a juggernaut to the audience, driving the capacity crowd into frenzied roars and standing ovations before, during and after tunes for nearly three hours. Midway through, I seriously wondered how many layers of awesomeness can the human central nervous system withstand?
Fellow music critic Scott Yanow remarked to me during intermission, "When Kenny Garrett is one of the mere mortals on the stage...." Indeed, Garrett, an outstanding post-bop horn player who shares Miles alumnus status with Corea and McLaughlin, would be the focal point in any other combination. He often took a guitar part on the heads, doubling with McLaughlin the fast unison lines that are a hallmark of the guitarist's style. He drove his solos into the stratosphere, ripping themes apart as if he was channeling Ornette. McBride, Rolling Stone's Hot New Jazz Artist at 20, more recently was a member of SuperBass with Ray Brown and John Clayton. Best known for his straight ahead acoustic playing, he burned on a fretless 5-string electric. Colaiuto, a Frank Zappa alum, was also touring that year with another rock legend, Jeff Beck.
And the two old masters? Corea never disappoints, his ideas as complex and his technique are as sharp as ever. He played mostly a Rhodes sample with a lot of pitch bender, creating an evocative '70s-era mood. On the spacey "Hymn To Andromeda," he switched to the grand, tapping the strings inside the piano with a drum mallet as he 'comped chords with his left hand. Then 67-year-old McLaughlin has not lost a bit of his astonishing technical prowess. Playing a Godin guitar with fat Humbucking pickups and wearing an 'I've got a secret' smile, he tore through his extended solos with lines that were intellectually brilliant yet emotionally gut wrenching. He looks like a man with a steady pulse but this listener's heart was pounding.
BROWSE ARCHIVE OF CONTEMPORARY JAZZ VOICES