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D. Seddon "Song Fish" (London, England.)

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Price: £14.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Children of Forever, 5 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Forever (Audio CD)
Personnel: Chick Corea- keys, Stanley Clarke- basses, Lenny White- drums w/Jean-Luc Ponty- violin, Bill Connors- el. guitar, Chaka Khan- voice

So the Forever mythos has come full circle & back to it's acoustic roots, I never get bored of getting lost in recordings of jazz musicians of the late 1960s playing prog-rock & funk influenced music at turn of the seventies. With 'Forever' 3 of the main components of this practice provide us with a disc of 'where it all began' & a disc of where it led too, that tension filled melting pot of creativity: acoustic jazzers discovering new electronic gizmos & running wild with their imaginations. Whether the reasons were commercial or not, at the eye of the storm this period has provided us with interesting sometimes awkward sounding music but ultimately never boring! As a whole package 'Forever' is a far more fascinating & thought provoking document than the recently issued live recordings of the Return to Forever reunion shows. It shares many of the same tunes as Chick's last retrospective outing with Gary Burton 'the New Crystal Silence' & the two would make great companion pieces. It's fascinating to compare how Chick approaches the tunes in the two different settings, especially when you consider that Chick's creative partnership with Gary Burton was forged at a similar time to his working relationship with Stanley Clarke. 'Forever' also shares 'the New Crystals..' crisp, clear & rounded sound.

Disc 1 then is an all-acoustic trio setting & the main event. It has a rawness that Chick seems to have lost since his early acoustic trio's & first forays into fusion & the overall result is absolutely marvellous. The best samplers of this effect would be the standards 'On Green Dolphin Street' & Bill Evans' exquisite 'Waltz For Debby' along with Chick's classic time tested theme 'Windows' which stands shoulder to shoulder with '..Debby' for it's flowing beauty. It's also fascinating to hear 'No Mystery' stripped bare in a trio setting. Lenny White swings with great spontaneity but for me the man of the match is Stanley who gets the balance of absolute musicality & great showmanship just right. He turns in possibly one of the most beautiful moments of solo upright bass on record at the end of 'La Cancion de Sofia', a composition from his own pen the version here is vastly superior to the recording he made with own group on 'Toys of Men'.

Disc 2 sees the trio meet up with some old friends for a rehearsal, Jean-Luc Ponty, Chaka Khan & Bill Connors join the proceedings. Its great to hear some of these tunes revisited in this company (especially welcome is the return of Connors who seems to be a quicker thinking improviser than Di Meola) although none of them touch the original recordings, with perhaps the exception of Chick's 'Armando's Rhumba'. The solo's on this run are perhaps slightly more exciting but it somehow just lacks that seventies charm. There's also an interesting take on 'Space Circus' & Clarke's 'After the Cosmic Rain', these two versions have a real groove to them. Chaka joins in for a few tracks including a lovely reading of the classic Gershwin tune 'I loves you Porgy' & there is a beautiful (albeit brief) jam on Trane's 'Crescent' by Lenny & Chick. I've never heard 'Renaissance' before but it's a very catchy Corea original. I would have loved the addition of more Stanley tunes with this line-up, such as 'Bass Folk Song' or 'Children of Forever' (imagine Chaka singing that one!)

For fans of these guys this is a no brainer purchase but this is particularly recommended if perhaps you're a jazzer who never really understood the fusion thing but willing to give it a go.

Akoustic Band Alive/Grp
Akoustic Band Alive/Grp
Offered by WORLD WIDE MEDIA MARKET (12-24 Days for Delivery from California)
Price: £16.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alive & Swinging, 28 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Akoustic Band Alive/Grp (Audio CD)
Chick Corea- piano
John Patitucci- upright bass
Dave Weckl- drums

This captures Chick's 'Akoustic Band' in what seems to be a more spontaneous setting compared with their classic studio recording from 1989. Wether it's recorded in concert, with a studio audience or even with overdubbed crowd noise is unclear but in my opinion the studio record has the edge with it's inspired readings of 'Bessie's Blues', 'So In Love' & 'Spain'.
'Alive' however is very much worth hearing. My highlight is the reading of Duke & Mills' 'Sophisticated Lady' which sweeps beautifully into 'U.M.M.G.'. I'm not personally a big fan of Weckl's drumming style (for me he ruins the opening standards by overplaying somewhat) but he swings beautifully on the two aforementioned tunes. He's back to his overblown antics on Corea's classic 'Humpty Dumpty' but I have to admit it is a sheer joy hearing the guys rip it up on this tune. Corea & Patitucci are on top form throughout & the trio are tight with their big ears & familiarity with each other, displayed wonderfully on the 2 Monk tunes towards the end of the recording. If you can find this for under a fiver it's a good buy.

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