on 30 September 2005
While Chick Corea is perhaps best known for his brief stint with Miles Davis, his trailblazing 70's fusion work with Return To Forever and his 80's and 90's work with Dave Weckl and John Patticuti in his Elektric Band, it's interesting to hear that his piano style (a weird fusion of latin jazz, free jazz, bebop, modern jazz and 20th century classical) was fully formed even on this early trio date, the one that perhaps best shows his musical direction before being forced into playing electric piano by Miles Davis and eventually going down the fusion route. The trio on this date has reformed several times and consists of Corea, Chezch bassist Miroslav Vitous (later of Weather Report) and (even then) veteran drummer Roy Haynes (famous for his work with Bud Powell among others). Opener 'Steps/What Was' perhaps exemplifies what a superb group this is with Chick Corea combining simple musical motifs with his own virtuoso playing and letting the rhythm section carry him into the stratosphere. I'm particulary fond of the transition between the two songs, by way of a fantastic Roy Haynes drum solo. The music bridges the gap between structured and free improvisation and the cd itself is packed with bonus tracks not on the original lp, further demonstating the ability of this trio, that must rank of one of the finest since Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian's legendary combination.
on 24 November 2015
A marvellous record from a trio who sound completely integrated despite their very different backgrounds. Corea shows himself as a masterful pianist with a crisp sound, technique to spare, and completely at home in music that still had roots in the hard bop of the late fifties and early sixties but voyaged quite a distance into the area of free jazz. The music is purely acoustic, with no hint of fusion. Other fine pianists such as Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett were exploring similar areas, although not going as far as Chick, but here he shows himself as pretty much the best of a rather good bunch. Miroslav Vitous on string bass provides a strong pulse to the music but also acts as a melodic partner to Chick. His technique and speed are such it sounds almost as if there are two basses. In some ways, however, the most astonishing player is Roy Haynes, a veteran accompanying some of the bop greats twenty or more years before this recording, but here adapting totally to a freer style. He takes a full part in the group sound of the trio but also driving the band along. He listens most carefully, reacts instantly, and plays with force and delicacy as necessary. It is truly an object lesson in how to ply the drums.
There is great variety in the music, some of which is abstract, some of which more traditionally based. Much of the latter shows Chick's interest in the French impressionists, such as Debussy, and also in Brazilian music. As a result, in addition to the more challenging pieces there is also much attractive melody. The longest number, 'Steps-What Was', is among the most challenging and aggressive, played with a precise touch, but also including passages of beauty. Other tunes are simple melodic pieces of great attraction.
In a way, one of the most successful numbers is a brief version of 'Pannonica', the old Monk tune. Chick plays this in a style which owes nothing to Monk but still captures the essence of the tune and brings out the beauty of the piece. It is quite remarkable.
Over the years Chick has produced some very fine music, together with, it has to be said, a certain amount of electronic dross. This, apparently, is his favourite album, and to these ears it may well be his best.
on 4 April 2012
Exciting, courageous, invigorating, intense, provocative, touching, emotional, demanding, swinging, surprising, fresh, profound, humourous, dynamic, unpredictable, expansive, engaging, flawless, human....
Along with Dave Holland's 'Conference of the Birds', 'Now He Sings, Now He Sobs' remains one of the most accessible albums of an era in Jazz that demanded much of its audience but offered much more in return. For piano jazz fans, a must have. For rhythm section players, a must have. For everyone else? You can't get much more for the money.
Arguably Chick's finest moment.
on 15 May 2011
I saw this CD reviewed by a bassist feature in Bass Guitar Magazine. It was one of those CDs that took a few plays before I started liking it - now I love it. From a bassist's perspective, there are some really great tracks to get your ear around. If you're after something different, then give this a try.