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light as a feather
on 17 August 2003
Chick Corea confines himself to Fender Rhodes piano here, no banks of synthesizers, and this is a huge advantage for the Fusion shy listener. In fact this album is an excercise in brazilian influenced beauty, nothing like the bombastic sound of later RTF records. Not to say that this isn't burning- Corea along with Herbie Hancock is THE man on electric piano, and Stanley Clarke and Airto Moreira are a ferocious Rythm section,but its just all so lush, uplifting, gentle etc. Joe Farrell is a great tenor player, but his flute is just awesome- if your idea of flute playing is Herbie Mann, then Joe blows him into a million pieces puts them in an envelope and mails them to a high school marching band, which is as far as Mann should ever have gone.Did i forget Flora? With her charmingly delicate, English with a Portugese accented vocals,she must inevitably be compared with that other Brazilian singer who made it into jazz, but by the time of this recording things had moved along way from "girl from Ipanema", and this is no light Bossa session. Also check out the "new way of thinking" hippie lyrics, I suppose wtitten by Neville Potter, whover he is; I like them, and i like the way we get away from smoky nightclub "Distingue Lovers" type jazz lyrics.
This is "jazz" of the highest order, still closely related to the accoustic post bop world but with some exciting differences. Clarke is playing upright bass, and still walking or playing latin shapes, but the bass is so loud and fat, as though you were sitting right next to him in a little club. Similarly Corea improvises mainly within the traditions, but on electric piano it again makes it all louder and more intense- in fact this must be one of the best records for hearing a Rhodes being put through its paces. Watch for the little bit of wah wah.
To my mind later RTF records have aged badly- flashes of genius get swamped in synthy diddly solos that make me think of spotty science students; they just weren't as funky and street hip as the Headhunters. THIS record however, along with the first one, [Return to Forever] are a whole different thing, and pretty brilliant.