Flamenco Kicks in with a Cult Following for Chick

Article excerpt

Chick Corea and Touchstone Queen Elizabeth Hall Jack Massarik JAZZ WITH the Festival Hall under wraps, its next-door neighbour was crammed to the rafters last night for a concert arranged in almost indecent haste. How come? Some insist there will always be a ready audience for jazz if its quality is high enough, something Serious Productions often dispute. The promise of a flamenco makeover, too, might have lured world-music fans to this jazz superstar, and a guest appearance by Essex tenorist Tim Garland added the local-hero factor.

All feasible arguments, and the crowd lapped up every minute, yet apart from some stunning visual interest in the graceful and athletic shape of flamenco dancer Auxi Fernandez, this new Latin- jazz suite was essentially the same old Chick we know and love. An American noted for wearing his Spanish heart on his sleeve, Corea has always been able to distill it naturally into the jazz mainstream via his phenomenal skills as a composer and keyboard soloist.

He's done so again with his latest quintet, Touchstone, and new compositions, including Three Ghouls, Queen Tedmur and Moseb the Executioner, all inspired by characters from L Ron Hubbard's latest fantasy novel, The Ultimate Adventure. …