CD Reviews: Corea Set Shows Piano Trios Don't Have to Be Boring

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Corea, Clarke & White (Concord Jazz)

Piano trios can be among the most boring outfits in jazz, perhaps in any form of music, as they crank out hotel-lobby classics. But Chick Corea and two Return to Forever compatriots prove that does not have to be the case. On the two-CD "Forever," the three are the key to an acoustic-trio disc and another that is mostly electric. Acoustically, they take on classics such as Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby," Thelonious Monk's "Hackensack" and Corea's own "Senor Mouse." When they begin to use wattage, they tackle Corea's "Armando's Rhumba" and "500 Miles High" among other numbers. They are joined at times by Chaka Khan, who sings a version of "I Loves You Porgy" and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, who offers his own "Renaissance." No matter the format, Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White team to offer creative, energetic music that never falls back to the comforts of the familiar.

-- Bob Karlovits

'Campo Belo'

Anthony Wilson (Goat Hill)

'For All Those Living'

The Sheryl Bailey 4 (PureMusic)

Guitarists Anthony Wilson and Sheryl Bailey take widely different approaches to honest, no-fooling jazz on "Campo Belo" and "For All Those Living," respectively. With a crew of South American colleagues, Wilson puts together what is, basically, a quartet album of original material. On "Flor de Sumare," though, the group adds an accordion and clarinet to create a fuller and more exotic sound. The songs tend to have a below-the-Equator hint, but are far from the samba or bossa music that might be expected. Wilson's playing is growing steadily and is no disappointment here Meanwhile, Belle Vernon native Sheryl Bailey puts on a straight-ahead approach with her clean, crisp tone that is obviously inspired by Wes Montgomery. …