Review: Jazz CD of the Week

The Birmingham Post (England), August 23, 2003 | Go to article overview

Review: Jazz CD of the Week


Byline: Reviewed by Peter Bacon

Chick Corea - Rendezvous In New York (Stretch)

He sounds as youthful and buoyant as ever, but Chick Corea did, in fact, turn 60 earlier this year, and his friend Sal Haries, manager of the famous Blue Note Club in New York, helped Chick celebrate by turning the club over to the pianist and his various groups and partners from a long career.

This is no re-visiting the past, though; it's bang up to date music-making of the most vital kind.

This sumptuously packaged double album opens with three great duo performances by Chick and the vocalist Bobby McFerrin. McFerrin is too often unfairly identified with the simple ditty Don't Worry Be Happy, when in fact he has probably the most experimental and adept larynx in the history of the music. Listen to his wonderfully subtle interpretation of the Concierto de Aranjuez, coupled with Corea's own landmark composition Spain and be amazed.

Then we're on to the trio Corea formed with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes. Haynes appears again in the Remembering Bud Powell band, along with tenor player Joshua Redman, bassist Christian McBride and trumpeter Terence Blanchard.

Other duets include locking pianos with Gonzalo Rubalcaba (fireworks aplenty) and revisiting one of Corea's most sympathetic of partnerships with vibraphonist Gary Burton.

More trios come in the form of the Akoustic band with John Patitucci and Dave Weckl, and his new three-piece with the rhythm team of the Origin band, Jeff Ballard and Avishai Cohen. The Origin group is here too, with Britain's Tim Garland on tenor and bass clarinet.

The whole collection is a joy to listen too, not only for the astounding musicianship of Chick Corea, who has been responsible for the strong Spanish accent in modern jazz, but also for the playing of the many younger musicians he has fostered and helped on to their own success.

Beautifully recorded too, in this new SACD compatible format, for those who have loads of speakers arranged around the room. HHHHH

To order this CD for pounds 24.99 inc.p&p call our music line on 01634 832 789

Lizz Wright - Salt (Verve 589 933-2)

'A major new vocal talent,' screams the promotional sticker on the front of this disc, and they're right. It's just a pity that young women singers get such an overload of publicity; it might do wonders for record company bank balances and push jazz (though it's often only tenuously that) into the charts, but the pressure on the singers themselves surely cannot be helpful.

Still, Georgia-born, gospel-trained Lizz Wright sounds like she can probably handle it.

This is a hugely accomplished debut, with some strong compositions of her own as well as characterful interpretations of others' songs - she actually opens with Chick Corea's Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly.

The band and production are terrific, with drummer Brian Blade laying down a solid groove and Tommy LiPuma at the controls. Other big jazz names in the studio are Danilo Perez on piano and Chris Potter on saxophone, showing that Lizz Wright is drawing all the right kind of attention from her fellows.

If there's any criticism to be made, it's that she doesn't leave a lot of spaces. Perhaps it's the gospel background, or experience, singing is smaller groups, but she tends to want to fill every second with sound, from beginning of the song to the end. …

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