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Artist: Chick Corea
Performance date: December 16, 2001
Chick Corea Celebrates his 60th Birthday Bash at The Blue Note

Concert Review by: Beatrice S. Richardson


Venue: The Blue Note (New York, NY, USA)

December 16, 2001 - Chick Corea is a musician of extraordinary abilities; he’s one of the most influential jazz pianists since the 1960s. His virtuosi technique encompasses classical precision, free improvisation, Latin rhythms, and electronic innovations.

In a stunning ending of week 2 of a 3-week birthday bash; opens with the innovative sextet, Origin; featuring the collective talents of: Steve Davis (trombone), Steve Wilson (alto & soprano saxophones), Tim Garland (tenor saxophone), Avishai Cohen (bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums).

The performance began with incisive solos from, Steve Davis (trombone), Steve Wilson (soprano sax) as they led the way into the overture, yet Corea’s fluid probing piano keeps a spirit of improvisation embedded throughout with delicate intensity, hinting at wistful moods yet to come. The concluding results were great.

Moving into the next performance, it delightfully shifts into a splashy suite of music lylah (night) and awakening as a tight, frenetic theme with an intense throb, allowing Cohen’s muscular changes and nimble bass work to underscore Corea’s lyrical, romantic improvisations. The ambiance of music leads into a vamp blues, and ballads, in a tribute to Cal Tjader and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “It could happen to you” with solos by Jeff Ballard on drums.

Corea conveys a kinetically swirling Latin flavor as he dedicates “Amando’s Tango” to his father, the song lives up to its title as a brightly hued, brilliantly rhythmic number with Steve Wilson, on Sax.

Every jazz musician has a story to tell, for jazz is above all music of individual expression. During the three-week birthday bash, Corea brought together an array of world-renowned musicians from the past to the present. It is a celebration of resilience and power of the human spirit. Over his almost 40 years in his eventful career Corea retains a characteristic jazz spirit while standing firmly in his sense of invention. In our time, especially, that is no small achievement.


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