Chick Corea Celebrating With Gary Burton

As part of a 2-month residency at the Blue Note, Chick Corea and Gary Burton opened last night’s set with a couple of tracks from their “Hot House” album which they recorded back in 2007. You could immediately feel from the start that both artists have been playing together for a long time (since 1971, said Chick) as both were anticipating the other’s next steps and reacting accordingly.

Chick Corea Gary Burton
Gary Burton and Chick Corea playing at the Blue Note on Tuesday night.

It was especially fascinating to watch on the Thelonious Monk tune “Four In One”, a tune which Monk recorded in 1951 and which is usually played in a medium tempo but here, both seemed to enjoy and excel playing it pretty fast. One of my earliest encounters with Chick Corea on record (after discovering the Return To Forever albums and his Children’s Songs solo piano stuff) was the “Lyric Suite For Sextet”, an ECM LP from 1983 where both Chick and Gary were accompanied by a string quartet.

So for the last part of the first set on Tuesday night, together with the Harlem String Quartet the show turned into a chamber-music meets jazz concert with highly entertaining compositions from the suite; “Overture”, “Waltz”, and “Brazilia” all had virtuosity of the highest caliber stamped all over it. Chick Corea, who absolutely doesn’t look like 75 (and Gary with his new Prenzlauer Berg beard doesn’t look like 73 either), continues his Blue Note run this week with his group Origin II, which features Ravi Coltrane, Steve Wilson, Steve Davis, Carlitos del Puerto, and Marcus Gilmore. Next week has him play the music of Return To Forever with Ravi Coltrane, Hubert Laws, Avishai Cohen, and Lenny White, and in the final week he plays the Mahavishnu period with John McLaughlin, Victor Wooten, and White.

Earlier that day, I went to one of my favorite record shops in the East Village (A1 Records) where I found a sealed Rockie Robbins LP from 1981. “I Believe In Love” was produced by the great Skip Scarborough and features Patrice Rushen, Harvey Mason, and Tom Scott. I also got a sealed Carrie Lucas LP from 1978 – her “Street Corner Symphony” came out on the SOLAR Records label and was produced by The Whispers. Also added: Phyllis Hyman‘s 1981 Arista LP “Can’t We Fall In Love Again”, produced by Norman Connors and Chuck Jackson, “The Greetings Of Peace”, 1980 Philadelphia International Records LP by The Futures, Terry Callier‘s 1978 Elektra LP “Fire On Ice”, executive-produced by Don Mizell and featuring Minnie Riperton, Phillip Upchurch, Eddie Harris, and James Gadson, and the 1976 solo LP by Fleetwood Mac singer and songwriter Christine McVie, when she was still called Christine Perfect.

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