Review : Chick Corea - Hot House
AllaboutjazzWith a partnership lasting longer than most marriages, pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton know what it takes to keep things fresh. Since the release of Crystal Silence (ECM, 1973), they have toured virtually every year, but record far less frequently, with only six albums to their credit, most recently The New Crystal Silence (Concord, 2008). With the pianist especially busy these days—his The Continents: Music for Jazz Quartet & Chamber Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon, 2012) just out and a live set from his 2011 Return to Forever IV tour, The Mothership Returns (Concord, 2012), on the near horizon—anytime Corea enters the studio with Burton is worthy of celebration.
Traditionally, the duo has focused largely on music from the pianist's pen and from Burton collaborators like bassist Steve Swallow and composer/arranger Michael Gibbs. Shifting gears for Hot House, the pair covers music from the 1940s through the 1960s, by well-known names ranging from pianists Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Tadd Dameron and Thelonious Monk to The Beatles' Paul McCartney and Antonio Carlos Jobim—though the songs chosen by the vibraphonist and pianist are a little further off the beaten path.
While not exactly unfamiliar, "Eleanor Rigby" hasn't received much interpretation in the jazz world. Still, after Tatum's jovial opener, "Can't We Be Friends"—the pianist moving from facile swing to strong-handed stride—it demonstrates Corea and Burton's seemingly effortless ability to draw music from external sources into their own complex yet accessible musical universe. A relentless left-hand pattern gives the song a far brighter pulse than the original, with Corea's right hand mirroring Burton before leading to a solo that demonstrates how, as he approaches 70 in 2013, the vibraphonist has lost none of his impeccable ability to shape flawless long-form narratives with exhilarating spontaneity. Corea, too, solos with the same kind of reckless in-the-moment spirit.
Two Jobim tracks run the gamut from the effervescent "Chega de Saudade" to "Once I Loved," which begins in ethereal atmospherics, but assumes a more propulsive stance in short order. It's no surprise to hear Corea play with quirky tongue in cheek on Monk's "Light Blue," but Burton is equally idiosyncratic, while a relatively brief look at Dameron's fiery title track is the result of Burton and Corea being uncertain as to who is to solo first, with a result that's all the more impressive for their ability to interact in rapid-fire fashion without ever stepping on each other's toes....full text
BbcDuos are often feted for their intimacy, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have any energy. At their most dynamic, pianist Corea and vibraphonist Burton, formerly sidemen to Miles Davis and George Shearing respectively, make for a Catherine wheel combination, playing scores of notes in quick succession with a percussive drive and sharpness of attack that reflect a cast-iron command of bebop.
Sparks of excitement fly over the quicksilver melody of the title-track, a Tadd Dameron classic largely associated with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In negotiating the myriad chord changes and jumps in pitch needed to really capture the hyperventilating character of the piece, Burton emphatically highlights how liquid yet crisp and resonant the vibraphone can be, almost as if bells had been set into a keyboard that he drums instead of fingers. This set of mostly covers by jazz and pop icons like Monk, Brubeck and The Beatles lets the duo flex their muscles as soloists and both prove indeed adept at executing lengthy, winding figures and breathless shifts of tempo.
Yet, in contrast to the storms comes the calm of Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin’s My Ship, in which a gilded romanticism has faint echoes of Crystal Silence, Corea and Burton’s gorgeous 1973 debut that marked them out as purveyors of eerie proto-ambient music. As for Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Once I Loved, this new album’s highlight, it’s a reminder that both men, who played with Stan Getz, an early adopter of bossa nova, can capture the blend of leisure and melancholia that lends the idiom its subtle power. Corea weaves in a propulsive, broody bassline, built on small intervals, that enhances the dark emotional undercurrent and creates a tonal weight to offset Burton’s far lighter timbres....full text
GuardianThe 40-year-old piano/vibraphone partnership of Chick Corea and Gary Burton returns with new variations on composers from Art Tatum to Tadd Dameron, Jobim, Brubeck and McCartney. Corea and Burton are devotees of the shapely, symmetrical and song-rooted – so this album is flawlessly graceful, even if some episodes (the intricate piano ostinato under Eleanor Rigby) border on the distractingly clever. But their musicianship and empathy win out, particularly on a 10-minute account of My Ship simmering with time changes, a tender examination of Thelonious Monk's solemn Light Blue, and a rumination on Time Remembered that draws on Corea's imaginative devotion to its composer, Bill Evans. The only non-duo track is Corea's own Mozart Goes Dancing, an ornate fusion of his trademark rumba groove and some willowy Mozartian gliding from a string quartet. This is beautifully executed mainstream-to-modern jazz from two stars who clearly still enjoy each other's company....full text
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