Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chick Corea and John McLaughlin: Five Peace Band

Concord Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 1.7.10
Buy CD: Five Peace Band

Chick Corea needs no introduction to a true jazz fan.

He has been a name artist for decades; has been a member of iconic groups, such as Miles Davis' famous 1969 unit; has formed and performed with numerous bands — Return To Forever remaining the best-known — and has created the most prolific discography of any jazz artist (close to 100 albums, and still counting).

Corea began as a “traditional” acoustic pianist — and was a sideman with Cab Calloway for awhile, believe it or not — then became enamored with the Fender Rhodes electric piano. As time passed, he embraced a style that was a combination of rock/funk/fusion, and his bands became increasingly dependent on electric instrumentation.

But whatever the decade or genre, everything he wrote, arranged or played swung like crazy.

The Five Peace Band, formed in 2008, includes some of today's finest musicians: John McLaughlin on guitar, Christian McBride on bass, Kenny Garrett on sax, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Corea plays piano and keyboards. Herbie Hancock also appears as a guest pianist on one track.

This double-CD album is the group's debut recording, and the selections were gathered from 22 concerts performed during a tour throughout Europe in 2008. Because the band members were “new to each other” as a group, and the audiences were live, the results provided some of the most exciting music you'll ever hear.

Each disk contains just four tunes, and half of them run more than 20 minutes each; these were true jam sessions, where each artist stretched to his limit and was given all the time necessary to do so.

Whatever style turns you on, this is a primo album.

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