Friday, February 25, 2011

Vito Price + Chicago = Beautiful Love

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“Vito Price isn't famous. He isn't the world's finest saxophonist. He isn't suffering from the pangs of public disapproval. He isn't a newly-discovered figure out of the past.

To state it simply, he is a musician satisfied to play the way he wants to play. He's not attempting to set precedents or unify forms or set inspirational harmonic patterns. When I asked him about this LP, his first as a leader, he said, "I'm thrilled that I finally got the chance to record. I felt ready. This is my idea of happy, swinging music."

- Don Gold, Managing Editor, Down Beat Magazine

Youth provides a different view of the world.

On the one hand, this view is broad and all-encompassing brought on by a wide-eyed fascination with the world and everything in it. It all seems so fresh and exciting.

On the other hand, it’s limited because there is little judgment based on experience or the ability to discern based on acquired knowledge.

As a case in point, the first time I heard the music on tenor saxophonist Vito Price’s 1958 Swinging the Loop [Argo LP 631] album, it really thrilled me. I thought it swung like mad and I just couldn’t get enough of it. I played it all the time.

Although I came to own the LP as a gift from a family friend, a DJ who was always passing on “Demo” copies that he couldn’t play on his AM radio show which featured more popular music, I had no idea who Vito Price was.

Frankly, neither did any of the other musicians in my circle of friends at the time.  Mention the name “Vito Price” and it was sure to be greeted with a number of blank stares.

And yet, for a while, I knew more about the tenor sax playing of Vito than I did that of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young; chronologically, knowledge of the music of these “Giants” of the tenor was to come later after my view of the Jazz world had become a bit more sophisticated and informed.

Swinging the Loop is made up of 5 tracks that were recorded with a 9-piece group with Vito out front on tenor and 5 cuts using a combo: each set of 5 tunes comprised Side One and Side Two of the LP, respectively.

For some reason, I only played the side featuring the quintet made up of Vito along with Freddie Green on guitar, Lou Levy on piano, Max Bennett on bass and Gus Johnson on drums. Too lazy to get up from my practice pads [used in lieu of actual drums to keep the neighbors from rushing the front door] and turn the record over on the changer?

As its title would imply, the album was recorded in Chicago, which was to later become an oft-visited city for me due to business and professional activities.  One of the great things about most Jazz LPs from the 1950s was that they included informative liner notes. The honors for Vito’s album go to Don Gold who, at the time, was the Managing Editor of Down Beat Magazine.

So that you, too, might become more familiar with Vito Price and the music on this album in the same manner as I did, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles has reprinted Don’s insert notes below.

It also asked the crackerjack graphics team at CerraJazz LTD to develop the video at the conclusion of this feature using the Beautiful Love quintet track from the LP.

Ironically, after playing the album on an almost daily basis after it was first issued, I had all but forgotten about it until one day, when a Jazz buddy picked me up for a luncheon get-together with mutual friends and the music from it was playing on his car CD changer!

Much to my delight and surprise, Jordi Pujol had reissued Swinging the Loop on his Fresh Sound label [FSR CD #110].

I couldn’t believe my ears: after 50 years, it seemed that there were now three people familiar with the music of Vito Price!

© -Don Gold, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“Liner note writers are a most peculiar sort.

They behave erratically much of the time, searching for the attractive approach to the specific subject involved. This endless search, proceeding from one LP to the next, is characterized by constant anguish and inevitable frustration.

This situation is not at all unusual. After all, LPs are cranked out today with the machine-like rapidity so characteristic of our production line age.

What, then, does the liner note author do? Obviously, he searches for new adjectives, new ways of interpreting music and its performers, new gags to enchant the record buyers. There are a variety of ways to accomplish these ends.

The writer with a substantial background in jazz can, for example, say that he has "discovered" the talent presented on the LP. He can, in essence, tell his own life story.

Another approach calls for writing an extensive treatise on a subject not necessarily related to the LP. This takes the form of discussing elementary geometry or the sartorial brilliance of Adolph Menjou.

Another writer might compare the featured performer on the LP with another performer who plays the same instrument. This allows the liner note creator to state his own preferences rather discreetly. If he is not fond of the performer on the LP for which he is writing the notes, he can simply discuss another performer. This is a mild form of escapism, a kind of facing the monetary benefit without facing any of its accompanying annoyances.

The liner note writer, then, is a kind of displaced person, unable to write at great length and equally unable to freely state his views with regularity.

In this case, I'm not faced with any of these problems.

Vito Price isn't famous. He isn't the world's finest saxophonist. He isn't suffering from the pangs of public disapproval. He isn't a newly-discovered figure out of the past.

To state it simply, he is a musician satisfied to play the way he wants to play. He's not attempting to set precedents or unify forms or set inspirational harmonic patterns. When I asked him about this LP, his first as a leader, he said, "I'm thrilled that I finally got the chance to record. I felt ready. This is my idea of happy, swinging music."

In other words, Price is hoping that the taste of some record buyers will coincide with his own. This kind of uncluttered approach is rather rare these days.

For the amateur musicologists, here are some basic facts on Price.

He's 28, New York-born, and has been playing the tenor and alto saxes since he was 14. During his high school days he worked with jazz groups in the New York area. After high school, he served an apprenticeship on the road, with the bands of Bob Chester, Art Mooney, Tony Pastor, and with Chubby Jackson's small group.

In 1951 he entered the marines and spent two years serving in a marine band. He enrolled at the Manhattan school of music in 1953 and stayed on for two years, supplementing his studies with work as leader of his own group and as a member of Jerry Wald's band.

In the summer of 1955 he came to Chicago. In February, 1956 he joined the staff orchestra at station WGN and has been a member of the orchestra there ever since.

He participated in both Chubby Jackson sessions for Argo in recent months.

When I solicited his thoughts on this LP, he stated them readily.

"I had wanted to record so badly," he said. "I guess I never had been at the right place at the right time. This is my first opportunity. And I was given a clear road to do just what I wanted to do.

"I'm not a far out musician. I'm not trying to blaze new paths. These sides are pure, clean, and honest. I just tried to swing. I play because I like to play. I dig it," he concluded.

It is natural that a WGN staff man would look to his compatriots at the station for assistance on his first LP as a leader. Price did just that. Except for the rhythm sections utilized, all the members of the band on this LP work with Price at WGN.

They're used to playing together, as Price noted to me. All the big band charts for this date were prepared by Bill McRea, another WGN staff man, making the existing compatibility that much greater.

Joining the WGN corps are Remo Biondi, a fine Chicago gui­tarist; Marty Clausen, the excellent drummer with the Dan Belloc band, both present on the big band tracks. When Price was ready to cut this LP, he discovered that Ella Fitzgerald was working in Chicago. Astute enough to know a good rhythm section when he heard one, he persuaded Lou Levy, piano; Max Bennett, bass, and Gus Johnson, drums, to make the session. Johnson, due to illness, was able to participate in just the small group (Price-with-rhythm section) tracks, but the Levy-Bennett combination appears on all the tracks in this LP. Finally, the incomparable Freddie Green, guitarist and pivot man of the Count Basic band, joined in to make the small group tracks that much more of a delight.

Essentially, this is Price's LP. On the five big band tracks he is the major soloist, with Levy the only other soloist. The same holds true for the five small group tracks. In addition to being featured on tenor (and alto on In A Mellow Tone), Price contributed three originals — Swinging the Loop, Duddy, Eye Strain (dedicated to Price's wife, who, in knitting a sweater for him, discovered that she needed glasses).

This, then, is a set highlighted by the warm-toned horn of Vito Price. It features Price in big band and small group settings, on ballads and blues, up-tempo and medium tempo approaches.

If you've purchased this LP, the Argo Records management will be pleased. If you've read this far, I'll be pleased. But if you enjoy this LP, Vito Price would like to know. Drop him a card it his home—561 Arlington Place, Chicago 14, ILL. After all, a little encouragement can't do any harm.” 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Insistent Eric Ineke

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Jazz drummers play time differently.

Some imply time by playing it more lightly while others really emphasize it or “step on it.”

Some drummers play time in a driving, very aggressive manner while others choose a more laid-back approach.

Time can be punctuated with "bombs" and “poly-rhythms” or not interrupted at all by such accents.

The most obvious stylistic examples would be to compare the Swing Era time-keeping of Gene Krupa to that of Max Roach during the Bebop Era to the current styles of Jazz drumming which have been largely influenced by Elvin Jones and Tony Williams.

If the music is very arranged with the instrumentalists playing lots of notes, then a busy drummer would probably not be welcomed in it.

On the other hand, if the music has a great deal of open space, playing more figures or accents behind the time to fill-in might be appropriate.

Other than the cardinal principles of not rushing or dragging, there is no set way for a drummer to go about playing time.

It’s all in how your hear time or, if you will, how you “feel” it.

As drummers develop their own approach to playing time, they tend to build affinities with other drummers who share their view of how time should feel and sound.

The sound part of the equation has to do with choice of cymbals, how the drums are tuned, and how and where accents, fills and solos are played.

While we certainly have undying admiration for the more technical style of time-keeping evidenced by Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson and Joe Morello, and although we had close proximity over the years for observing the approaches of Shelly Manne, Mel Lewis and Stan Levey, we have always had a preference for the time-keeping of Philly Joe Jones and its current exponent, Kenny Washington.

Here’s Philly JJ at work: 

Kenny Washington is the drummer on numerous CerraJazz LTD videos:

Another of our favorite drummers playing in the style of Philly Joe Jones is Eric Ineke.

Eric is based in Holland and we first heard his work on a 1981 Criss Cross recording by the late Jazz guitarist, Jimmy Raney, and subsequently on recordings by Dutch Jazz pianist Rein de Graaff, alto saxophonist Herb Geller, who has been based in Germany for many years, and soprano saxophonist David Liebman.

Eric keeps time in a manner that is best described as Philly Joe Jones-lite.

Like Philly, his time-keeping is very insistent, but his accents, background figures and fills are more spaced-out.

He’s not as busy as Philly which serves to make his time-keeping sound even more firm and resolute.

Since 2006, Eric has been leading his own quintet, The JazzXpress, in which his driving time-keeping can be heard in support of some of Holland’s finest, young Jazz musicians: Rik Mol on trumpet and flugelhorn, Sjoerd Dijkhuizen on tenor saxophone, Rob van Bavel on piano and bassist and bass guitarist, Marius Betts.

The JazzXpress’ latest CD is entitled Xpressions in Time [Daybreak DBCHR 75358] and the crackerjack graphics production team at CerraJazz LTD has developed two videos around audio tracks from the album.

The first of these, Marius Beets’ Boppa [named after the bassist’s son’s baby rhinoceros plush toy], is used in conjunction with a tribute to Jaap van de Kamp’s photographic essay – One Night Stand: Jazzconcerten in Nederland, 1947-1967. See if your ears can pick up Eric switching ride cymbals behind Rob van Bavel’s piano solo beginning at minutes.

And the same group, this time with Marius on bass guitar, is featured in the following video on Beets’ original composition Aotearoa which has Eric tastefully playing tympani mallets on his drum kit.

At the conclusion of this feature, you will find a video tribute to Eric which includes as its audio track Body Movement, an original composition by Sjoerd Dijkhuizen and Marius Beets which is set to the changes of Body and Soul.

© -Jeroen de Valk, March 2009 - copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“On November 11968, a 21-years old Dutch carpet salesman and part-time drummer decided to become a full-time musician. His life had become busier and busier, with gigs backing various soloists - among them Hank Mobley - at night and working in his brother's Persian carpet store during the day.

When he was offered a job with the Storktown Dixie Kids, an Eddie Condon-like swing band with an interesting touring schedule, he knew he could quit his day job and concentrate on the music. In 1971, he joined pianist Rein de Graaff's trio, with whom he still accompanies visiting Americans.

His name was Eric Ineke. He entered the music business when jazz was suffering from the British invasion - The Beatles and the Stones were big then, anc jazz's popularity had diminished dramatically - but he managed to survive, playing concerts. "I never did a lot of studio work. I want to be on stage and play; that's what I live for," Ineke states in his fortieth year as a musician.

Ineke soon earned a reputation as a multi-faceted musician - "I play bebop, hard bop and beyond" - with a boundless enthusiasm. On top of that he's a solid professional who's always on time wherever the gig may be and who never complains about life 'on the road.' "Recently, I drove 600 miles from my home in The Hague for one gig with my own band in Jazzclub Unterfahrt in Munich. No big deal. As long as I car play, I’m just fine."

In those forty years, his groove became deeper and deeper. "I also learned to leave open space, I learned when not to play. And Elvin Jones taught me you don't have to pound away at the beat all the time; when I take an eight-bar solo, you may not notice the amount of bars while I'm at it, but I'll play the exact length of those eight bars."

He took some lessons with John Engels, the country's premier drummer. "He gave me Philly Joe Jones' LP Big Band Sounds, which was a real eye-opener. I was crazy about Philly's phrasing."

In his first years on the road, Dexter Gordon and Johnny Griffin were very helpful. "Dexter wanted me to play like Kenny Clarke, in an earlier style than of Elvin's. While backing him, my time became stronger. I had to be on top of the bear constantly because his time was extremely laid-back. Johnny Griffin asked me to play strong accents with the bass drum. 'Like AT' he said, referring to Art Taylor. I really paid my dues working with Griffin... He would count off an incredible up-­tempo, then let the pianist play chorus after chorus, and when you thought: 'I'm exhausted,' he would finally start his own solo and make the whole band burn even more."

Eric Ineke is mostly self-taught, but is a teacher now himself. For over twenty years he has been teaching young jazz drummers at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and the Koorenhu’s, a music school in his home town.

After accompanying an encyclopedia's worth of jazz giants -  just go to, click on 'biography' and then on 'people'  - he started leading bands himself. In 1999, Eric became the co-leader of a band with young pianist Wolfert Brederode. "Wolfert said that I should be billed as a co-leader, after having contributed so much to the band."

In 2006, Eric Ineke's JazzXpress came about. "While driving to a gig with David Liebman in Antwerp, Belgium, Dave said it was about time I started my own hard bop group. 'You should do this, and ask some good youngsters.' That night, Marius Beets was on bass and tenor saxophonist Sjoerd Dijkhuizen came by. Marius said: This is what we've been waiting for!' Sjoerd immediately asked if he could be part of it. Of course he could!"

For the piano chair Eric asked Rob van Bavel, with whom he had developed 'a great rhythmic rapport' after they both had been part of the Piet Noordijk Quartet and the high-energy Jarmo Hoogendijk/Ben van den Dungen Quintet. Young trumpet sensation Rik Mol - just 22 while I'm writing this - was recommended by his former teacher Jarmo Hoogendijk, who had to retire from stage because of a lip injury.

The band's name was made up by Eric's fellow musicians. "They decided that my name should be part of it, and they invented the word Xpress, with the capital X. It looks good on jazz club and festival posters."

Later that same year, the band's first CD was issued: Flames 'n' Fire, on Fred Dubiez's Daybreak Records. "We did compositions I grew up with, by Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter, and some tunes by band members in the same idiom: hard bop and beyond."
David Liebman wrote in his extensive liner notes: ‘Eric is one of my all time favorite drummers and the times we have played together are memorable to me. He is a first class MUSICIAN who knows what is called for at the time as well as being completely dedicated to the art form.’"

Jeroen de Valk,

March 2009

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meet Ilja Reijngoud – Jazz in Holland

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

I have a special fondness for trombone choirs.

So when trombonist Ilja Reijngoud’s Untamed World Maxanter CD [MAX 75378] arrived, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles seized upon it as an opportunity to ask the crackerjack graphics team at CerraJazz LTD to develop the following video tribute to Ilja and his music as part of its ongoing Jazz in Holland series.

In addition to his own group, Ilja can be heard on many of the recordings of the Metropole Orchestra and the Metropole Orchestra Big Band where he is a resident member of this famous Netherlands-based musical aggregation.

Ilja also has his own website where you can locate more detailed biographical and discographical information.

Joining Ilya on his original composition entitled Running on Eggshells are fellow trombonists Bart van Lier, Jörgen van Rijen, Jan Oosting, Evert Josemanders Lode Mertens and Martin van den Berg [bass trombone]. They are supported by a rhythm section featuring Martijn van Iterson [guitar] Rob van Bavel [keyboards], Marius Beets [bass] and Marcel Serierse [drums].

And here’s another version of the tune, this time with Ilja fronting a quartet with van Iterson, Beets [pronounced “Bates”] and Serierse.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Remembering Eddie Costa [1930-1962]

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Phil Woods, the great alto saxophonist once said of Jazz: “A lot of people have died for this music.”

This was a somewhat less than oblique reference to the scourge of drugs that took the lives of too many young Jazz musicians all too soon.

While drugs were an indisputable source of the premature deaths of a number of Jazz musicians, another was automobile accidents.

The brilliant trumpeter Clifford Brown was lost in a fatal car crash in 1956.

In 1961, Scott LaFaro, a bassist whose intonation, ideas, and dazzling ability to get around the instrument continues to influence Jazz bassists to this day was killed in upstate New York when his car skidded off the road and hit a pole.

And then in 1962, the promising career of pianist and vibraphonist Eddie Costa was cut short due to an auto accident on the West Side Highway in New York City.

You can hear what Chris Sheridan described as a “bustling, rumbling” piano style on the audio track to the following video tribute to Eddie on which he performs Harold Arlen’s Get Happy along with bassist Vinnie Burke and drummer Nick Stabulas.

Leonard Feather described Eddie as “a hard-driving, percussive player who … employed an unusual [for the time] octave-unison style.”

As Chris Sheridan further elaborates in his insert notes to the Fresh Sounds reissue of Eddie first album on Jubilee [LP-1025, Fresh Sound FS-129]: “Get Happy is a sharply-etched example of Costa’s predilection for driving inventions played almost totally below middle C; elsewhere, the phrasing is stubbier, like necklaces of recast thematic fragments.”

If, as has been claimed, most drummers are frustrated piano players; could this "percussive" style be why I have always had an affinity for Eddie’s playing?

Whatever the reason, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles wanted to remember Eddie by featuring some of his music on these pages.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chick Corea & Clint Eastwood – Soul men

"People have their own taste and the basic freedom to change it at any given moment," … [Chick] said. "I do not consider someone who likes one color one day and another the next fickle. That's the challenge when you are presenting people with your ideas. It takes guts and intelligence to change your mind in public.

"Here's what I have to offer today and here's how I put it across. I don't like to be forced into one bag or another. Music is a process rather than one song or an album. One offering is only a part of a stream of offerings."

… [Chick]  mentioned that he was painting now. It was only a hobby but obviously important to him. Although he didn't seem to realize it, his explanation of what painting meant to him explained his relationship to music as well:

"I find myself always looking at light and color and shading,. I am always looking for a way to frame the environment, to put it into perspective."

- Chick Corea from an interview with Mike Zwerin -

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

The editorial staff at JazzProfiles has long had in mind to do a feature on Chick Corea, but we truly had no idea where to begin it, let alone, how to develop it.

I mean, how do you go about doing a profile on a - “Chick Corea [who] is one of the most prodigious performers and prolific composers of our time. The recipient of 15 Grammy Awards and nominated a total of 51 times, Chick Corea is best known for his work with Return to Forever, Origin, the Elektric Band, his duo with Gary Burton and his numerous super trios and quartets. Corea has been a transformative force in music for over 40 years and has worked in many styles and genres, with musicians from the jazz, classical and pop music worlds.”

How does one wrap ones arms around such a Giant?

Put another way, Chick’s music has kept coming into my life, but I have always hesitated to write about it because I am not an expert on its comprehensiveness.  If anything, there’s more about it that I’m not familiar with.

Then, two things happened that led to this feature on Chick and the related videos.

The first was that I went back to why I started this blog in the this first place and that was to write about my impressions of Jazz musicians and to make every effort to be interesting, honest, and accurate [including crediting the work of others where appropriate]while doing so.

So what follows is not in anyway an inclusive retrospective of Chick’s music, but rather, some comments [by me and others] regarding aspects of it that I have found enjoyable while listening to it over the past forty plus years.

The second “inspiration” for this piece was Geoff Boucher’s article on film director Clint Eastwood that appeared in the Thursday, September 9, 2010 Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times.

The lead-in photograph for Mr. Boucher’s piece entitled Soul man has been modified to serve a similar purpose for our feature on Chick.

Mr. Boucher’s article concerns Mr. Eastwood’s new film, Hereafter, which is his 32nd film as a director. Its premier was at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday, September 12, 2010.

In the article, Mr. Eastwood is quoted as saying: “At the age I am now [80], I just don’t have any interest in going back and doing the same sort of thing over and over, that’s one of the reasons I moved away from Westerns.

Although Chick will “only” be turning 70 in 2011, Mr. Eastwood’s comment about not wanting to do the same things “over and over” was the responsive chord [pun intended] that led to my writing this piece about him.

Given the breadth and depth of Chick Corea’s music over the past 40+ years or so, the last thing that anyone could say about it was that he was doing the same thing “over and over” again.

This is also what makes it so difficult to write a retrospective about a career that encompasses so many distinct and diverse style of music.

If there is any truth in the axiom that we are either constantly, busy being born or busy dying, then Chick Corea has been in a constant state of Creation over the past four decades+.

If you try to take a quick look at Chick’s music by going to The Penguin Guide to Jazz of CD, 6th edition you soon realize that there is no way to quickly comprehend the magnitude of his output as it encompasses pages 332 – 337 of Richard Cook and Brian Morton’s tome. And it is printed in the most miniscule of font sizes!

You could try, but here, too, the list of Chick’s recordings seems to go on forever [“forever” being an interesting choice of words to associate with him].

The other immediate, observable fact about Chick’s music is that it is always changing which puts it in what Duke Ellington referred to as “beyond category.”

Much like Mr. Eastwood, Chick is simply not interested in “going back and doing the same thing over and over.”

The fact that Chick’s music is continually evolving is difficult for some Jazz purists to accept and many of them have also had a hard time with the fact that Chick has been a commercial success over the years.

If you have ever tried to feed a family while working as a professional musician, then all you can say about Chick’s financial viability is – de salute! – more power to you. I never found anything particularly glamorous about the hunger part of being a “starving musician.”

Chick first came to my attention in the 1960s as one of a troika of young pianists that captured every Jazz fan’s attention in that decade: McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Chick.

McCoy’s fame began with his stint with tenor saxophonist John Coltrane’s quartet, while Herbie and Chick made it to the big time courtesy of their involvement with Miles Davis’ various acoustic and electronic bands of that decade [and beyond].

From 1968 – 1970, Chick appeared with Miles on four of his most iconic albums: Filles de Kilimanjaro, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew and Miles Davis at the Fillmore.

“My time” with Chick in the 1960s began when he was with trumpeter Blue Mitchell’s quintet and you can sample some of the music that they made together in the following video which uses as its audio track Chick’s Tune [a Corea original based on the changes to You Stepped Out of a Dream]. Junior Cook is on tenor saxophone and Gene Taylor [b] and Al Foster [d] make up the rhythm section [Al Foster trades some monster 8 bar breaks with Junior and Blue beginning at 7:49 minutes].

Thereafter, I followed Chick’s music through a variety of his recordings including Tones for Jones Bones – 1968, Captain Marvel – 1972, on which he appears as a member of tenor saxophonist Stan Getz’s quartet, his excursions into Jazz-Rock fusion with Return to Forever – 1970s, the duo albums with Gary Burton in the 1980’s, his Three Quartets album with tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker [1981] and the various iterations of his “Akoustic” trio and band in the 1980s and 1990s.

When I listen to Chick’s music, whatever the context, I always experience a very high level of musical satisfaction be it as a result of his pianism, his interesting compositions or the ever-changing musical contexts in which he places them.

Put another way, the guy can really play the piano and his writing is always engrossing: it doesn’t take much of an effort before I’m caught up in both.

Chick’s music takes me on an adventure. I may not always know where the quest is taking me, but I always enjoy the trip.

It’s also fun to play,  I was the drummer in a rehearsal band that featured arrangements of two of his compositions – Spain and La Fiesta – and everybody in the band had a blast playing on these tunes. Their song structures are so rich and vibrant and, as you would imagine from their titles, rhythmically engaging, as well. As Doug Ramsey put it: “La Fiesta” is becoming a minor anthem among high school and college bands.” [Jazz Matters, p. 124, paraphrase]

“Corea is a pianist and composer of remarkable range and energy, combing free-ish Jazz idiom with a heavy Latin component and an interest in more formal structure.”

This capsulation of Chick’s style by Richard Cook & Brian Morton in their Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, 6th Ed. is spot-on as to what is on offer with the music of Armando “Chick” Corea.

Yet, in some ways, it barely scratches the surface of what his music encompasses.

As usual, words are a poor substitute for the music itself, so I would urge you to return to the book by Messer’s Cook and Morton and help yourself to a healthy sampling of the titles of Chick’s recordings and take your own adventure through the music world of Chick Corea.

If you have an interest in new and different musical adventures, then CoreaMusic is the place to be. 

Once there, you’ll find a healthy mixture of melody, harmony and rhythm, as well as, “texture” that ingredient that gives great music a certain, something extra.

As defined by the author Robert Harris of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

“The texture of any given music is often the embodiment of the culture and society in which it was written. Music does not exist in a vacuum. It is part and parcel of a social, political and cultural world, a world that can brought to life by music.”

I can think of no composer-performer whose music is more evocative of the flavor of the times in terms of American music over the past forty years than that of Chick Corea’s.

It’s all there: straight-ahead, hard-bop, modal, scalar, fusion, trio Jazz, Latin Jazz, chamber group Jazz - which is why you can be assured that, in visiting the Musical World of Chick Corea, you won’t hear the same thing over and over again!

The sound track on the following video tribute to Chick is Duke Pearson’s arrangement of Corea’s Tones for Joan's Bones which Bob Blumenthal described as “a masterpiece.  The performance is set-up by [Jerry] Dodgion’s dramatic flute introduction, which yields to the exceptional melody. While the structure is an asymmetrical 44 bars [I would diagram it ABCADE, with the D section only four bars long], it is totally logical.”

The cut is from trumpeter Blue Mitchell’s Boss Horn CD and, in addition to Dodgion on flute and Chick on piano, it features Julian Priester [tb], Junior Cook [ts], Pepper Adams [bs], Gene Taylor [b] and Mickey Roker [d].

Perhaps a good way to conclude this brief look at the Musical World of Chick Corea is with the following quotation from Miles Davis:

“Chick Corea can play anything he wants to play, just like me. He’s a music-lover, you know.” [Miles to Sy Johnson, quoted in Jack Chambers, Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles Davis, V. II, p. 141]

Now if I could just figure out a way to have Chick write the music to Clint Eastwood’s next movie, I would have developed a perfect ending for this piece.

On the other hand, our thanks to Clint [and to Geoff Boucher] for providing a source of inspiration to share some thoughts about Chick and his music.