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ghost of miles

RIP Chick Corea

190 posts in this topic

On 13.2.2021 at 7:50 PM, AllenLowe said:

whatever the argument is here, it's fascinating to me that when I listen to two particular pianists whose careers veered all over the place - Kieth Jarrett and now Corea - I find their earliest work the best. It's as though they could hear and play too much, and in their early days they just did what they felt without getting so self conscious about it. But this Corea solo is extraordinary - actually reminds me of late '40s Hank Jones. And I am not a big Corea fan.

My thoughts exactly. Corea as a fusion bandleader never convinced me.

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3 hours ago, mikeweil said:

My thoughts exactly. Corea as a fusion bandleader never convinced me.

Do you count the two first RTF albums from 1972 as "fusion"? Those are two of my favourite albums of any style.

When it comes to comparsions between Jarrett and Corea, there is a difference in approach that cannot be overstated in my opinion; Jarrett always seemed to be in pain (the suffering artist?) whereas Corea seemingly found joy in any musical context. This is unjustly used to sometimes belittle the "value" of Corea's contributions to music. I can understand why nobody, except maybe scholars, would want to own 100+ albums, some of which are failed experiments or just goofy one way or another, but I find a lot more sameness to Jarrett's huge recorded output. Not to say that it is not sometimes brilliant, but overall less exciting to listen to (to me).

Edited by Daniel A

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37 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Do you count the two first RTF albums from 1972 as "fusion"? Those are two of my favourite albums of any style.

When it comes to comparsions between Jarrett and Corea, there is a difference in approach that cannot be overstated in my opinion; Jarrett always seemed to be in pain (the suffering artist?) whereas Corea seemingly found joy in any musical context. This is unjustly used to sometimes belittle the "value" of Corea's contributions to music. I can understand why nobody, except maybe scholars, would want to own 100+ albums, some of which are failed experiments or just goofy one way or another, but I find a lot more sameness to Jarrett's huge recorded output. Not to say that it is not sometimes brilliant, but overall less exciting to listen to (to me).

So count me in the “love pre-1974 Corea, mixed feelings about post-1974 Corea” camp but... I agree with a lot of your assessment, Jarrett’s increasingly monochromatic career during the last 45 years is not a good thing

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2 hours ago, Daniel A said:

 

On 2/13/2021 at 6:15 AM, Dmitry said:

 

On 2/13/2021 at 6:15 AM, Dmitry said:

 

On 2/12/2021 at 5:30 PM, bresna said:

 

On 2/12/2021 at 5:30 PM, bresna said:

 

Oh, it's easy to have 2022 opinions about Corea's and Jarrett's differences and arcs, REAL easy.

It was also easy in 1972, but it looked a WHOLE lot different then.

A lot can happen over 50 years!

 

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I will stand by my opinion that Corea seemed like a happy musician in 1972 as well as in 2020, but it is not apparent to me when Jarrett was happy.

While it is also true that I don't know when Kenny Dorham was a happy musician I still like a lot of his music. But in the case of Jarrett the strain, or whatever you want to call it, gets in the way for me. As a contrast, I feel enriched by listening to a lot of Corea's recordings from all parts of his carreer.

(That said, I will probably never like the Elektric Band...)

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We're all different. I really like a lot of Corea's work, but I listen to Jarrett about ten times more!

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53 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Oh, it's easy to have 2022 opinions about Corea's and Jarrett's differences and arcs, REAL easy.

It was also easy in 1972, but it looked a WHOLE lot different then.

A lot can happen over 50 years!

 

I demand a personal retort to my post! None of that drive-by crap.

Thank you.

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I tend to agree with Allen Lowe and Mike Weil. Corea's fusion music did not appeal to me. But to be fair, I never cared for fusion jazz in general, with only very few exceptions.

Not sure why, but other than Corea's playing with Blue Mitchell &  Now He Sings..., and - Tone For Joans Bones, very little of his music really reached me beyond the surface. Though I have some of his trio and solo albums, I rarely play them, and when I do, they tend to  slightly disappoint me. I could make a very very lengthy list of albums by jazz piano players I would rather  listen to before Corea.

 

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2 minutes ago, Dmitry said:

I demand a personal retort to my post! None of that drive-by crap.

Thank you.

We're having power outages here so I'm having to post on my cell phone exclusively. so what's happening is is that anybody that I started to quote on this thing the quote doesn't go away on until it ends up being posted. I'll clean it up when the power comes back on and the PC is back up.

All I was thinking about commenting on was your comment that the chick was like the "last" type of whatever it was you said he was I think that's the monster bleeding not true. One of the last yes but there's still others around.

 

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Oh, it's easy to have 2022 opinions about Corea's and Jarrett's differences and arcs, REAL easy.

It was also easy in 1972, but it looked a WHOLE lot different then.

A lot can happen over 50 years!

 

When I listened to Jarrett's wondrous "Expectations" album ca. 1972, I never expected he would eventually go the direction(s) he did.  That album seemed to open up so many fresh avenues for him, not just a rut of endless solo noodlings (masterful as they may be), standards rebakes  (masterful as they may be), and the occasional pseudo-classical snoozer.  Even throughout most of the 70's, he seemed vital, with the two quartets fleshing out very different personalities.   Then it just suddenly stopped.  I still listen, but not with the great sense of anticipation I did 45 years ago.

Edited by felser

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Been listening to some of Corea's work from the 00's - The Ultimate Adventure & To the Stars and I'm digging it. Consistently engaging compositions and playing. I'm guessing  a lot of this work was overlooked back when it was released. 

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49 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

We're all different. I really like a lot of Corea's work, but I listen to Jarrett about ten times more!

Opposite ratio here, but I guess one way to look at it is that I still have discoveries ahead of me. Let's hope we all do!

I don't think I have much to add to this thread, but let me conclude with a brief story from the solo concert I attended in 2018. The first half was what you would expect from a solo recital, but Corea's playing was of very high quality. I have heard greater moments on recordings, but it was really a good show.

The second half was more adventurous. He invited a couple of members of the audience on stage to play "portraits" of their faces. It didn't come off as a gimmick, but more like he actually was inspired to do some great, free improvisation. One of the people was an American - unclear if he was an expatriate or a tourist - who I heard prior to the concert telling the people around him in a loud voice about all greats he had heard live. He had a specific requirement, "I want it to be in B flat". Corea seemed a little disturbed and said something to the effect that "that is not the way it works, we'll see what comes out". After what sounded like a bi-tonal improvisation he (Corea) said "well, it ended in B. That's *almost* B flat",

He also asked if anyone wanted to play with him. Seated at the first row, I was quick to volunteer. Though I play jazz, I am no professional. However, he was open and generous as a playing partner, both inspiring me to play better and also building on that to create something more out of it. It all seemed very sincere, I had fun, he seemed to have fun - even the audience! You could tell that the audience was in good spirits when we all finally left after several encores.

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56 minutes ago, felser said:

When I listened to Jarrett's wondrous "Expectations" album ca. 1972, I never expected he would eventually go the direction(s) he did.  That album seemed to open up so many fresh avenues for him, not just a rut of endless solo noodlings (masterful as they may be), standards rebakes  (masterful as they may be), and the occasional pseudo-classical snoozer.  Even throughout most of the 70's, he seemed vital, with the two quartets fleshing out very different personalities.   Then it just suddenly stopped.  I still listen, but not with the great sense of anticipation I did 45 years ago.

Yeah, although it was surely due in part to label synergy, the Burton/Jarrett record was from 197 0 and was pretty popular. 1970!

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Actually I recalculate that I probably listen to Jarrett 20 to 30 times more.

 

Edit to add:  I really enjoy the solo work, listen to the Trio more often, and not just for Jarrett but for Pacock and DeJohnette as well.

Edited by jazzbo

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On 2/13/2021 at 11:54 AM, Mark Stryker said:

Disagree: I don't think it's at all true that Chick entered the scene as a fully formed player. Perhaps that's a chimera created by his first records as a leader in 1966 and '68.

But Chick came to New York at age 18 in the fall of 1959. His first record dates (Santamaria & Bobo) were not until three years later, and if you listen to Chick on "Stitt Goes Latin" -- try the "Amigos" linked below -- from 11/63 (four years after arriving in NY) he's still a LONG way from being fully formed. There's still undigested Bud in here and his time feel is way behind the beat, whereas mature Chick is much more on top of the time. He starts recording more in 1964 and certainly by July of that year when he records "Chick's Tune" with Blue Mitchell, he's well on his way to being himself -- that quick flick of the wrist and rhythmic stutter at the start of the piano solo is unmistakably Chick. But even on the shuffle blues "March on Selma" with Mitchell a year later in July '65, the piano comping and soloing sounds like it's part McCoy and part Herbie in their down home modes.

The big leap forward to me judging by the records is between 1965 and '66, because by the time you get to his debut as a leader, "Tones For Joan's Bones" in Nov '66, what you're hearing is Chick Corea as we know him. But that record is a full 7 (!) years after coming to NY. Contrast that with Tony Williams, who really did sound fully formed at age 17, when he made his first records in the winter and spring of 1963 with Jackie McLean, K.D., Herbie, and Miles. Or Joe Henderson who is already fully formed on first recorded appearance on K.D.s "Una Mas." (The track "Straight Ahead" is already peak Joe.)

It is true that "Tones For Joan's Bones" is an astonishing debut record, even in an era of remarkable debuts, and the one-two punch of "Tones" plus his sophomore record "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs," might be unequaled in terms of the  authority, vision, and maturity of  the first two records as a leader out of the gate in the LP era.. (I'd be curious to hear who folks feel would also be on this particular short list of the first two records as a leader.) 

 

 

I really dig Thad's post bop playing on this LP, before he formed the Big Band with Mel. A trumpet player friend of mine said the reason why he got a different sound than other trumpet players was because he used a cornet.. He gets that pinpoint, precise, attacked sound that is different than any trumpet player I've heard, but they list him as playing trumpet. I'm confused.

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1 hour ago, sgcim said:

I really dig Thad's post bop playing on this LP, before he formed the Big Band with Mel. A trumpet player friend of mine said the reason why he got a different sound than other trumpet players was because he used a cornet.. He gets that pinpoint, precise, attacked sound that is different than any trumpet player I've heard, but they list him as playing trumpet. I'm confused.

Probably was cornet., and Morris Levy couldn't be bothered with such distinctions.

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I think those who are a bit dismissive of Corea's late work are really sleeping on the trio work.  What Corea did in pretty straightforward trios--whether Vitous and Haynes (sometimes adventurous), the "new trio," Gomez and Motian, McBride and Blade--is as good or better than what anyone else has done in this vein over the past 40 years.  Just an opinion.

I don't think I've heard much (if anything) about the duets with Gary Burton--a significant and very long-running strand in Corea's career.  Nice stuff, although I would take the trios first.

 

 

Edited by Milestones

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To me, Chick is almost always an artist where you can't judge the contents by the cover. He had some of the worst album covers I've ever seen, but more times than not I dig the music. This one from the early 00's fits the terrible cover/good music pattern. Much better sounding on real speakers than laptop or phones because you can get the bass and some of the lower notes he's playing. 

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I kind of grew up with both Corea and Jarrett. I listened to Is and ARC many, many times, Altshul's playing on the latter was a big stimulus to start playing myself. I see Corea as still searching for his musical identity back then, but it is quite a stretch from Is and Circle to the electric RTF, which I saw live and found too calculated and bombastic. He lost me back then. When he reunited with Vitous and Haynes, I liked that, but all the other stuff left me cold. 

The only Jarrett I still listen to is the band with Redman. I find the trio uninspiring and repetitive, and his solos not that special after I heard a local amateur pianist improvise in that style at will during a rehearsal. His attitude bordering on the arrogant spoiled the rest fro me, just as did Corea's involvement with Scientology, which does not seem to be a big issue in the US fan scene. 

I respect them both, of course. May Corea rest in peace, he sure found his way, it seems to me.

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10 minutes ago, mikeweil said:

His attitude bordering on the arrogant spoiled the rest fro me, just as did Corea's involvement with Scientology, which does not seem to be a big issue in the US fan scene

The amounts spent on PR to bolster and soften their image has certainly helped this. This group now has their own permanent channel in many television packages, and if I'm not mistaken there may be a feature on Corea aired semi-regularly. Most don't know about the private navy that ventures out into international waters where anything goes, close ties to the intelligence community, etc., in addition to the interpersonal stuff like shunning friends/family. No idea what the awareness level of this is in Europe and elsewhere in the world but you're right, doesn't seem like a big deal to many here. I have to completely separate that stuff from his music when I listen to it, which sometimes isn't easy. 

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57 minutes ago, Dub Modal said:

I have to completely separate that stuff from his music when I listen to it, which sometimes isn't easy. 

Yeah, there is that...and it's unfortunate. But there's almost by definition a connection between " communication" and "manipulation"...if you want to manipulate me to buy a record, fair enough. If you want to manipulate me to consider a broader worldview, thank you for caring. But if you want to manipulate me for the purpose of overt prosthelization..advertise it as such, like Gospel or some such.

To be fair, I haven't noticed anything like that at the casual fan level that I've been at for quite a while now. And I've know a few people that joined and did just fine. But there are the others...

What any of that has to do with Chick Cores, I don't know, and I don't know if I should care. But...

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I was waiting for the Scientology part to come up in this thread.

The nicest thing I can say is that among Scientologist performers of all kinds, Chick was way less objectionable than Tom Cruise.

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Just now, Dan Gould said:

I was waiting for the Scientology part to come up in this thread.

The nicest thing I can say is that among Scientologist performers of all kinds, Chick was way less objectionable than Tom Cruise.

yeah, agree. The actors seem way worse.

that said, I was consigning records to a shop in Austin and wrote the descriptions myself, including one for a Tony Williams Lifetime album in which I wrote "get a taste of fusion without the Scientology payout" or something like that, and it was flagged for removal because of inappropriate content. I guess Scientologists trawl eBay looking for perceived defamation?

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12 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

I guess Scientologists trawl eBay looking for perceived defamation?

Wow. And yet somehow not surprising.

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