Chick Corea piano
Dave Holland bass
Barry Altschul percussion
Recorded January 1971 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Engineer: Kurt Rapp
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Release date: April 15, 1971
A.R.C. documents Chick Corea at the cusp of a major leap of intuition. Whether that transition was worthy of being recorded is debatable. The Wayne Shorter tune “Nefertitti” (sic) kicks things off to a grand start. Unfortunately, with the next tune, that spark seems to fade as quickly as it is ignited. With the exception of “Vedana” (Holland), the rest of the album is filled out by Corea originals which, while they may not have the same panache, do provide plenty of joyful moments…just not enough of them.
This cursory set churns out some gritty work from Holland, with Corea and Altschul also in fine form, yet overall the album lacks structure. There is little progression from one cut to the next. For instance, “Thanatos” intrigues at first with its slow fade-in until one gets a handle on the rather disjointed goings on. The subsequent fadeout comes across as formulaic and feels more like an afterthought in the studio than part of the original spirit of the piece.
Considering the shoes these three musicians had to fill, not only of their own mounting reputations but also those of the established greats with whom they had played in the recent past, their timing or energies simply may not have been on the same wavelength when this session was recorded. Still an album worth checking out, if not for its historicity, then at least for its stellar opening.
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One thought on “Corea/Holland/Altschul: A.R.C. (ECM 1009)”
First I’m seeing the original cover. Such a beautiful, classic ECM cover. I’m sure there’s some scientology iconography or something going on with the pyramid cover.