Chick Corea/Gary Burton: Lyric Suite For Sextet (ECM 1260)

Chick Corea
Gary Burton
Lyric Suite For Sextet

Chick Corea piano
Gary Burton vibraharp
Ikwhan Bae violin
Carol Shive violin
Karen Dreyfus viola
Fred Sherry cello
Recorded September 1982 at Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles
Engineer: Bernie Kirsh
Produced by Manfred Eicher

The Lyric Suite for Sextet joins the unparalleled duo of Chick Corea and Gary Burton with string quartet for a combination soon to be repeated with the release of Hot House. Through an erratic and sometimes disjointed hall of mirrors, it explores a series of never quite fully formed ideas. The opening notes of this then unique collaboration create a thriving and exuberant sound that permeates every moment that follows. Burton’s liquid runs, especially in “Waltz” and in “Dreams,” bring forth all the music’s chambered revelry as Corea weaves nimbly through every sprung carnation left in his footfall. From the brief yet enthralling “Rollercoaster” to the ebullient “Finale,” feelings sweep us away, and are swept away by, their own intensity. But the album’s true colors come out in “Brasilia,” which opens with the gorgeous unfolding of Corea’s piano, slowly introducing water droplets of vibes and the firmer grounding of strings, which at last become a vital presence, interacting with the piano lines in a deeply internal conversation for the album’s tenderest moments. Corea’s delicacy is a wonder here.

As a concept album, the Lyric Suite is a classic to be sure, albeit one that’s difficult to put a finger on. Then again, perhaps that’s the point. And while the strings may seem a superfluous stroke alongside musicians already so lush (seeming to unify only in the album’s latter half), it is the expansiveness of vision and the infectious exuberance of the playing that may keep you returning on occasion to this curious little experiment.

<< Jan Garbarek Group: Wayfarer (ECM 1259)
>> Shankar: Vision (ECM 1261)

One thought on “Chick Corea/Gary Burton: Lyric Suite For Sextet (ECM 1260)

  1. great review… thanks for posting. anything with Corea and Burton is a cinch to sound great, I’m excited to hear how their sound mixes with a string quartet.

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