Trio Music, Live In Europe
Chick Corea piano
Miroslav Vitous bass
Roy Haynes drums
Recorded September 1984 in Willisau and Reutlingen
Engineer: Martin Wieland
Produced by Manfred Eicher
In 1983 the Keith Jarrett trio was just getting on its feet. That shadow would prove to be a difficult one to step out of in the coming decades. But if anyone could have thrown a light onto it, it was Chick Corea, who, along with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes, emoted a live recording for the ages. Corea seems to have done much soul searching in the 70s, and on this set one hears his chrysalis crackle with uncontainable vivaciousness. After his warm intro, “The Loop” kicks off the band’s deep combinatory powers with fortitude. Vitous is a joy to experience, his rich, oblong sound surrounding us like a wooded glade, brought to the life by the rustlings of Haynes’s snare and the trickling sunlight of Corea’s keys. “I Hear A Rhapsody” cocks its ear toward rapture. Lost along the winding staircase of its motive, it is a while before we realize these musicians have been keeping us in sight all along. We are reminded of this with every shift, and in the way Corea draws Haynes into whimsical conversation. “Summer Night / Night And Day” gives us the album’s first double-header, Vitous fluttering his wings in ways few others can. From this upbeat wonder, the trio transitions seamlessly into its inverse, seeming to fill every gap in the former’s carving with glorious relief. The second double-header tears a page from the Scriabin playbook with “Prelude No. 2,” making for one of Corea’s most beautiful stretches of internal life ever committed to disc. This bleeds into the staggered breathing of “Mock Up.” Vitous solos us through “Transformation,” while “Hittin’ It” pours the light on Haynes. Eicher has done us a service in including these, for, as so often happens in jazz recordings, long solos are either cut or curtailed. Yet here they are fully fledged elements in the album’s molecular pathways. We end on “Mirovisions,” which writes an arco bass across soaring pianism before diving hawk-like into the Valley of the Groove. A colorful unraveling follows, marked by flashes of buoyancy against a thoughtful backdrop.
A perfect album from Alpha to Omega, this is one of ECM’s finest and a delightful new addition to my Top 10. Invigorating to the last.