Chick Corea: Trio Music, Live In Europe (ECM 1310)

 

Chick Corea
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.

4 thoughts on “Chick Corea: Trio Music, Live In Europe (ECM 1310)

  1. i attended an unforgettable concert this trio gave at london’s festival hall just prior to this recording, and of all the jazz concerts it’s been my privilege to attend, from miles to monk, via getz and MJQ, this one blazes out.
    with the benefit of almost thirty years of hindsight, this trio was playing at the very height of their collective powers; absolutely no doubt.
    i’ve attended many chick corea concerts since, the last being a marvellous concert he recently gave with his new trio at london’s barbican hall, but nothing will ever surpass the music this trio produced on that night in 84. i remember their autumn leaves interpretation above all else. simply spellbinding.
    as for this wondrous album, so brilliantly recorded in switzerland, i cannot praise it enough. for me, the 14 minutes of “summer night/night and day” rank alongside the very finest moments in modern jazz.

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful story, Rick. I read it with a mixture of envy and delight. This is an album I find myself returning to time and time again, one in response to which I am forced to shake my head in wonder at the level of synergy documented therein.

  2. Hi Tyran

    Great review per usual. I have to agree with you on the top 10 on this one. As hard or seemingly impossible it is to select a top 10 from the ECM catalog, this disc should be in it. What an amazing example of 3 musicians at their peak , just playing their hearts out. Thank you for your reviews. I am discovering gems that I would not have, but for your site.

    Thanks

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