Release date: April 1, 1985
In contrast to the pianism of Keith Jarrett, which always seems to be moving, Chick Corea’s (at least during this particular period, on this particular label) is marked a sensation of profound stasis, especially in his solo work. In “Where Are You Now?” (Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1, 1971), from which we hear the first of eight “Pictures,” a slow-motion twirl ensues, while “Noon Song” from the same album undermines its own brightness with a forlorn heart, as if we were the only ones privileged to hear it, dissociated form the time and location in which it was recorded. “A New Place (Scenery)” (Piano Improvisations, Vol. 2, 1972) even more deeply highlights our own separation from the creative act, which we can only regard from afar. The otherwise solo program of 1984’s Children’s Songs yields the buoyant “Addendum” with cellist Fred Sherry and violinist Ida Kavafian, which epitomizes Corea’s penchant for sudden changes, dissonant surprises, and cuttings against the grain—all designed to hold us in place. The latter album is further referenced in the cyclical “Childrens Song” from 1973’s Crystal Silence with vibraphonist Gary Burton. The duo shares more spotlight with string quartet in the cinematically inflected “Brasilia” (Lyric Suite for Sextet, 1983).
For other ensemble configurations, we look first to “Slippery When Wet” (Trio Music, 1982). Alongside bassist Miroslav Vitous (with whom she shares a “Duet Improvisation” as well) and drummer Roy Haynes, Corea unleashes an aphoristic style of rhythming, treating bursts of energy as their own compositions in miniature over the fantastic interplay of his sidemen. From trio to quintet, Corea offers us the joys of “La Fiesta” (Return To Forever, 1972) with Joe Farrell (soprano saxophone), Stanley Clarke (bass), Airto Moreira (drums and percussion), and Flora Purim (percussion). This montuno jewel fronts Farrell’s lithe soprano and Corea’s electric piano, bubbling like hope to the surface of every life that crosses its path.