Judge Steve Evans likes to think of this disc as "Tones for Steve's Bones."
"I decided when I was a young man to make it as my primary policy to always keep myself interested and challenged with music."—Chick Corea
Renowned jazz pianist and nine-time Grammy award-winner Chick Corea jams with vibes master Gary Burton on another beautifully produced DVD from the Montreux Jazz Festival series. Eagle Rock continues to deliver superb and attractively priced music discs drawn from the famous jazz festival in Switzerland.
Corea and Burton have collaborated both on albums and in concert for nearly 40 years. This DVD showcases their 1997 gig at Montreux, highlighting the album Native Sense. They close the show with a crowd-pleasing rendition of "La Fiesta," a Corea standard.
Corea has worked with many of the titans of jazz, beginning nearly half a century ago with Cab Calloway and continuing with Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, and, perhaps most memorably, with trumpeter Miles Davis. Corea worked with Davis on five albums in three years (1968-70 with the Bitches Brew group), culminating with a gig at the legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Festival (a superb DVD document of The Who performing at the festival that year is also available and comes highly recommended). Through the '70s Corea collaborated frequently with Burton and fusion master Herbie Hancock (known among film buffs for composing the memorable scores to Blowup and Death Wish).
When it's time to chill and enjoy a little mellow jazz, this is the disc to spin. Burton's exquisite skill on the vibraphones beautifully complements Corea's intricate melodies on piano. Their interplay is inspired and easily represents some of the best work either musician has produced.
Corea is a crossover jazz artist who has evolved through be-bop and "cool" styles, into free jazz and jazz-rock fusion. In later years he would return to Latin and classical influences that marked his early career in the late 1950s. This disc features lean and precise piano playing, with less emphasis on the extended, indulgent noodling that plagues some of Corea's older recordings. Improvisation can be magical or maddening; it's all a matter of degrees.
Discs in the Live at Montreux series do not come with extras, but they are ridiculously affordable. Eagle Rock also tricks out each release with a choice of three audio options—Dolby 5.1, DTS, or PCM stereo. This is a handy feature for music lovers, as multiple audio platforms mean the disc sounds great whether played in the home theater or on the road with a notebook computer and quality headphones. Video is impeccable.
Free jazz aficionados will find a lot to like on this fine concert DVD from the music-minded folks at Eagle Rock. I have yet to be less than delighted with any of their offerings.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
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