Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea
I picked up this double disc set, "An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea", last weekend at a used cd shop I cruise from time to time. How can I put this . . . Wow! Holy smokes and gee whiz! Amazing!
I got to know Herbie Hancock by "Rock It", which I believe was seminal in pop music insofar as the precedent it set for making electronica musical. Most of the 80's, with some exceptions such as Prince, never really caugtht up to it.
As I matured, though, I got familiar with Hancock's jazz roots, and, I as I explored the genre more also came across Chick Corea. I never cared much for the electronic fusion of either of them. But a couple of years ago Herbie did a tribute album with Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove, and I really enjoyed his arrangements and performance.
So I picked up this duet album - simply the two artists on piano - on a chance. It was done in the late 70's amidst a controversy among jazz enthusiasts about continuing to push the envelope of fusion versus returning to "straight forward" jazz. Each had recently cut an album whereon they "returned" to the latter, and then this tour occurred. (The album is actualy a series of concerts in California and one in Michigan.) Not only is their individual playing just fantastic, it is sbellbinding how they cooperate, dovetailing on one another's solos. And, though I know fusion is really appreciated by some as very advanced and complex, I think this album displays their artistry at its best - pure, unencumbered, and fully revealed. If you enjoy piano - jazz or otherwise - I highly recommend it.
And, as an aside, it offers an interesting workout for speakers. While I ordinarily enjoy a broad and well-blended soundstage, this recording at times reveals two very discrete channels, one piano on the left and the other on the right.