Zumwalt Poems Online

chickcorea now heMI0001714558

Chick Corea:  Now He Sings, Now He Sobs

At age twenty-eight, Chick Corea had already made serious contributions on studio dates with Herbie Mann, Hubert Laws, Cal Tjader, Dave Pike, Donald Byrd, and Stan Getz often contributing arrangements as well as playing piano.  He had also recorded his first solo album in 1966, Tones for Joan’s Bones, with Woody Shaw on trumpet, which was released in April 1968.

Corea started playing piano at age four, developing not only impressive piano skills, but a passionate love for both classical and jazz music.  This mastery of the two genres is apparent in this album, the format of jazz trio working well in terms of emphasizing the piano part and facilitating optimal engagement between a small set of artists.

“Steps –  What Was” starts with piano solo soon joined by veteran Roy Haynes on drums and twenty-year old Czech classically-trained Miroslav Vitouš on acoustic bass.  The work brims with enthusiasm and freshness and, after a brief drum solo by Haynes and before a bass solo by Vitouš, is a wonderful piano-led passage that reveals an early version of Corea’s “Spain” theme.

“Matrix’ includes a brief statement of the theme and a wild ride of head-spinning improvisation, again including room for statements by Vitouš and Haynes.

The next two tracks take their title from the explanation of the third line of the  Kung Fú (Inmost Sincerity) hexagram   in the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, The I Ching, roughly translated as “Now he beats his drum, and now he leaves off. Now he weeps, and now he sings.”  These two works are very different with “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs”, being generally forward-looking, energetic and optimistic and “Now He Beats The Drum, Now He Stops” being more of a two-part composition, with the first section, a piano solo, full of reflection and inner-doubt, and the second section surging with revitalization and purpose.

The last track, “The Law Of Falling And Catching Up” is a free-jazz excursion with Corea directly accessing the strings of the grand piano.  Somewhat pointillistic and Webern-like, the piece is sweeping in texture and content yet, at under two and half minutes, compact and focused.

Track listing [from Wikipedia]

  1. “Steps – What Was”
  2. “Matrix”
  3. “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs”
  4. “Now He Beats The Drum, Now He Stops”
  5. “The Law Of Falling And Catching Up”

Personnel

 

Hugh Masekala: The Promise of the Future

Though sometimes Masekala’s work gets categorized as “Easy Listening”, this album contains some fine jazz and early world-fusion with Masekala providing quality trumpet with fine supporting musicians including uncredited folk-revival guitarist Bruce Langhorne.  Baby Boomers will recognize the instrumental  “Grazing in the Grass”, which went to the top of the charts, and was later revisited by The Friends of Distinction with added vocals.  Also notable is the reflective, meditative rendition of Traffic’s “No Face, No Name And No Number”, Miriam Makeba’s “Bajabule Bonke” and Masekala’s own “Almost Seedless.”

Track listing [From Wikipedia]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Nick AshfordValerie Simpson 2:00
2. “Madonna” Al Abreu 3:10
3. “No Face, No Name and No Number” Jim CapaldiSteve Winwood 3:26
4. “Almost Seedless” Hugh Masekela 3:36
5. “Stop” Jerry RagovoyMort Shuman 2:35
6. Grazing in the Grass Harry Elston, Philemon Hou, Hugh Masekela 2:40
7. “Vuca” (Wake Up) Hugh Masekela 3:40
8. “Bajabule Bonke” (The Healing Song) Miriam Makeba 6:25
9. “There Are Seeds To Sow” (Guitar – Bruce Langhorne) Hugh Masekela 2:25

Personnel

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Comments on: "Fifty Year Friday: Chick Corea, Hugh Masekala" (7)

  1. I didn’t first hear Corea until I bought his _Eye of the Beholder_ CD with the first Elektric Band in 1988. That was the ensemble with Dave Weckl, John Patitucci, Frank Gambale, and Eric Marienthal. They were all amazing, and went on to do _Inside Out_ in 1990. This was a tour-de-force so tight as a band that the cover image showed little men inside a pinball machine. I heard one drummer’s opinion that it was too inorganic to be humanly enjoyable (his faves were Melvin Jones and Manu Katche on drums)… Much later, I picked up _Romantic Warrior_ with Return to Forever, and immediately preferred the Elektric Band stuff. I actually liked _Inside Out_, exaggerated as it may have been, and some of the Patitucci solo CDs. It’d be hard to pick out a single favorite, but I think it’s “Peace and Quiet Time” on John’s first one (Peter Erskine on drums)… You keep reminding me that all these musicians knew each other, and that each album is rather a snapshot in a flowing, never-ending scene.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What happened to the Soft Machine then?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m more familiar with Chick Corea’s later works, especially with Return to Forever. I’ll need to check out this earlier work and Masekala’s album as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My first encounter with Corea was the Romantic Warrior album in early 1976 or so and was not until later that I started listening to earlier Chick Corea. An amazing keyboardist and musician!

      Liked by 2 people

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