Recording live at New York's Blue Note club, Chick Corea unveiled another new group, the challenging Origin acoustic sextet, on this CD, winnowing down some 12 sets into an hour-plus package. With Steve Davis (trombone) and Bob Sheppard and Steve Wilson (flutes and reeds) up front, Corea had a flexible horn choir to write for, and he uses mellow, urbane voicings that recall some of the Herbie Hancock Sextet's early work in the late '60s. The interplay that Avishai Cohen (bass), Adam Cruz (drums), and Corea have with the horns, though, is anything but mellow, and frequently they strike combative sparks against each other. Some of the selections, including "Double Image" (no relation to Joe Zawinul's electric jazz classic) and "Dreamless," have Latin-ish grooves – which are no strangers to Corea's Spanish heart – in spots.
To the Stars is an album by American jazz fusion group the Chick Corea Elektric Band, released on August 24, 2004 by Stretch Records. Jazz musician Chick Corea, a longtime member of the Church of Scientology, was inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction 1954 novel To the Stars. Hubbard's book tells the story of an interstellar crew which experiences the effects of time dilation due to traveling at near light speed. A few days experienced by the ship's crew could amount to hundreds of years for their friends and family back on Earth.
Aside from being legendary multiple Grammy-winning jazzmen on very different instruments, Chick Corea (piano) and Béla Fleck (the world's premier jazz banjo master) have a shared love for collaboration and the infinite improvisational possibilities their chosen idiom offers them. In some ways, the two have been preparing for this masterful, musical dialogue-driven masterpiece for over ten years. Fleck, who has always credited Corea as being one of his chief influences, invited the pianist to play on the Flecktones' Tales from the Acoustic Planet, as well as the group's live CD Live Art. Some years later, in 2001, Corea found a spot for Fleck on his Rendezvous in New York DVD. Later, they toured as a duo, making the unique recording of The Enchantment an inevitable artistic extension of their on-stage chemistry.
The second album of Elektric Band, "Light Years" is more funk-oriented than its predecessor. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal joins the band and Frank Gambale replaces Henderson and Rios (who plays still on some tracks) to form what is considered the band's definitive lineup.
Chick Corea was involved in a wide variety of projects during the early 1980s, some acoustic, others electric, and everything from solos and duets to orchestral projects. Touchstone really displays quite a bit of diversity with features for flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia, a one-song ("Compadres") reunion of Return to Forever (with guitarist Al DiMeola, bassist Stanley Clarke, and drummer Lenny White), a spot for alto-great Lee Konitz ("Duende"), and a conventional sextet outing on "Dance of Chance." A bit uneven but with its interesting moments, Touchstone is worth checking out.
This may not be the ultimate Chick Corea collection, but fans aren't likely to find a better one on video anytime soon. A near-complete portrait of the legendary pianist's non-fusion career is captured on the 10-DVD Rendezvous In New York boxed set, featuring performances from his three-week run of reunion concerts at the New York's Blue Note in 2003 to celebrate his 60th birthday. Those craving more after hearing the Grammy-nominated double-CD released that year under the same name will find the extended material equally satisfying. It also stands commendably on its own as a showcase for some of the most talented musicians from the past 25 years including Bobby McFerrin, Roy Haynes, Gary Burton, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Michael Brecker, Steve Gadd and John Patitucci.