Chick Corea and Gary Burton - The New Crystal Silence


Release date: February 5th 2008

Availability: CD, MP3 Download, iTunes

The New Crystal Silence cover

The original "Crystal Silence" was a landmark album in 1972 that crossed the traditional boundaries of jazz into a wider audience without sacrificing any integrity. It also signposted the remarkable understanding between Chick Corea (piano) and Gary Burton (vibraphone).

As Pat Metheny remarks on his liner notes to the new album: "In their individual careers, they had both been able to successfully advance the reach of jazz itself into the culture at large in ways that the major innovators of each generation are uniquely called on to do…… Yet their meeting as duet partners represented still another conceptual advance…. their duo instantly became one of the best bands in the world, and has continued as such for 35 years".

With the release of "The New Crystal Silence" that partnership is shown to be as robust and creative as ever in this fine 'live' double album.

The first disc features a concert at Sydney Opera House Concert Hall recorded on May 10th and 12th 2007. Reflecting on how to respond to the invitation to play with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Chick Corea took the wise decision to enlist Tim Garland to make symphonic arrangements of five of Chick Corea's songs ("Duende", "Love Castle", "Brasilia" "Crystal Silence" and "La Fiesta", the first song that Chick Corea and Gary Burton ever played together). Tim Garland's arrangements are nothing like his recent innovatory concerto grosso work "Momentum" with Graham Fitkin (and performed with a band that featured Geoffrey Keezer, John Patitucci and Joe Locke) instead here being based on a more conventional, sometimes filmic, orchestral sound with strings to the fore. Yet this is largely in keeping with the intentions of Chick Corea's compositions, especially since the orchestra is often used sparingly and the piano/vibes duet is allowed to remain at centre stage. Stand out tracks are "Brasilia" where the orchestra plays edgy somewhat dissonant themes over the rhythm set up by piano and vibes and "Crystal Silence" where the piano/vibes duet is accompanied by sparse and effective orchestration.

The duo alone is featured on the second disc, recorded on July 17th 2007 at the Molde music festival, Norway (with one track "Senor Mouse" added from a concert in Tenerife on July 13th). There are five more Chick Corea compositions ("Bud Powell", Alegria", "No Mystery", "Senor Mouse" and "La Fiesta") and in additon versions of Bill Evans' "Waltz For Debby", the Gershwin brothers' "I Loves You Porgy" and the Amheim/Daniels/Tobias standard "Sweet And Lovely". This is a challenging yet intimate programme that brings out the real quality of their musicianship and the depth of understanding between them.

A fine album. Highly recommended.

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