Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chick Corea – Tap Step

   Born in late sixties from modal jazz and harsh rock sound, in the seventies jazz rock was evolved from early sound experiments and rhythmic patterns to firmly conventionalized set of means creating whole new vocabulary of jazz. First were derived from the sixties idea of fusion between totally different worlds of musical sensitivity. Last was the collection of sound and rhythmic patterns presented on albums and concerts of dozens of performers. One of musicians who took part in jazz rock revolutionary forms of jazz-rock was Chick Corea. But he was too much creative to reside in style losing its creative momentum. In 1978 Corea had disbanded Return to Forever, but still working with its musicians he was experimenting with various line-ups and forms.
   Chick Corea was searching for best possible vehicles for his musical ideas. He always was creative, but this moment was the moment of almost complete creative freedom. No matter it was the time of Return to Forever, his Elektric Band or Akoustic Band, he was working on solo albums, various duets, jazz combos or bands with various musicians, even some recordings with symphonic orchestra and repertoire of purely classical music. The same year, in 1978 he published three great albums made with extended personnel (The Mad Hatter, Secret Agent, Friends) and double live album with Herbie Hancock In Concert. Next year he released three albums (one solo, and two in duets) and in 1980 five albums (two live recordings). These albums as well as disbanding Return to Forever can be seen as effects of Corea’s explorations. 

Chick Corea – Tap Step (1980)

   One of most significant tendencies in Chick Corea’s creative history were his experiments with various line-ups after Return to Forever. And Tap Step album was project characteristic for this period. And it was not understand by many critics, what was also typical for the moment. The open idea of this album shows various attitudes, from dance music to modal jazz and back to rhythmic and melodic diversity. It was published in 1980, two years after what was then considered as artist’s extreme activity. Variety of musicians and arrangements suggests album could be a compilation of different recordings, but nothing of the kind was happened here. Recording sessions took place in Love Castle Studio in Los Angeles between December 1979 and January 1980. Those, who looking for jazz solo players, shouldn’t be disappointed. Joe Farrell’s tenor and soprano saxes are part of sound specific for this period. Hubert Laws on flute and Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone and Also Al Vizzutti on trumpets and flugelhorns made strong appearance.
   Album is just bursting with ideas. Main contrast lies between rhythmicity and melodiousness. The title speaks for itself. As samba rhythms and cover photo of pianist with surdo drum show, percussion was the main part of featured band. Four drummers Airto Moreira, Laudir Oliveira, Tom Brechtlein and Don Alias are appearing in different settings. In The Slide Chick Corea played with all four percussionists and two bassists Bunny Brunel and Jamie Faunt and this track is undeniably rhythmic culmination of the album. Rhodes electric piano with its percussive sound emphasizes this effect. In opening Samba L.A. four vocalists Flora Purim, Gayle Moran, Shelby Flint and Nani Villa Brunel create main line of musical crowd. Lyrical and narrative soprano by Gayle Moran gives The Embrace power remembered from My Spanish Heart and The Mad Hatter. Beautiful title track Tap Step is so fresh in sound we can forget it’s quite traditional in its construction. Solos by Al Vizzutti and Joe Farrell are just perfect. Just as acoustic piano solo by Corea in Magic Carpet or his Rhodes piano and Moog synthesizer solos in The Slide. For these solos and for synergic teaming of all musicians this album is worth much more than in reviews repeated without listening. These four stars counts as a masterpiece.

No comments:

Post a Comment