Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jazz Month: Chick Corea and Return to Forever

Chick Corea - "Light as a Feather"
1972


Coming across this album in college was like a heaven-send; "Spain" is one of his best compositions, in humble opinion, and Flora Purim's vocals give a summery, blistery fire to "500 Miles High" and the album as a whole. Stanley Clarke's bass blows away the competition, giving the kind of performance that even Jaco Pastorius' fans would be envious of about five years later. And while everything's excellent about Light as a Feather, truly, it is the main man, the piano man who shines: Chick Corea's sheer virtuosity and unwavering brilliance on electric piano is what makes him, without a doubt, the most challenging, complex, and satisfying living (jazz) pianist. The sheer density of this album is staggering, but what makes it brilliant is its simplicity; it is just as easy to pick up on the first try, and just as satisfying on the 20th spin. This is the jazz album for those who can't get into jazz (technically, it's jazz/fusion). First-class musicianship, excellent songs, and the kind of groove that doesn't require a jazz background are a few among the many reasons Light as a Feather is a Jazz Album You Must Own.

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