back stage — music notes
Corea, Clarke and White
By the end of the Corea, Clarke and White show last night, my face was sore from smiling so much.....
There was something special happening on stage, and it’s the kind of magic that can only happen when master musicians get together.
Of course, Chick Corea is an inspiring player, and his piano work has always been stellar. Running through standards, some Monk, and some Return to Forever material, he is clearly a master of his instrument. One of the most distinct voices in jazz piano, Chick Corea continues to grow and enjoy making music. When he’s on stage, he seems to be having a great time. Last night was no exception. His introduction to “Monk’s Mood” was playful as well as reverential to Monk.
One of the best things that’s happened in jazz since I started at Yoshi’s ten years ago, is that Stanley Clarke has started playing more upright bass. Stanley is an amazing player, and last night was probably the best I have ever heard him sound. I really feel that he is at the top of his game right now.
In the 1970’s Stanley turned the jazz world on it’s ear with his playing, he is responsible for un-shackling the upright bass. His incredible runs, insane walking bass lines, and his big fat tone has inspired countless bass players. If anything, since re-uniting with Chick, his playing has risen to a new level. Last night, I was just sitting and laughing at how incredible he was playing.
When I saw Return to Forever in the 70’s, one of the things I loved about the band was the on stage communication. It was no different last night, all three made eye contact with each other, laughed at each others virtuosity, and there was a lot of give and take, as there should be in jazz.
One Return to Forever song they did, was “No Mystery.” It was a great paired down arrangement for the trio, with more twists and turns than the original. I would never have thought of this song for an acoustic trio, after hearing it back in 1979, they gave this song more than new life, they gave it a new soul….. along with a few sections of absolute burning, swinging, intensity.
Through it all, was Lenny White, at every twist, time change, mood change, peak and valley, he was on it.
The set closer was “Sometime Ago” also with a slightly new arrangement, and another incredible display from three masters of their instruments.