Jazz CD Reviews

Chick Corea & Gary Burton – The New Crystal Silence – Concord Jazz

A 2-CD set, 1 duo with Sydney Symphony; 2 just the duo alone

Published on April 10, 2008

Chick Corea & Gary Burton – The New Crystal Silence – Concord Jazz
Chick Corea & Gary Burton – The New Crystal Silence – (2 CD set, 1 duet with Sydney Symphony; 2 just the duo) Concord Jazz CCD2-30630, 2 hours total ***** [Release date: Apr. 10, 08]:
Don’t think this is just a retread of the same old same old. The double album actually marks the 35th anniversary of the duo’s original LP, which was a masterful combo of piano and vibes with rhythm section.  In these new tracks the two virtuosos on their respective instruments take their many years of experience playing together and use it to come up with even more imaginative improvisations than heard on the original album. Their musical dialogue seems to be uncanny in its connections and responses to one another. Yet everything is cool and relaxed, as though this is no big thing for each musician.
The first CD was recorded just about a year ago at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall during a live concert, with special arrangements of five of the original Crystal Silence numbers created by Tim Garland.  The lavish orchestral backing is well done, sounding something like the French Impressionists and/or a good film score.  The most exciting of the five tracks is the closing La Fiesta, which becomes an impressive musical capturing of the Spanish soul in a jazz vein, just as Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez does it in the concert music department. Only two of the tunes from the LP appear in this album: The beautifully lyrical title tune on the symphony CD and Senor Mouse on the duet CD – that track comes from a live concert in the Canary Islands.

A much more close up and intimate feeling is had from the duo-only disc. The two jazz masters explore some standards  and four more originals by Chick – along with his Senor Mouse.  Both of them are at the peak of their technical abilities as well as improvisatory collaborative skills, and every note sounds so precisely delivered and right-on that they leave in the dust many less-accurate pianists and vibists.  It’s especially noteworthy to listen to the final track on Disc 2 immediately after the last track on Disc 1 – they’re both the orchestral version and then the duo-only version of La Fiesta.  I’ll bet some of the jazz stations will be programming these two tracks back to back – probably in reverse order. Sonics are excellent on both discs – though it would have been nice to have hi-res surround with the orchestral sides.

TrackList, Disc 1: Duende, Love Castle, Brasilia, Crystal Silence, La Fiesta
TrackList, Disc 2: Bud Powell, Waltz for Debby, Alegria, No Mystery, Senor Mouse, Sweet and Lovely, I Loves You Porgy, La Fiesta

 – John Henry

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