Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chick Corea Electric Band - 1990 "Inside Out"

Inside Out is an album by the Chick Corea Elektric Band, released in 1990 through the record label GRP. The album peaked at number six on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.

Deep into their collaboration, the Chick Corea Elektric Band takes on another bold set of compositions from Chick, including the ambitious “Tale of Daring” suite. Chick, Eric Marienthal (saxophone), Frank Gambale (guitar), John Patitucci (bass) and Dave Weckl (drums) are a stunning jazz unit, capable of deep, swinging grooves and nimble electric acrobatics. And they throw their all into Chick’s new tunes: the title cut serves as a lush, bracing intro to an endlessly pleasurable set, including the full-band workout on “Kicker.”

Chick Corea's Elektric Band was always a well-intergrated unit, featuring passionate solos from the rockish guitarist Frank Gambale and the R&Bish saxophonist Eric Marienthal in addition to major statements from the distinctive leader who utilized a battery of keyboards yet remained quite recognizable. With John Patitucci (arguably jazz's top electric bassist) and drummer Dave Weckl pushing the ensemble, this pacesetting fusion unit is heard at its peak on these Corea originals. 

"Inside Out" was the Elektric Band's pinnacle. The music is as great as this band got. Those who saw the tour for this cd know, based on the explosiveness of the material live, it appears that the band had the best time during this recording. Before or after this disc the other cds or concerts were not as amazing. The disc doesn't contain many songs but it still is as long as the others. Tale of Daring is the best suite that Corea has ever written including his RTF days. The band is in top form as they move through this piece with each of them displaying amazing improvisational skills in addition to reading Chick's music. The other songs are typical for Chick during this period, that is to say great. This disc should be bought by any fusion fan because there is something for everyone. Great compostion as well as playing should give any musician something to work on. Highly recommended.

The music sound revitalized in this release by the Elektric Band. some of the tracks are reminiscent to the Mahavishnu Orchestra work, with excellent musicianship. Frank Gambale's guitar is at his best, specially the great solo in "The tale of Daring part III" It doesn't have the commercial sound of the other releases by the band. It's a nice introduction to Chick's Elektric Band. 

I have always viewed this album as a bold experiment, aimed at the technical listener. Most of the album walks up to the edge of a cliff, being very atonal or chromatic sounding. If one tried to combine modern jazz, and 20th century atonal classical, this album may very well the the result.

At the time I bought this I was really into smooth jazz, and was put off by all of the complex tonal stuff. Yet I couldn't stop listening to it because of the passion I heard in the playing, especially Frank Gambale and Dave Weckyl. It was the first time I had heard sweep picking and wondered how in the world Frank was playing so fast and yet so cleanly. Even though the dissonance bothered me a little, the musical performances were on fire and kept me listening. It soon won me over and I credit this album with opening my ears to whole new world of tonally complex music, and reviving my passion as a musician, after years of being in a pentatonic / blues rut.

It is not just the tonality, it is the rhythm and geometry of this music that fascinates me. Going from a groove, to tightly coordinated statements with exclamation marks, you won't hear endless repetition here, or a lot of "wandering around, lost" free jazz pieces here. It is well coordinated and bold. I seriously doubt that the average non-musical person would appreciate what is going on here. But it is one of my all time favorites.

Tracks Listing

1. Inside Out (5:13)
2. Make A Wish, Part I (1:39)
3. Make A Wish, Part II (6:19)
4. Stretch It - Part 1 (0:51)
5. Stretch It - Part 2 (7:53)
6. Kicker (5:20)
7. Child's Play (3:30)
8. Tale of Daring - Chapter 1 (2:01)
9. Tale of Daring - Chapter 2 (3:39)
10. Tale of Daring - Chapter 3 (5:48)
11. Tale of Daring - Chapter 4 (4:21)

Total Time 46:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Chick Corea / Piano, Synthesizer
- Eric Marienthal / Saxophone
- Frank Gambale / Guitar
- John Patitucci / Electric Bass
- Dave Weckl / Drums