Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chick Corea - 1982 [1992] "Touchstone"

Touchstone is an album by Chick Corea, released in 1982 through Stretch Records. The album peaked at number nine on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart.

Chick Corea has made so many good recordings, and the Touchstone is one of his better one's. We have here a fusion of Jazz, Classic, Flamengo, Latin and Rock, and for me at least it is great to hear the old Return To Forever play together on one song (Compadres) it's just as great as the songs and the playing on albums like Romantic Warrior and No Mystery. Another great song is The Yellow Nimbus which features Paco DeLucia and if you want to hear an excellent solo piano version of that song you should check out the video Piano Legends which Corea hosts and is about great jazz pianists. In short, Great Playing, Great Compositions, GREAT FUN. Can we have some More Please Corea.

This is a great fusion album, true to the electric fusion tradition, as founded by Chick Corea, who is continuing in much the same vein. The quality of the compositions, arrangements and production are very high. I'd say that the sound is comparable to Return To Forever, sometimes sweet, sometimes hard-hitting and bombastic, sometimes spacey - it's all there for the fusion fans to savour!

Although I really like Chick's music over all, it's rare that I find an entire solo album by him that deserves a full 5 stars. But, this album is that rare beautiful exception. I usually prefer the more rocking fusion...which of course means Chick earned 5 stars from me with a few Return to Forever albums like Romantic Warrior and Where Have I Known You Before. But usually, Chick's solo album's are a bit over-produced for me...too much orchestra, horns and vocals. And too often those elements are unnecessary and tend to drag the album down and just make the album lag and sag and fall short. This album has SOME orchestra, horns and vocals, but it's not over-done. It's more sparse. He knows where to use these elements and when to keep them out. He lets his music do the talking, and the compositions on this album are supurb examples of Chick at his best in straight jazz. The opening title tune is the only tune with vocals (done by his wife at the time Gayle Moran, a girl with a beautiful voice) Her voice is used sparingly...just a little in the beginning, then a little at the end of the lyrics, just oohs and aahs for effect, used very well. Classical guitarist Paco DeLucia is used in the forefront on the first two songs on the album. His playing goes so well with Chick and the compositions, sweet, complex, but not out of range for those who want to be entertained. Chick on various electric keyboards and piano, plays a spectacular set. The third song on the album is heavy on the orchesta, but it is a short, beautiful tune that fits amazingly well with the album. Even I think this song is a great addition to this work. The following song is my favorite on the album: the song where Chick reassembled the "dream team" of Return to Forever, Al DiMeola on electric guitar, Stanley Clarke on bass and Lenny White on drums, for an updated trip back to the fusion of Return to Forever! Then, he goes back to a jazzy Latin feel (like the earlier songs with Paco had) with a piece that features some electric keyboards, including a Moog, which pops up occasionally on this album. And the last piece is a straight jazz piece including some horns. There's even a trumpet solo and flute solo on the last piece. But it's a great jazz piece, well-written, and the band is amazingly tight. You just can't complain about this album. Although I get turned off by Chick's over-use of orchestration and vocals at times, he used restraint on this album, knowing when to use what elements, great compositions, and of course that little revisit to Return to Forever really pulled the whole thing together! An incredible Chick solo album that I thoroughly enjoy and highly recommend!

Track listing:

    "Touchstone: Procession, Ceremony, Departure" – 10:58
    "The Yellow Nimbus" – 8:51
    "Duende" – 3:11
    "Compadres" – 9:41
    "Estancia" – 6:18
    "Dance of Chance" – 7:14


    Don Alias – bongos, congas, drums, percussion
    Carlos Benavent – bass
    Chick Corea – cymbals, guitar, moog synthesizer, piano, synthesizer
    Laudir DeOliveira – caixa, drums, ganza, percussion, sound effects
    Bill Gottlieb – cello
    Gregg Gottlieb – cello
    Bob Magnusson – bass
    Gayle Moran – speech/speaker/speaking part, vocals, voices
    Carol Shive – violin

Guest artists

    Alex Acuña – cymbals, drums, percussion
    Stanley Clarke – bass
    Al Di Meola – guitar
    Lee Konitz – alto sax
    Steve Kujala – flute, tenor sax
    Paco de Lucía – guitar, hand clapping, percussion
    Allen Vizzutti – trumpet
    Lenny White – drums


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  2. I was missing this one. Thanks a lot!


  4. Artigo fantástico .Muito objetivo e de simples compreensão .