Friday, March 24, 2017

Chick Corea & Gary Burton - 2008 "The New Crystal Silence"

The New Crystal Silence is a 2008 live Jazz album by Chick Corea and Gary Burton. It was released in a 2-disc set. The first disc was recorded May 10 & 12, 2007 at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. The second disc was recorded on July 7, 2007 at Bjornsonhuset in Molde, Norway, except for the track "Señor Mouse", which was recorded July 13, 2007 at the Auditorio de Tenerife in Canary Island, Spain.

The album peaked number eleven in the Billboard Top Jazz album charts and also won the Grammy awards for the Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.

When Crystal Silence first appeared in 1972 on the ECM label, its cover photograph depicted a stellar shot of the sun, which appeared to be setting. That duet album featured two already-seasoned jazz veterans who were in their thirties, and had been part of many of the developments in the music for a decade. Corea's credits included Miles Davis, his own Return to Forever, the "Is" sessions, Circle, and many others; Burton's included tenures with George Shearing and Stan Getz as well as Larry Coryell. But the duet album they recorded for ECM was so utterly striking and arresting because it highlighted not only an entirely new way of playing duets between piano and vibes -- which had been done previously and well by others -- but a new way of hearing them as well.
After 35 years, five duet records, and countless tours together, the pair revisit the notion of the duet in two different contexts on this delightful, compelling double-disc package from Concord. The first disc finds the pair playing live in Sydney with that city's symphony orchestra conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer and arranged by Tim Garland. The program includes five tunes, all of them composed by Corea. While it is disconcerting on first thought as to how an orchestra could add to the special intuitive communication this duo has developed since its first accidental performance at a festival in 1971, those fears disappear quickly after the orchestra's intro, when Corea's piano makes its entrance and Burton responds. It's striking there was so little rehearsal time, and that Garland's arrangements are so spot-on and attuned to the intricacy of what happens harmonically between these two. "Duende" opens the set with an enormous introductory sweep that feels more like a crescendo, but it gives way within two minutes to the exploration of extrapolated minors when Corea plays a single note that initiates his speaking voice on the piano. Burton answers and moves them into another direction, painting from the inside and pulling on certain notes as he quotes a melody that feels strangely like "The Shadow of Your Smile." Then the pair are off, the orchestra brooding and shimmering behind them, opening up spaces where there would be tension in such a focused space of minor keys that sweep this way and that way, and then they engage fully with the orchestra. This continues through "Love Castle" and the speculative intro to "Brasilia," which feels like a question. The rhythmic interplay is built layer upon layer, however sparely by the harmonic striations of vibes and piano as strings hover and cautiously seem to follow into a much more romantic and exotic flight of fancy. Of course, the title track, while seemingly an entirely new piece when played with this symphony, is no less limpid than its predecessor. The compositional notion is simply eased into more tentatively, but the interpolations between Burton and Corea are even cannier than one might expect. Everything begins in shade and shadow and is revealed in the full light of day. The set ends with a driving rendition of "La Fiesta," begun with an intensely intricate series of counterpoint exchanges between the pair.
Disc two contains a live performance from the Molde Festival in Norway, with one cut, "Señor Mouse" (also from the Crystal Silence debut), recorded in the Canary Islands. Far more breezy but perhaps more taut and far less tentative, the set starts off with Corea's "Bud Powell," and Burton shines with his solo, moving through the lyric phrases as Corea punches in spaces with tough, jaunty chord masses. It swings like crazy before giving way to a stellar reading of Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby." The melody, instantly recognizable in Corea's hands, is nonetheless a bit heavier in touch, but that's what makes it sound new as well. The solo he opens with carries the basic lyric frame in his two-handed chords and runs before Burton slides the melody in solo, as expressive and intimate as one could ever hope for before it opens wide and sings. This happens on the other standards here as well, the deeply emotive reading of "I Loves You, Porgy," with Burton's solo as tender as a singer emoting the words, and "Sweet and Lovely," where the pair just dig in and let the tune guide them on a wonderfully engaging, swinging ride through its harmonic possibilities. The other four Corea tunes here include a very different version of "La Fiesta" as a set closer; "No Mystery," which is more mysterious in some ways because of its use of arpeggios, space, and counterpoint; and the all-too-brief rhythmic invention of "Alegria." The bottom line, of course, is that this set, as different as its two mirroring discs are, is nearly magical in both its intensity and creativity, and in its wonderfully relaxed manner of walking through the deep passageways of improvisation. Anyone who is a fan of the duet recordings between these two should own this. Anyone not familiar should check out the ECM disc first, and then move straight here, filling in the gaps later. They are wonderful counterparts to one another and immensely satisfying listens.

The circumstances that led to pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton collaborating on Crystal Silence (ECM, 1973) are the definition of serendipitous happenstance. Neither thought the record would have wide appeal, yet it's gone on to become not only a classic for the label, but for both artists, who have since built large discographies with plenty of individual milestones. Recording infrequently as a duo, they've played together every year since that first meeting, with some significant globe-trotting in 2007 to commemorate their thirty-fifth anniversary together. The double-disc The New Crystal Silence documents that celebration with performances culled from dates in Australia, Norway and the Canary Islands.

The duo revisits material from Crystal Silence through to their most recent and fifth recording, Native Sense (Stretch, 1997), in addition to a new Corea tune and three standards. The second disc, from the Norway and Canary Island shows, finds the duet on their own and in top form. Anyone who caught a 2007 show knows—as their Portland Jazz Festival performance amply demonstrated—that amidst the stunning virtuosity, empathic interaction and subtle nuances is an almost mischievous playfulness. Some of this may be serious music, but Corea and Burton are clearly having fun.

The "new" comes with the first disc, where Corea and Burton have a silent third partner in British woodwind multi-instrumentalist/composer/bandleader Tim Garland. Garland doesn't perform, but was recruited by Corea to arrange five tunes from the duo's repertoire for the pianist, Burton and symphony orchestra—in this case, the Australian Sydney Symphony. This isn't the first time Garland has scored Corea material for orchestra—his "Fantasy on Crystal Silence" was a highlight of his own The Mystery (Audio-B, 2007), and also featured Corea as a guest. Here, his orchestration of "Crystal Silence" is more reverential, although there are moments of unexpected power during a tune that has always been more of a tranquil tone poem.

It's to Garland's credit that he finds the perfect blend of orchestration and improvisation. While there are open-ended sections that allow Burton and Corea to go where they will, Garland has turned Corea's compositions into miniature concertos, where the symphony weaves in and around solo and duet sections. Just how different the approach can be is clear with the two versions of Corea's Spanish-tinged "La Fiesta" included—a more form-based version with the orchestra on disc one and a looser, more fully extemporaneous duet version on disc two.

That Corea and Burton are in-tandem improvisers capable of taking great risks while consistently delivering near-perfect performances is what made their first recording a classic. It's hard to live up to Crystal Silence's iconic stature. Still, The New Crystal Silence proves that, as with any committed relationship, these two are never at a loss for fresh and relevant dialogue. The addition of Garland's orchestral arrangements only provides an even more expansive context around which Corea and Burton can continue to build and strengthen a pairing that's destined to last a lifetime.

When they teamed up in 1972 to play in a piano-vibraphone setting, little did Chick Corea and Gary Burton realize that 35 years later their duo would continue to expand its modern chamber music approach to jazz with full introspection and exhilaration. Even though their serendipitous debut, Crystal Silence, was released on Germany-based ECM Records, which at the time did not have a distribution deal in the U.S., the album not only forged the alchemic partnership, but also brought to renown the deep and insightful collaboration of the two virtuosic improvisers. After their premiere outing, they recorded four more albums and have never skipped a year performing together.
In celebration of the Corea-Burton duo’s 35th anniversary, they released The New Crystal Silence, a double CD featuring the pair performing with the Sydney Symphony and as a duet captured in a sublime performance at the Molde Jazz Festival in Molde, Norway. The orchestral concert bears the fruit of an invitation from two symphonies in Australia, in Perth and Sydney, which offered the twosome the opportunity to perform and record their repertoire in an orchestral setting. As for the duo disc, Corea and Burton marked their long relationship onstage of anticipating each other’s musical ideas by embarking on a worldwide tour and then chose one of their best performances to document.
Writing in The New Crystal Silence liner notes, Burton reflects:
I’ve always held the theory that all musical collaborations, particularly among jazz musicians, eventually run their course as players evolve and everyone moves on to new ventures. But, I’ve come to believe that what Chick and I have together is going to break that rule. The performing we have done over the past year has been our best in 35 years, and we are very pleased to make it available on these CDs.” He adds, “We both feel that our music has evolved in the last 10 years more than it did before. We play the tunes very differently, with fresh concepts and new inspiration.Gary Burton
Corea agrees:
The way we were approaching the music during our 35th anniversary concert tour was so different that I thought it warranted documentation. Gary’s playing continues to amaze and inspire me. The tours we’ve done over this past year are my favorites of all that we’ve done. There’s more to come, but here is a slice of what we’re into these days.Chick Corea.
 Track listing

Disc one

    "Duende" (Corea) – 10:54
    "Love Castle" (Corea) – 12:41
    "Brasilia" (Corea) – 9:38
    "Crystal Silence" (Corea) – 14:09
    "La Fiesta" (Corea) – 13:35

Disc two

    "Bud Powell" (Corea) – 7:55
    "Waltz for Debby" (Bill Evans) – 8:03
    "Alegria" (Corea) – 5:49
    "No Mystery" (Corea) – 9:12
    "Señor Mouse" (Corea) – 9:10
    "Sweet and Lovely" (Gus Arnheim, Charles Daniels, Harry Tobias) – 6:56
    "I Love Porgy" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin & DuBose Heyward) – 4:09
    "La Fiesta" (Corea) – 10:41

Personnel

    Chick Corea – piano
    Gary Burton – vibraphone
    Sydney Symphony Orchestra
    Jonathan Stockhammer – conductor

3 comments:

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  2. Fantastic ! Please , i need too a albuns in flac : John Mclaughlin "Industrial Zen " , John Mclaughlin and the " Heart of Things 1997 , John Mclaughlin Trio Live Royal Festival Hall 1990 . Thanks

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  3. John Mclaughlin Trio Live Royal Festival Hall 1990
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