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Chick Corea first laid eyes on New Yorks Greenwich Village in 1959, fresh from high school, with a head full of music that only he could have imagined. With this new release The Musician, recorded in the epicenter of Chicks original NYC haunts and more than 50 years later, Corea finally brings all that music together at once.
The 3 discs of audio cover all of Chick's iconic bands, compositions and artistic partnerships all lovingly rerecorded live over the course of one month at the Blue Note in NYC.
The new live 3-CD and Blu-ray set captures Coreas 70th birthday celebration at the famed Blue Note Jazz Club in 2011, where he assembled a staggering lineup of musical friends and fellow-travelers among them Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, John McLaughlin and Stanley Clarke for a month-long residency featuring 10 different bands, including triumphal sets by his own Chick Corea Elektric Band and Return to Forever. All of it is captured brilliantly in the first feature-length documentary on Coreas life, music and genius musical partners. The film takes you inside the heads and hangs of some of the greatest artists of our time backstage and personal and the CDs capture almost four hours of live recordings of every band.
The deluxe hardcover edition includes the film on Blu-ray, in addition to the 3 CDs, an essay by Robin D. G. Kelley and exclusive photos.
Return to Forever Unplugged, with Clarke (bass), Lenny White (drums) and Frank Gambale (guitar), opens the set like a thundercrack. Lyrical explorations in a trio with Gary Peacock (bass) and Brian Blade (drums) follow, cutting a path for even more fireworks from fan-favorite Five Peace Band, co-led with McLaughlin (guitar), featuring Kenny Garrett (sax), John Patitucci (bass) and Blade. A duet with McFerrin (vocals) is pure improvisational magic from two masters of the form. Corea and his most frequent collaborator, Gary Burton (vibraphone) add the Harlem String Quartet for a virtuosic chamber jazz set.
From Miles, with Wallace Roney (trumpet), Gary Bartz (sax), Eddie Gomez (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums) is a Davis tribute like no other: vibrant and swinging with the spirit of Miles himself. Flamenco Heart is a classic late-night Madrid party, featuring Concha Buika (vocals), Jorge Pardo (sax and flute), Carles Benavent (bass), Niño Josele (guitar), and Jeff Ballard (drums). Piano duets with Hancock and Marcus Roberts are brilliantly alive with emotion and virtuosity. The Elektric Band Dave Weckl (drums), Patitucci, Eric Marienthal (sax) and Gambale closes the album with a jolt of musical energy. Nobody who saw these shows will ever forget it.
The CDs capture the music with Coreas characteristic thrilling live sound, and the documentary goes even further: with total access to Chicks creative process, the film features live footage, but also rehearsals, backstage hangs and candid interviews with the musicians. Everything that goes into making music at this level the hours of practice, rehearsals, gear moving in and out is in full view.
The Musician is one of the great portraits of a true genius in his prime, at work. In every musical setting, Coreas long history of creative adventurism made for the ultimate present-tense music. The title of the set followed naturally.
"Thats what the storys about. Its about musicians, being musicians," Corea says. "When people ask me, What did you learn from Miles? thats the salient thing that I took from my experience. Miles just let his musicians be themselves. He let them be musicians."
The Musician is a look at Coreas ongoing creative journey, one that never rests for long. His constant innovation as a composer, piano player and bandleader have earned him just about every award available to jazz musicians, including his status as a Downbeat Magazine Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master. He sits at #4 on the list of artists with the most Grammy nominations of all time. From straight-ahead to avant-garde, bebop to jazz-rock fusion, childrens songs to chamber works all of which are embraced on The Musician Corea has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his career.
Deluxe hardcover edition
3CDs plus Blu-Ray disc
Live at the Blue Note Jazz Club, New York, October - November 2011
New Feature-length film plus 4 hours of new live recordings
10 legendary bands
30 master musicians
Essay by Robin D. G. Kelley
Return To Forever Unplugged
1. Captain Marvel
2. Light As A Feather
Chick Corea Trio
3. I Hear A Rhapsody
Five Peace Band
4. Spirit Rides
5. Special Beings
Chick Corea & Bobby McFerrin Duet
6. I've Got The World On A String
Chick Corea & Gary Burton with The Harlem String Quartet
2. Your Eyes Speak To Me (feat. Gayle Moran Corea)
3. If I Were A Bell
6. Mi Nina Lola
Chick Corea & Bobby McFerrin Duet
1. CC's Birthday Blues (feat. Wynton Marsalis)
Chick Corea & Marcus Roberts Duet
3. Hot House
4. Dolphin Dance
5. Cantaloupe Island
The Chick Corea Elektric Band
7. Silver Temple
Chick Corea: The Musician
Running Time: 96 mins