Friday, April 03, 2009

Five Peace Band at Bass Concert Hall

Last night, I had the pleasure to see Five Peace Band, at the newly refurbished Bass Concert Hall. Having been to one of the last concerts there before the remodeling commenced, I was anxious to see what had changed. It seems that other than the acoustic treatments on the wall, and some painting, the changes were was not as dramatic as I had expected.

No matter, lets talk about the important stuff, the music. It seems that shortly after the Return to Forever tour concluded, Chick Corea started working with former bandmate from the Miles Davis Bitches Brew era, John McLaughlin. The original studio and touring line-up of Five Peace consisted of Chick and John, along with saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. Vinnie had to move on to the Jeff Beck tour (which does not appear to be traveling through Texas, damn it), and was replaced by the equally competent and spectacular, Brian Blades.

The band played for 3 hours, in 2 sets, with a 15-20 minute intermission. The acoustics, as always, were spectacular in this hall which used to host the Austin Symphony. My seat was in the 10th row from stage, with Chick almost directly in front of me.

The improvisational playing was spectacular. For me, the stars of the show were Chick, Brian Blades, and Christian McBride. Kenny looked like he might have been a little under the weather (but still played magnificently), and McLaughlin was his normal rock steady self. My friend commented that you really understand what a true MF'er Chick is on the keys, when you sit that close. I wholeheartedly agreed.

The crowd was older, and there were lots of gray ponytails again. None the less, most were attentive and seemed fully engaged in the show. I was surprised however, at the number of empty seats, given the standing room only crowds for RTF, last year.

A set list is available here. Although supposedly verboten, I managed to sneak a picture with the iPhone at the end of the show

Five Peace Band at UT Bass Hall.

If you have the chance to see this show, do it! Next up this month, Stanley Clarke.

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