Last night, I ended my week of fantastic music with Chick Corea, playing solo piano at the One World Theater. My friend Dan and I went to the later of the two shows, and it was an extremely enjoyable experience.
As we entered the theater, a technician was busy tuning a magnificent, Yamaha, Grand Piano. Shortly after that Chick walked out on stage, and began casually conversing with the audience, saying that everything would be completely improvised, and we'd would all see where that led.
The whole show lasted about an hour, and was magnificent, consisting of 4 pieces:
The first piece lasted approximately 20 minutes, and as it progressed, I was strangely remembering several stride players, before settling in on thinking about Bud Powell, one of my favorite Be-Bop era players, and Polka-dots and Moonbeams.
Surprisingly, after finishing the number Chick asked the audience if anyone recognized the melody he had quoted, and it was
Bud's Beautiful. I chuckled a little about that. I had caught the vibe, but had the wrong song.
The next selection was inspired by Thelonius Sphere Monk, another giant. Chick was fantastic drawing upon all of the techniques throughout Monk's repertoire. The number ended with some tasteful quoting of Blue Monk.
For the last two numbers, Chick took requests from the audience. Senor Mouse was mentioned by several people, and Chick mentioned that it would be fun because he had never played it alone. Once again, Chick killed on it.
For the last number, a young gentleman of about 13 years of age shouted out Crazy Train for his request, much to the embarrassment of his parents. Chick however, chuckled, took it in stride, and then produced an iPhone, saying
listen to this crazy train. Chick then proceeded to play some John Coltrane.
He then asked the youngster what he liked about Crazy Train, and after receiving the answer, Chick said that perhaps he should also check out the late, Argentinian Composer, Alberto Ginastera. Apparently, Chick had only discovered him recently, as well.
His last improvisation was inspired by Ginastera, and was stunning.
Meet and Greet
After the show, Chick was available for a meet and greet, and I was able to talk with him for a couple minutes, and get a CD signed. I spoke to him a few minutes about Ginastera (a love of mine) and Bartok, he suggested I check out the French Composer, Henri Dutilleux (which I promptly did, once I got home).
So, I noticed that Chick published his set lists for both shows. There were 4 noticeable breaks, so I took that as 4 pieces, although you can see there were obviously more songs listed.
Also, I was incorrect about the Bud Powell. It was a quote from
But Beautiful, a standard.