Chick Corea: The Vigil
It’s hard to sum up a jazz/fusion musician like Chick Corea, whose career has spanned both decades and styles. While you could easily say that he took the typical path of most progressive jazz musicians and arrived at the most advanced level of musicianship, he’s managed to hold onto all of these influences as he’s developed, resulting in a fascinating sort of patchwork sound.
The Vigil has a little bit of a Latin spin, as well as a strong space theme, which feels somehow more retro and whimsical than futuristic. That cabaret-style twang you hear is none other than guitarist Charles Altura, who also plays in Stanley Clarke’s band. The distinctive, bubbly warble underneath is Hadrien Feraud, a French jazz bassist who is most decidedly a force to be reckoned with, taking just enough from Jaco’s book that he still uses his imagination for the rest, with captivating results. Marcus Gilmore on drums is another one to watch out for (his grandfather is jazz legend Roy Haynes). Tim Garland, who has also played with Bill Bruford, fills in the rest on sax, flute, and bass clarinet.
With virtually a dream team of talent, this album is full of endless surprises. It’s like somebody put jazz in a blender and hit the “awesome” button. For anyone who’s ever turned up their nose at progressive jazz, I guarantee this one will turn you around. If you’re intimidated by odd time signatures, never fear; just listen and you’ll love it. The album opens with “Galaxy 32 Star 4,” which has a sort of ’70s-in-space vibe to it, but establishes that critical groove that you only get when every single player is locked in and feeling it. “Planet Chia” has a Latin twist, yet remains impeccable and smooth, the piano inviting you in and the sax insisting that you stay awhile. “Portals To Forever” is almost too prog-y for my taste, but if you’re into that, you’ll like this track. My other favorite is “Outside of Space,” which features vocals by Chick’s wife Gayle Moran Corea.
Chick Corea and The Vigil are playing a run of shows at the Blue Note from September 24th to the 29th. Go chick – er –check them out!