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Chick Corea Solo - March 5 Massey Hall


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Last night, March 5th, Massey Hall played host to an intimate and interactive (literally) solo performance from Jazz Monster Chick Corea. Starting at 8pm, Chick Corea entered stage left in a grey suit and Converse high tops and commented on how lonely he had felt during sound check, being the only person on stage. But now that the crowd was with him, he felt a lot more comfortable.

Walking around the stage, Chick commented on how many of his hero's walked on the exact same stage. Looking down, he called the stage funky, saying the funk was created by such amazing shows like the historic "Quintet" concert in 1952, considered by many to be the greatest jazz show ever. (Dizzy, Mingus, Parker, Powell and Roach). Following the Quintet recount, Chick proceeded to talk about the importance of Massey Hall and Toronto in Jazz History, mentioning two of his piano hero's, Oscar Peterson and Glenn Gould whose history went back to Toronto.

Sitting down at the lone Baby Grand, he shuffled some papers, preparing some music for the evening. It was then Chick confessed to being a little uncomfortable playing solo, and that this would be his only solo gig of the year. Nice! He opened with a 20 minute unnamed composition of his own. Upon finishing, Chick explained that he was going spend the remainder of the set paying homage to some of the musicians that inspired him.

Following, Chick started playing the opening bars to an upbeat, ragtime song that I recognized as Thelonious Monk's Blue Monk. Upon finishing Chick said it was indeed Blue Monk, then spoke a few minutes about how the Monk influenced him. Chick continued to play three more rag time Monk songs. I recognized one as Monk's Mood and the other Trinkle Tinkle.

Following Monk Chick started a beautiful classical style composition. At the end he introduced it as a Bill Evans piece, and spent a few minutes commenting on Evan's influence on his playing.

At this point Chick checked his watch and commented that we were already an hour in the set, and he hadn't played the third musician yet...so he was going to play a medley of three compositions....

Seamlessly flowing between recognizable themes, I thought for sure it was Herbie Hancock...but when Corea finished, he identified them as Bud Powell; music from the 1950's. Music that certainly stood the test of time, sounding straight out of a modern movie soundtrack.

Standing up, Chick declared it was time to rest his fingers. Amusingly, he said anyone who has had enough, and wanted to go, he wouldn't be upset.

Exactly half an hour later, Chick came back out, sat down at the piano, and started belting out a Latin-Caribbean style piece. Probably my favorite composition of the evening, he ended identifying it as Yellow Nimbus, a song he wrote with Paco de Lucia in the early 1980's. Highlight of the evening I think.

Reaching into his seat, Chick pulled out two musical scores and declared it a great time to practice his skills. Identifying them as Alexander Sciabin pieces from early in his life, Chick reasoned that later in his career his compositions were much too difficult. The next forty minutes were spent filling Massey Hall with two beautiful Russian Classical pieces.

Upon finishing, Chick commented on how heavy the pieces were and that he was going to change up the mood with some compositions from a children’s book of music he wrote earlier in his career. Shuffling through an actual book, he played pieces between four and five minutes in length. Each different piece reflected the spirit and innocence of a child.

Closing out the second set, Chick said he was going to play two pieces from back in the day. Opening by furiously plucking and tapping the piano strings, i immediately recognized it as the beginning of a section from Light As A Feather from his Return to Forever band. Nice!

He ended at 11pm exactly. 3 hour concert; with a half hour set break. Wow.

Back out for an encore, Chick again mused if anyone wanted to leave, to leave now. Sitting down he closed the night with a track from his album with Michael Brecker; another musical highlight.

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this reminds me that I think I taped a solo Chick show at the Ford theatre (is it still called that) in around '96? Kevin may remember. I should look for the tape. No idea how good it may sound, but we were in like the 4th row centre, IIRC (thanks to Kevin's mom's Roy Thompson Hall subscription status, once again, IIRC.)

And for those who missed it, I posted about the Return to Forever reunion tour in the Ottawa Bluesfest topic a few days ago.

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RTF will be hitting New York City on August 7th and tickets go on sale on this Friday. Not only that, RTF will be launching VIP packages where you can purchase a meet & greet with the band members, a backstage tour, and an exclusive merch package! This is a once in a lifetime experience and packages are limited. Make sure to get your tickets and packages first thing Friday morning. Head over to Return2Forever.com for more info or go directly to Ticketmaster to purchase tickets!*

*Tickets will be on sale to the public Friday, March 7th at 10AM EST.

Can't get to NY? No problem. RTF will be announcing more tour dates and VIP packages very soon, so keep checking the site for more details! The RTF reunion is going to be the biggest event in music this year, so don't miss out on the opportunity to see them live!

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