Album Reviews

Chick Corea & Béla Fleck

Two

Artist:     Chick Corea & Béla Fleck

Album:     Two

Label:     Concord Jazz

Release Date:     09/11/2015

94

If true musical invention is the product of unceasing experimentation, then it should come as no surprise that Chick Corea and Béla Fleck have broken ground on something altogether new in their unlikely collaboration. Each of these giants – Corea on piano and Fleck on banjo – has lived a life of singular dedication to moving into uncharted musical territory. Their 2007 studio recording, The Enchantment, brought the two together on a lively selection of songs that showed the masterful sensitivity that each has for writing and arranging music for duo. The resulting live tour allowed this music to expand into areas of improvisation and spontaneity, and eight years later, the most compelling of those performances have been collected onto the two-disc live album Two.

Culled from some fifty-five live recordings, the selections include compositions from The Enchantment, though here with plenty of room for each player to stretch out, classics from both Corea and Fleck’s repertoires, as well as tunes that were added to the duo’s set list on tour. Among the choices that encapsulate the potential of this musical pairing is “Bugle Call Rag,” a tune that enjoyed popularity in the jazz big band era before it made its way into the bluegrass songbook. Perhaps over and above the fact that the tune somehow bridges two often disparate musical worlds, it singularly gets to the root of what Corea and Fleck’s careers have been about: making music first, without restriction of classification.

Two will offer those who missed The Enchantment an even more robust entry-point into an experience that could have only been created by these two musical frontiersmen. And for those who were lucky enough to catch a live performance all of those years ago or to have heard the studio recording, Two delivers a whole lot more of something that was hard to get enough of. It also means that Fleck and Corea are back out on the road with their enchanting music.

– Eric Russ

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