Monday, June 25, 2007

Music Review: Bluegrass-jazz odd couple of Corea and Fleck cast an enchanting spell on new CD

Chick Corea & Bela Fleck, "The Enchantment" (Concord)

Fleck and Corea have appeared on each other‘s albums before, but this is their first full-length duet recording. It‘s not the odd couple-pairing it might appear to be because both musicians are open-minded and like to break down stylistic barriers. Fleck has drawn on the rich tradition of improvisation within bluegrass and included jazz players in his eclectic Flecktones band, while Corea has long been a chameleon-like musician able to adapt classical, Spanish flamenco, rock and other genres into his sound.

It‘s a treat to hear Corea exploring new territory on Fleck‘s old-style modal bluegrass tune "Mountain," while Fleck successfully covers unfamiliar ground on Corea‘s romantic jazz ballad "The Enchantment." Their common classical training is reflected on the banjo player‘s "A Strange Romance" which has elements of baroque and gypsy music. They offer a rippling, airy version of the only standard, "Brazil," which usually gets weighed down with too much percussion.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: Corea and Fleck breathe new life and warmth into "Brazil" with their airy and smoothly flowing version of this familiar standard.

By CHARLES J. GANS, Associated Press Writer 4 minutes ago

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