Krakow,  May 8, 2017


Chick Corea with Eddie Gómez and Brian Blade is a very exciting combination. All three are excellent and successful jazz players with a keen interest in numerous music genres outside of jazz. These seemingly strange bedfellows make a wonderful trio, breathing as one.

Gómez and Blade may be more than a generation apart, but both of them are amazing talents on their instruments with impressively long list of important collaborations and long discographies as leaders and session men.

Gómez played with the Bill Evans Trio for over a decade. This Grammy Award-winner worked with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Benny Goodman, Hank Jones, Freddie Hubbard or Steps Ahead among many, many others. But also with Michael Franks, Judy Collins, Carly Simon, Art Garfunkel, The Kronos Quartet. A true bass giant.

Brian Blade's list of alliances include for example Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, Billy Childs or Joshua Redman. But on the other hand, no, you would never guess: Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Marianne Faithfull, Emmylou Harris or Steve Earle. The list goes on and on endlessly. Brian Blade has also a singer-songwriter career.

I had a rare chance to witness this unique music magic here in Krakow last night. Chick Corea has already played a couple of times in our city. I have seen the three of those gigs. At different times, different places and facing different acoustics. And I am glad to say that this last time was the best of them all.

The concert took place at the ICE Krakow Congress Centre building, a relatively new facility on our city map. Chick Corea was enthusiastic about the hall, its architecture and acoustic parameters. He only complained that, just like in 95 % other concert halls, it was a bit cold there.

But he really started the show with photographing the audience and the venue with his telephone. Well, new rituals for the new millenium. Or perhaps the last remnants of the long-lost art of jazz photography.

Out of the three Chick Corea gigs I have seen, this one was the most relaxed, balanced and listener friendly. The pianist was surprisingly outgoing, oftentimes conversing with the audience. Checking the tuning, Corea engaged the listeners in the call and response game. He played a note or two, then four, five or six and his fans responded vocally. But the phrases got longer and more intricate so it became really funny for all and at the same time warmed up the atmosphere a lot.

Then he proceeded to his great composition "500 Miles High" recorded in 1972 for Return to Forever's second album Light as a Feather. You may also remember this song from several Stan Getz renditions, especially on his Captain Marvel album. Yes, the same which included another smashing Corea classic "La Fiesta".

What happened next was a string of beautiful songs, both standards and originals, including such gems as "Alice in Wonderland", treated here as a tribute to Bill Evans or "But Beautiful" with Eddie Gómez playing a fine arco bass intro solo, while Chick was standing in the background and Brian sitting behind the kit, both listening attentively. Then the two joined and Corea offered some delicate, fine, romantic playing, leading to a beautiful Gómez solo, arco again.

"Humpty Dumpty" on the other hand was lively and energetic, the bassist playing a fast walking-like solo after the longer drumming introduction. 

It took a very long standing ovation to bring the band back. For the encore they played another Chick Corea smash hit called "Spain "started with some inside piano and using the audience vocal skills again. A great show, surprisingly intimate for such a big concert hall. Beautiful, entertaining, relaxed and masterful performance at the same time.















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