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Chick Corea: Rendezvous in New York

Chick Corea

In late 2001, Chick Corea celebrated his 60th birthday with a three-week acoustic engagement at the Blue Note in New York City. The musical party included Corea in nine different musical settings, from duos and trios to larger ensembles. A double-CD amuse-bouche came out a couple years ago, and now we have a 10-disc DVD set to feast on.

The first course is a disc devoted to the intimate, playful collaboration between Corea and Bobby McFerrin. Corea’s pianistic brushstrokes on “Istanbul in F” and creative comping on “Autumn Leaves” would throw a lesser singer, but McFerrin has never been more musical, spinning theme and variations, effortlessly flipping between chest voice and falsetto. The two also romp through “Spain” with special guest Bela Fleck. There’s a last magic moment toward the end of the set when they begin Charlie Chaplin’s bittersweet “Smile.” After a couple of choruses, Corea continues to play as McFerrin comes off-stage and asks if anyone knows the song. He hands the microphone and lyrics to a woman in the front row and she nails it, leaving McFerrin with a Cheshire cat grin.

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