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Chick Corea/Gary Burton: Native Sense

They’ve been at it as a duo, on and off and on again, for 25 years. And still there’s a kind of logic and magic that happens when Chick Corea and Gary Burton, as it does on this, their first recording in a decade. On the project, Corea plays the role of music director, cooking up a varietal program that somehow makes poetic sense out of transcriptions of Bartok Bagatelles, and a handful of Corea originals-including an unplugged version of the old Return to Forever tune “No Mystery,” and a pensive new ballad, “Post Script.” Corea’s Spanish flavors are somehow more pronounced in the rhythm-sectionless intimacy of this setting, which never lacks for rhythmic assertion. Burton, more a tune-detective than a composer himself, is up to the challenge, offering his trademark four-malleted flair, occasionally switching to marimba for textural freshness. The frenetic swirl of notes and heated riff-swapping on the closing tune, Monk’s “Four In One,” give way to a rhythmic feel owing as much to Castillian swing as to cock-eyed stride.

On that tune, as elsewhere on the album, there’s a fluid identity that sounds characteristic to the long and slow-burning Corea-Burton dialogue, one still very much in progress.

Originally Published