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Chick Corea to Release ‘The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet and Chamber Orchestra’

“A dream come true,” says the keyboardist

Chick Corea performing with his Freedom Band at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival 2010

Chick Corea will release The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet and Chamber Orchestra Feb. 7. The two-disc set is on Deutsche Grammophon.

Disc one of The Continents is composed of six sections depicting Africa, the Americas, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, and Europe and is described as a globally inspired concerto for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra. The work was conducted by Steven Mercurio and performed with an all-star New York orchestra, including members of the Harlem String Quartet and Imani Winds, among others. The Jazz Quintet consists of Corea, piano; Steve Davis, trombone; Tim Garland, reeds; Hans Glawischnig, bass; and Marcus Gilmore, drums. Disc two features new solo and quintet jazz recordings.

In a press release, Corea described the sessions: “Making music for a combination of orchestral musicians and jazz musicians has endless possibilities. Appreciation for the abilities each has for the other makes for an atmosphere charged with high interest, creative communication and new ideas. This was the setting for the composing and recording of The Continents, for me, a dream come true. The process of making the recording was magical. The morale of the musicians plus the recording team was so high that we finished recording the six movements of the concerto a day and a half under schedule. After saying goodbyes to the orchestra musicians, the Quintet had an impromptu jam just for fun. Of course, the recorder was on. I then had the next evening to record some piano solo bits that I thought would fit the cadenza sections of the concerto. After recording those, I felt there was still something incomplete about The Continents recording. So I decided to try to get to what it was by improvising on the piano by myself. I felt that the basic material was somehow lacking; something was missing.

“That last evening, while I was waiting for Bernie [engineer Bernie Kirsh] to set things up and turn on the recorder, I played the piano, starting my exploration to find what was missing. As you will hear, after playing several little pieces, I asked Bernie if he was ready to record, to which Bernie answered that he had been recording all the time but didn’t want to interrupt me. So we continued recording from there until I felt I was finished. After listening to the Quintet’s jam and the piano soliloquies, I now feel that the recording of The Continents is complete (at least for the moment). The music may have its technical flaws, as perfection was never the goal, but I’m pleased that the music was made in the Spirit of Play, which was the initial intent of the composition after being invited to write a “piano concerto in the spirit of Mozart” by the Wiener Mozartjahr.”

Track list


The Continents

Concerto for Jazz Quintet & Chamber Orchestra

Composed by Chick Corea

1. Africa (08:22)

2. Europe (20:28)

3. Australia (06:26)

4. America (12:32)

5. Asia (11:09)

6. Antarctica (12:45)


Songs 3, 5-15 composed by Chick Corea

1. Lotus Blossom (14:30)

2. Blue Bossa (06:19)

3. What’s This? (05:15)

4. Just Friends (09:15)

5. Solo Continuum 31 (01:05)

6. Solo Continuum 42 (02:05)

7. Solo Continuum 53 (01:15)

8. Solo Continuum 64 (02:44)

9. Solo Continuum 75 (07:24)

10. Solo Continuum 86 (02:52)

11. Solo Continuum 97 (01:27)

12. Solo Continuum 108 (02:56)

13. Solo Continuum 119 (03:10)

14. Solo Continuum 1310 (03:46)

15. Solo Continuum 1411 (03:28)

Originally Published