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Chick Corea & Bela Fleck: Two

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Most people probably wouldn’t call a double-disc set of piano and banjo duets a must-hear. When the names of the pianist and banjoist are Corea and Fleck, however, such a set is cause for celebration. Two compiles live recordings made on various tours over a seven-year period following the release of the duo’s studio album from 2007, The Enchantment. Thanks to seamless editing and sequencing, it feels like a single show with a mid-set break. And as excellent as The Enchantment was, the presence of a full audience in the room-applauding, laughing, goading Corea and Fleck on to greater improvisational feats-makes Two its superior.

That these two master musicians enjoy a deeply simpatico rapport is no secret; it’s been clear for at least 20 years, ever since Fleck invited Corea to play on his Flecktones’ 1995 album Tales From the Acoustic Planet. But given the opportunity to develop their natural connection on the road, they have both responded in dramatic fashion. At times here, it feels as if through their playing and, even more important, the highly attuned way they listen to each other, a portal opens up into an alternate universe where the possibilities are unlimited.

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