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Chick Corea: Solo Piano: Improvisations/Children’s Songs

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Chick Corea was a busy man in the early ’70s. In addition to his work with Miles Davis’ electric band, he created two of the three discs in this crystalline yet sturdy box. Piano ImprovisationsChildren’s Songs in 1983. All feature Corea’s touch, paradoxically delicate and percussive, as well as his gift for melody. And all deliver a wry, provocative romanticism that is one of Corea’s trademarks. The first two discs consist of spontaneous studio improvisations, “answers,” Corea says in his insightful liner notes, to “Life’s questions.” The third comprises compositions designed to be “portraits” of children whose sense of wonder and playfulness inspired him.

To give this perspective, it’s instructive to listen to the blazing electric take of Wayne Shorter’s “Masqualero” that Corea helped deliver in 1970. It surfaces on Black Beauty, a live Davis recording from the Fillmore West featuring Corea on Fender Rhodes. (Originally released in Japan in 1973, the album was reissued on double-CD by Columbia in 1997.)

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