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Chick Corea Freedom Band

The Filene Center at Wolf Trap; Vienna, Va., June 22, 2010

Chick Corea

Many jazz musicians work constantly, but few do it on Chick Corea’s scale. At 69, the keyboardist has a knack for organizing tours that feel like major events. In recent years he’s made jazz headlines by successfully mining the past: In 2008 there was the Return to Forever reunion, which employed nostalgia in the best way, with well-rehearsed precision and big-time venues that justified all the fanfare. That same year saw the introduction of the Five Peace Band, a heavy-hitting quintet Corea co-led with guitarist John McLaughlin, and one that matched the bombast of ’70s jazz-rock with more modern streaks from contemporary postbop.

Corea’s most recent all-star venture, currently on tour in Europe, is called the Freedom Band, and that name has more to do with the casual nature of the enterprise than the extremes in form or volume it might imply. A recent hour-long show at a picturesque outdoor amphitheatre in Northern Virginia felt more like a club set than a concert. With Corea, bassist Christian McBride, alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett and drummer Roy Haynes, this sort of nonchalance is a welcome thing (even if the brevity of the performance was not).

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