Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Portland Jazz Festival: A Celebration of ECM

Chick Corea

In only four years the Portland Jazz Festival has grown into an international event that successfully reconciles creative programming with the financial bottom line. This year, in addition to more than 140 performances and educational programs over two weeks, they celebrated the ECM record label during the first weekend with a “festival within a festival,” including showcase concerts, film screenings and a series of jazz interviews and roundtables.

Nearly 2,000 people turned out on opening night to hear pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton reunite for the 35th anniversary of their landmark ECM release Crystal Silence. Their interwoven lines and variations seemed telepathic, especially when improvising simultaneously. Corea went inside the piano and punctuated his statements with foot stomps on “Duende,” and he coined a new koan when introducing “No Mystery,” claiming “we’re going to play a tune that’s impossible to play.” Indeed, Burton attempted to play it from memory but got lost, shook his head and laughed when they had to start over, this time with the music stretched out on two music stands before him. As difficult as the score may be, Corea and Burton brought it to life as a flowing musical conversation.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published