July 18, 2019

Jazz Legend Chick Corea bringing Akoustic Band to Interlochen

Interlochen Arts Festival's final performance
By Ross Boissoneau | Aug. 25, 2018

Jazz Legend Chick Corea bringing Akoustic Band to Interlochen
By Ross Boissoneau
It might have been his good friend and fellow jazz pianist Herbie Hancock who penned the jazz hit “Chameleon,” but no one in jazz shifts shades and styles as the chameleonic Chick Corea.

He’s dazzled as a solo pianist. He’s at home in the crystalline chamber jazz of ECM, alongside the likes of vibraphonist Gary Burton. He helped invent fusion with Miles Davis, and then furthered it with the seminal collectives Return to Forever (in three different formats) and the Elektric Band. In fact, to showcase his versatility, he celebrated his 75th birthday with a six-week residency at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York featuring 20 — count ’em, 20! — different ensembles.
These days he’s returned once again to the acoustic format, in a trio with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Dave Weckl in the aptly-named Akoustic Band. The group will close the Interlochen Arts Festival Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Corson Auditorium. If you consider yourself a jazz fan, or simply want to become one, go.
The Akoustic Band debuted nearly 30 years ago, with its self-named album on GRP Records, and is featured on a live album nearly a decade later. Though Corea has experimented with multiple forms and genres during all the years in between, the level of musical compatibility among the three members remains, like the music, fresh and spontaneous.
A review of the group’s appearance at the venerated London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, said “Corea moved from crystal-clear lines played at breakneck speed to dense clusters in the middle range. Patitucci and Weckl not only followed every move, but delayed the pulse and accelerated at speed, harmonized, added counterpoint or mimicked exactly their leader’s train of thought.”
While the three have played together in other configurations — Patitucci and Weckl also form the core of the Elektric Band — this is the first tour for the Akoustic Band in 20-plus years.“There’s so much to explore, past, present and future,” said Corea.
Corea has won more than 20 Grammy Awards and a slew of other awards and honorariums. They include polls in the likes of Downbeat, Keyboard, Swing Journaland JazzTimes magazines, the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, honorary doctorates from the Eastman School of Music and The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, andthe Donostiako Jazzaldia Award presented by Heineken Jazzaldia to artists who light the way for coming generations.
Corea is also famed for his writing prowess. Tunes like “Windows,” “La Fiesta,” “500 Miles High,” “Armanda’s Rhumba” (Armando is his given name), and “Got a Match?” have become part of the jazz standard book, and have been played by everyone from Maynard Ferguson to Stan Getz to Tommy Igoe. “Spain” is perhaps his most famous composition, turning up on albums by Tito Puente, Arizona-based fusion band Turning Point, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and in several versions by Corea himself. Al Jarreau put words to it, and it subsequently found its way onto albums by Bobby McFerrin and the Manhattan Transfer.
Corea’s musical explorations cross the boundaries from acoustic to electric, jazz to classical (listen for the Akoustic Band’s interpretation of a Scarlatti concerto). He wouldn’t have it any other way.  That creative impulse never changes,” Corea told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Everything else changes: record companies, technology, communication systems. So much change occurs, in styles and everything else. But that basic impulse to create never does. And that’s the spirit of creation that everyone has.”
The Chick Corea Akoustic Band plays at 8pm Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Corson Auditorium. Tickets are still available; go to Tickets.Interlochen.org.


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