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Chick Corea Songbook

13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 29, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the Artist I still remain somewhat speechless over how to express my overwhelming feelings surrounding this project...I am led to believe this is the feeling itself! Stark, new, uncharted. In a time where music is fast disintegrating before our very ears comes a genuine surprise in our nearly 40-year career! Something, I feel is brand new for us! Yes, Chick Corea has gifted us all for quite some time with his music and will continue to withstand the test of time as we all know. I guess what I am surprised and humbled by, is we have been handed four first-class tickets on this journey, by way a dream turned reality by Mr. Yusuf Gandhi. With a brave variety of songs, some 'til now unsung, others already songs that we took various detours on, I honestly feel this otherworldly adventure was delivered by a much higher source! Thank you, Yusuf, for the dream, and thank you, Chick, for offering up your delicious, endless source of inspired melodies. - CHERYL BENTYNE <BR> Time has a funny way of deciding when things will come to fulfillment. I remember vividly having enthusiastic conversations with Chick and Gayle back in 1975, at their old house in Los Feliz, relating to a collective project. After a while, I never thought it would happen. But, thanks to Yusuf Gandhi, and his wonderful vision, it did happen. For myself, I found the project to be extremely challenging, particularly because of the relationship of some of the melodic intervals and their respective rhythms. But most musical entities that have been around as long as us seem content to rely on their old hits, and catalogue favorites. I'm grateful we were given the opportunity to stretch out once again, and I'm also glad we took it. Sincere thanks to Chick for his wonderful music, and to Yusuf for the challenge. - TIM HAUSER <BR> Doing this CD has been an incredible musical journey. It's something that the group has wanted to do since first meeting Chick back in the late '70s but never got around to doing. So when Yusuf Gandhi and Bob Belden presented us with the idea of doing The Chick Corea Songbook we knew immediately that the time had come to finally fulfill our dream. The biggest challenge was picking the material because Chick's compositions are harmonically and rhythmically very complex and in some cases not really singable. In the end I feel we managed to pick a diversified group of songs, some well known and some obscure that needed to be reconstructed and have lyrics written to, and after four decades of creating music together gave us one of the most inspiring, creatively challenging albums we ever made. Thanks Chick. - ALAN PAUL <BR>

To sing a Chick melody and get inside the mind of a Sicilian/Spanish/Space Genius has been a magical and transformational odyssey, filled with majestic vistas of España, starry expanses of universe, children singing, pixies, leprechauns, love castles and fusion tones that have rattled my bones. I became a lifelong Chick Corea fan when I first heard the groundbreaking album Inner Space, and I haven't looked back since. The things that have left the greatest impression on me, as we complete this CD, have been the scope of Chick's musical imagination, his mastery of rhythm, his playfulness, and his restless creative curiosity. I will also treasure the conversations with Chick about his parents, Anna and Armando, which informed the lyric for "Armando's Rhumba." Thank you Chick, for all the challenges, the elegant beauty of your writing, and for the opportunity to put our vocal spin on your music. - JANIS SIEGEL

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 29, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Four Quarters Ent
  • ASIN: B002IVLWG0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,118 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Richard Dobrydney on October 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Wow, this really came out of left field. When I first saw it in the store I said, "Yeah, of COURSE --- Transfer and Chick's tunes !!". And it works in a BIG way. Some of Chick's best known and not so well known compostions. Without a doubt their best since the landmark "Vocalise", and in my opinion the best jazz/pop/vocal recording I have heard in the last 20 years, bar NONE. It is THAT good. The arrangements (both vocal and instrumental) are spectacular. Production is IMMACULATE. Really, you won't hear a more STUNNING sounding CD anywhere. A few highlights (there are
so many) --- Alan Paul's terrific reading of "Times Lie", one of Chick's most beautiful tunes. His voice has really matured and deepened over the years. A great take on "Spain" (I like the slower tempo), and a fantastic new compostion of Chick's called "Free Samba" that really cooks with some dizzying vocal harmonies. Cheryl Bentyne's gorgeous reading of "500 Miles High" will leave you open-mouthed. Over and out with a hot latin version of "Armando's Rhumba" with great lyrics and a spirited performance by Janis Siegel. This recording has inspiration, class, and excellence written all over it. And given the state of the current music scene, that is saying a LOT. Do yourself a big favor. GET THIS. NOW.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alan Dorfman VINE VOICE on October 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Vocalese is a style or genre of jazz singing wherein lyrics are written for melodies that were originally part of an all-instrumental composition or improvisation.

Whereas they may not have invented the genre (credit Eddie Jefferson for that), or are most closely associated with it (that would be Lambert, Hendricks and Ross), but Cheryl Bentyne, Tim Hauser, Alan Paul and Janis Siegel - collectively known as The Manhattan Transfer - have almost single-handedly (and four-voicedly) kept Vocalese alive during the last quarter-century.

Beginning with their 1985 album called Vocalese, which received 12 Grammy nominations, they have generally included one or more vocalese songs on almost every one of their albums. Now they have gone back to a complete CD of vocalese, this time with "The Chick Corea Songbook" and in the process have recorded their most energetic, engaging collection in years.

After nearly 40 years together their harmonies are effortless and flawless and the brilliance of their vocal musicianship still mesmerizes and awes. The choice of songs by Chick Corea, suggested by Executive Producer Yusuf Gandhi, has provided the group with its most challenging material in years and they have gleefully risen to the occasion which each member submitting lyrics to complement the wonderfully eclectic selection.

If you are a fan of The Manhattan Transfer or vocalese, as I am, you will love "The Chick Corea Songbook."

If you are not familiar with either, try "The Story Of Anna & Armando (Armando's Rhumba)" the lyrics of which tell the true story of Chick Corea's parents, "Time's Lie," one of several songs featuring brilliant pianist Fred Hersch, "500 Miles High" with its delicious flute solo from Lou Marini, the wonderfully arranged "Another Roadside Attraction (Space Circus)" and "Free Samba" which opens and closes the CD and features Chick Corea himself. I think you'll thank me that you did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cornell VINE VOICE on January 1, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Some pundits are saying that this, "The Chick Corea Songbook," is the Manhattan Transfer's best album ever. Considering who the M.T. is, that's quite a claim. Is the claim valid? My 3 cents worth:

In terms of production, absolutely. It is not only the best in that respect, it is one of the best vocal jazz ensemble recordings ever. Executive producer Yusuf Gandhi deserves all the credit he can muster for this; and main instrumentalist, keyboardist Yaron Gershovsky, is eerily on the money in terms of channelling the sounds of Chick Corea.

However, that's not to say the album is overproduced, by any means. The recording starts and ends with the lush "Free Samba," and the Corea signature song, "Spain," goes from majestic Espanol to funk, all on a dime. But any production of the music of Chick Corea must acknowledge the composer's playfulness, his sense of fun. And this one certainly does. "La Chanson du Bebe" is utterly charming, and "Another Roadside Attraction ("Space Circus") is fascinating.

The Transfer itself has never sounded better. The a capella intro to "500 Miles High" is even more impressive for its harmonic complexities than "A Nighingale Sang in Berkeley Square"; vocal jazz ensembles of America, take note! Alan Paul sounds exquisite on "Time's Lie"; ditto to Janis Siegel and the c.d.'s most memorable tune, "The Story of Anna & Armando" ("Armando's Rhumba.")

But best ever? This c.d. leaves me feeling on the outside, with utter awe and admiration. "Vocalese," on the other hand, left me feeling on the inside, wanting to dance and sing with "vocal jazz' fab four." That one is still my favorite; and even "Swing," I think, is more enjoyable.

Nevertheless, this is a fabulous album and deserves to be remembered as such. Jazz Times recently rated this one in its top 50 albums of 2009 (#47). High praise for a vocal ensemble c.d.; but I can certainly see why. RC
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Fermenich on October 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
It's been a long time since The Manhattan Transfer has put their vocalese chops to work. Their most recent album Vibrate was ok, but lacked the spark of their earlier works. With this new album they've gone back to what separated them from all of the rest of the vocal jazz groups out there. Trademark close harmonies and vocalese that is unparalleled are the hallmarks of The Manhattan Transfer, and this album is no exception. Free Samba and Times Lie are excellent examples of this.

My only criticism of the album is one of the same issues I had with the Vibrate album. Everything seems to be 10-20 Beats Per Minute too slow. Their rendition of Spain* (I Can Remember) is a good example. It's a song that has all the makings of greatness, wrecked by a plodding beat. Even the patter sections of a song like Ragtime In Pixiland seem to be weighted down.

All in all, after 40 years The Manhattan Transfer is still able to make great music.

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Topic From this Discussion
Chick Corea Songbook
I've not heard the Brazil album before; is the collection on this album memorable? Any songs or melody lines get stuck in your head? :)
Sep 30, 2009 by Daniel Moss |  See all 3 posts
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