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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, unfocused, and EXCITING, February 1, 2003
By 
G B (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Complete Is Sessions (Audio CD)
Chick Corea has taken some serious flack for artistic decisions he made in the 70s -- plenty of it is deserved. But before forming the first Return to Forever, he played challenging, uncompromising jazz that floated somewhere between post-bop, jazz-rock and free improvisation.
These two CDs, recorded in May of 1969, shouldn't be listened to in one sitting. Some of this stuff works and some of it doesn't, but in reasonable doses (say, 30-40 minutes), it's a fun ride. Chick's companions are his buddies from the Davis group (Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland), trumpeter Woody Shaw, flautist Hubert Laws, drummer Horace Arnold, and tenor saxophonist Bennie Maupin. Different permutations of the lineup play on each track.
The tracks run all over the place. "It" is a wonderful 30 second duet between Corea (on acoustic piano) and Laws; "Is" is a 30 minute collective improvisation that drifts unpredictably between energy and boredom. The best tracks are "The Brain" and "This" -- explosive post-bop with ear-opening solos by Corea (on both acoustic and electric) and Maupin. If you're only familiar with Maupin from his bass clarinet noodling on Bitches Brew or his reed playing on the Headhunters recordings, you'll be blown away. He sounds like a very angry Wayne Shorter. "Song of the Wind" is also known as "Waltz for Bill Evans", while "Jamala" would appear on the classic first album by the Gateway trio.
This new reissue has much better sound than most previous issues of this material; only the alternate of "Sundance", for which no original masters were found, has a poor sound. The sequencing is convenient: disc one contains the (relatively) more accessible material while disc two includes the collective improvisations. Anyway, if you like Circle, the wilder moments of Now He Sings, Now He Sobs or the rhythm sections on Miles's '69-'70 recordings, then you should definitely pick up the Complete Is Sessions.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't this legendary?, September 20, 2007
This review is from: Complete Is Sessions (Audio CD)
There is nothing better than hearing jazz legends as much younger men; hungry, talented and wanting to make their mark on the world. This album gives you all of that. Corea, Holland, DeJohnette and a very very fierce pre-Headhunters Bennie Maupin. Woody Shaw and Hubert Laws also make appearences on various tracks. Legends one and all.

The playing on this is so good I lack the words to describe it. Tunes like "The Brain" and "This" are post bop at its very best. "Jamala" and "IS" are very very free yet very very powerful and great. The total and complete interplay between Corea/Holland/DeJohnette on every track has to be listened to in order to be believed.

This album is also (in my humble opinion) one where the alternate tracks are welcomed additions.......in fact you could make a case for the alt versions of "This" and "Sundance" surpassing the original released tunes.

Music like this no longer exists in the modern corporte dumbed down world. I have no idea how much longer this particular album will remain available......but do yourself a favor and buy this.

Then kick back and marvel at what you're hearing. Simply incredible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free But Sensible, December 26, 2005
By 
Michael D. Kittell "mikhl" (Ardmore, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Complete Is Sessions (Audio CD)
I liked this cd on its re-release much more than I expected. I don't compare it to the usual Blue Note hard bop. rather, it reminds me of Lennie Tristano's 1949 "Wow" session, that is regarded as the first "free jazz." The players on Chick's record are very well attuned and seem to echo and further each others' lines as the jams progress. It is a blowing session but probably had some planning and is far from the screechy noisefests that comprise much of 60's free music.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most forwardlooking, November 22, 2005
This review is from: Complete Is Sessions (Audio CD)
This music is 36 years old now. Just realize what has happened during this time in contemporary music - jazz or "classical": The borderline has completely vanished. Listen to 21st century contemporary music ("classical") - it sounds like Chick Corea in 1969.

This man is a genius. And these sessions are the work of a genius.
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