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The Ultimate Adventure

28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 7, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Reunited with master-musicians who helped create many of his classic albums such a Return To Forever, Chick Corea continues to explore new musical realms with a cross-genre mix ofexotic ethnic rhythms, passionate Spanish-Flamenco inspired melodies, and African and Middle Eastern grooves, resulting in a totally unique blend of world-jazz. The music provides a sonic landscape from the compelling sci-fi novel, The Ultimate Adventure; a long-time favorite of Corea's. Concord. 2006.

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Just as some books need to be edited for length, so do some albums inspired by works of literature. At least that's the case with The Ultimate Adventure, Chick Corea's second straight album project derived from a novel by his late Scientology mentor L. Ron Hubbard. Dubbed a tone poem by Corea, the nearly 75-minute work has some of his airiest, most cooly fluent music in some time. With its distinctive electric piano punctuation and contributions by flutist Hubert Laws and RTF percussionist Airto Moreira, the lyrical passages have echoes of his much-loved band of the seventies, Return to Forever. And the Spanish tinge for which he is known gravitates winningly south to Arabic North Africa. Ultimately, though, not all of the album's chapters are equally lively: the "Adventure" goes on a bit much for those who aren't using it as a soundtrack to the plot about a boy on a self-actualization quest, and even for some who are. But Corea has never negotiated the acoustic-electric (or, in his parlance, akoustic/elektric) divide as well as he does here and his ability to command a large cast including saxophonist Tim Garland and guitarist Frank Gambale is impressive. --Lloyd Sachs

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 7, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Stretch Records
  • ASIN: B000CQQHH2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,511 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ian K. Hughes on February 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This beautiful, Spanish-tinged work by Chick Corea seems a throwback to the recordings the venerable jazz pianist/composer made in the 1970's. Given the overt influence of flamenco (several of the musicians are veterans of Paco de Lucia's group), one thinks immediately of "My Spanish Heart" (1976). But, with the modal vamps, odd time signatures and (tasteful) deployment of the Fender Rhodes and synthesizers, one can also discern links to similar "tone poems" (as Corea refers to them) such as "The Leprechaun" and "The Mad Hatter". The individual tunes may not have the immediate, infectious appeal of those on "My Spanish Heart" (a veritable classic), but the variety of expressive moods, richness of harmony (strains of Debussy and Berg), flowing improvisations and pulsating rhythmic grooves found in the passages of "The Ultimate Adventure" constitute a real listening pleasure. Audiophiles will be especially pleased with the immaculate production. A minor caveat: Frank Gambale's acoustic guitar playing (some of the last tracks) while competent enough, was somewhat lackluster. Too bad one of Chick's other guitar-playing friends (Al Di Meola or John McLaughlin) couldn't have taken a stab at the changes.

To this reviewer, it is of no aesthetic consequence that the material on "The Ultimate Adventure" was inspired by a story attributed to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. At the Berkeley stop of his current tour, Corea (long-time member of that organization) was laughed at and mocked by some cretinous audience members for merely mentioning the origins of his composition; is not a modicum of civilized tolerance due an artist with 40 years of creative endeavors under his belt?
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By jjb on July 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
i'm an old corea fan from way back, very much into his return to forever days...later stuff i couldn't really get into. took a chance on this cd and was pleasantly surprised; i think if any of his fans liked his earlier material you won't be disappointed; i really enjoy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Louise Marquis on February 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is the Chick Corea we long-time fans know and love. But this time it's more about his brilliant compositions and expert performance with a great group than the freewheeling improv we have heard at times. It is richly textured jazz with liberal sprinklings of world music and some classical influences. I'm not familiar with the story this music is based on, but listening to it is an adventure I'm happy to experience in my own imagination.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. Minkovitch on June 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There are few artists who are as uncompromizing as Chick Corea - how sad that other aging artists cannot follow his brilliant example. Chick Corea is like good wine - he gets better with age. He is bent on pursuing his unique musical vision, no matter what direction the rest of the music scene is heading into (decay probably) - this is clearly manifested on this latest offering from Chick. It is a thoroughly enjoyable album, probably his best work in years, and if you are a Return To Forever fan, you might say, his best since their disintegration.

This is essentially a Latin-tinged fusion album, which is what Chick is all about, really. There is a relaxed swing feel throughout, often leading into a frantically paced fusion passages reminiscent of progressive rock, some fiery middle eastern jams, sambas, bossas, flamenco, post-bop, and plenty of classical influences, apparent in the compositional structure and style. The arrangements are very lush with flute and piano dominating. Despite the overall evenness, there are several tracks that stand out from the others. The fairy-tale atmosphere created by flute/piano permeates the entire album. Drumming is superlative, especially in the more frenetic and intricate passages, where the drums and keyboard/flute are fused into a singe tight unit. On some tracks the latin percussion is hotter than Santana's in his prime.

Now, some people have a problem with Chick selling Scientology. Personally, I don't give a toss about Scientology or any other "ology" or "ism" for that matter, but this does not bother me - if it makes Chick a happier person, then let him be. It certainly does not appear to hurt his music in any way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Seth Hamel on May 18, 2006
Format: Audio CD
A very beautifully orchestrated record. I feel that chick correa really nailed the ideas that he was trying to get across. there are many , many moments of complete clear , crisp and very refreshing conversation in every piece. i really enjoyed the amount of space in his music also, a very playful and enjoyable album.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Rosenbaum on February 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This CD, the follow-up to "To the Stars" (another L. Ron Hubbard book Chick has arranged musically) is just nothing short of incredible. Chick calls this a Tone Poem which of course is the label given to Richard Strauss' pieces like Thus Sprac Zarathustra, and Ein Heldenlaben. This is an appropriate label since this is the telling a a story.

The music presented here jams right along. Musical styles ranging from Spanish and African and Middle Eastern traditions. Some great solos by all the performers. Chick decided to have all of these performers play certain pieces on the CD so not everyone is on every cut. He pulled together some of the best musicians in the business. Many from Paco de Lucia's band Touchstone (check out the new CD by Chick with Touchstone called Rhumba Flamenco available only on [...]) as well as Hubert Laws, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, Airto Moreira, and Hassam Ramzy.

Keep up the great work Chick.
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