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The Enchantment

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 22, 2007
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Product Description

The first-ever studio collaboration between 12-time Grammyr-winning jazz piano legend CHICK COREA and 8-time Grammyr -winning banjo virtuoso BLA Fleck. Features 5 Chick Corea compositions, 6 B‚la Fleck compositions and the Ary Barroso/Sidney Russell standard 'Brazil 'This is the 'must-have' Iinstremental album for 2007!

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Fans of legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea and bebop/bluegrass banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck are well aware of the pair's previous collaborations (Corea guests on two Flecktones albums, and Fleck appears on Corea's Rendezvous in New York DVD), but their first full-length release should surprise even their most jaded followers. The two went into the project with intense seriousness of purpose, Corea writing four pieces and Fleck six. (The standard "Brazil" is their only cover.) They push each other hard in adapting their instruments to genres (bluegrass, country, Latin, ragtime, classical, blues, and world) normally outside their idioms, Corea playing 'grassy banjo patterns on the piano on Fleck's mournful "Mountain" and Fleck stretching on Corea's suite-like "Joban Dna Nopia." With few exceptions, the compositions are only frameworks for vast improvisation, which might be expected. But instead of setting each other up for extended solos, Corea and Fleck join together with breathtaking precision and verve, weaving and intertwining through remarkable contrapuntal excursions, only to break and meet up again in perfect sync. Despite the thrill of Fleck's chromatic chases and classical flirtations and Corea's mastery of difficult lines on Fleck's rippling "Spectacle," one can't help but think they would have benefited from a tad more instrumentation--especially bass and percussion. Perhaps that's the next step this wickedly inventive duo wll take in their ongoing odyssey of genius. --Alanna Nash
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Concord Records
  • ASIN: B000NJL4WQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,340 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jonathan E. Rossi on May 23, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I am a huge fan of Bela Fleck, and love Chick Corea as well. When I found out that the two were doing an acoustic duets tour and album, much like Bela and Edgar Meyer did a few years ago (which led to the incredible "Music For Two"), I was very excited. The partnering was natural - after all, some of the most memorable moments on "Live Art," the Flecktone's most highly regarded album (by most fans) are the jams featuring Chick sitting in with the band. And Bela has proven, time and again, that he is a master of various styles.

The music on this album is great. Chick clearly defers to Bela's style, and a lot of the music could easily fit on any of Bela's other albums. The soloing from both men is incredible, as are the unison runs, often delivered at such blistering speeds, in such total unison, that it boggles the mind.

The reasons I give this album 4 stars instead of 5 are two-fold. First of all, Bela is EVERYWHERE lately, and in most of those places, he's doing the same thing. Except for the Flecktones, who still allow him to stretch out, when you hear Bela with Edgar Meyer (two years ago), the Dave Matthews Band (this past summer and before), Keller Williams (on his recent album, Dream), Tony Trischa (on his Double Banjo Spectacular album), or any of the dozens of other guest spots he makes, you usually end up hearing the same style of playing that's on this album. It's not that I don't love it, it's just that I was expecting him to stretch out more and go in a different direction while working with someone as known for experimentation as Chick Corea is. The second reason it's getting four of five is because this album isn't very "full-sounding.
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Format: Audio CD
"The Enchantment" is the first-ever studio collaboration between jazz pianist Chick Corea and banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck, capturing the astonishing interplay between these two master musicians.

Immensely popular in their own musical spheres - combined, they have won an astounding 20 Grammy awards - they have forged a true collaboration with the release of this album.

I would not have guessed that a collection of songs this enjoyable could have been created with only piano and banjo, but these guys are so talented and innovative that it works.

A key aspect might be that ten of the eleven cuts were written by one or the other of the stars, and it's obvious that they know their own strengths -- and each other's.

Bela has been innovating almost as long as he's been playing the banjo. He's delved into the jazz world before, hiring jazz musicians to be in his band, and recording with jazz players at times. He's even recorded with Chick Corea before when Corea made guest appearances on two Flecktone recordings in the 1990's. But this new record is the first time the two players and composers have worked together to record a duet album.

As a duo, Fleck and Corea combine a variety of musical styles and flavors -- from blues to bluegrass, from classical to country.

The 11-track album released on Concord Records, features four compositions by Corea, including the title track, and six by Fleck. Also included is an unlikely and uniquely witty cover of the standard "Brazil".

The opener, Corea's "Seniorita" is a Latin-based tune, as are many of Corea's best-known compositions, but Fleck makes himself right at home, coaxing a classical sound from his banjo that is truly amazing.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is a gem. No wonder it broke into the top 40 on the very first day! Every single song is marvelous. Very lyrical. I can see several of these songs as being well played on jazz radio. There's not much more I can say except to say, both players are the best at their instruments, and their writing makes their playing shine.
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First let me say that I enjoy the music very much. However, there is an imbalance of sorts between the two players. This is not altogether a bad thing: it is simply something I find interesting and apparent. To my ears, Chick Corea has over the years become a very fine player. He has always been a fine technician, but has matured into a fine musician as well. Again, to my ears--Bela, while also an adept technician, seems to be a less agile musical mind. His ideas sometimes seem more a result of technical prowess than musical "inspiration" for lack of a better word. I think working with Chick will probably be a huge and important step in Bela's musical development. It's a wonderful thing to see really good players turning into great players.
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Format: Audio CD
Chick Corea and Bela Fleck. Who in his right mind would have put these two together and said make a record? When you think of fusion, you don't think of Country Jazz.

This may be the most daring and satisfying recording these two men have made in years. Without any disrespect meant to either artist, they have both been in a bit of a rut lately. Their recent recordings have been good, skillful but ultimately more of the same. But put them together and you have magic.

Though you might think that there wouldn't be enough sonic color, differentiation and variety between the two instruments, the opposite is true. They make use of the full range of their instruments and full use of their imagination in ways we haven't heard in a while. Corea particularly sounds energized and full of purpose. He is not falling into familiar patterns here but is attacking the keys as if he were just seeing the potential of the piano for the first time. Fleck is very precise and at times almost technically overwhelming. It's a joy to hear two masters alternately pushing and supporting each other. You can feel the ebb and flow throughout each song.

Some of the songs like Spectacle and Joban Dna Nopia are intricate and emotional at the same time. They grab you from the first listening and don't let go. In fact, the songs, the melodies, on this album hold up to some of the best either man has produced to date. The playing is wonderful, the songcraft exceptional. I have no doubt that both artists must feel very satisfied with this recording.

These days I'm consumed by music file playlists of my own making in order to put together enough good songs from an artist for a lengthy joyful experience. CDs like this remind me that there are albums out there that are right just the way they are.
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