Chick Corea/John McLaughlin ‘Five Peace Band Live’ (Concord) 4/5

chick-corea-john-mclaughlinThis all-star album recorded at a variety of live venues in Europe is a veritable feast of jazz fusion and in many respects a reunion of former Miles Davis alumni. Alongside the two headliners, saxophonist Kenny Garrett is a group member as well as a guest appearance from Herbie Hancock. Completing the band are bassist Christian McBride and drummer Vinnie Colanta. Compositions are roughly even divided between Corea and McLoughlin, but it is actually the other tracks that catch one’s eyes and ears. The piece de resistance of proceedings is a delicious lengthy reworking of part two of ‘In a Silent Way’, with Hancock exchanging keyboard licks with Corea. Even more surprising is a the Jackie McLean hard bop classic, ‘Dr. Jackle’, which finds the group in acoustic mode and McBride undertaking a sensitive solo. Perhaps some of the tracks are a little over long, especially the twenty-seven minute plus ‘Hymn to Andromeda’. However, this would be to underestimate the virtuosity of the musicianship on offer. Nonetheless, it would be nice to hear Corea and McLoughlin in a more intimate and acoustic setting together.

Tim Stenhouse