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Past, Present & Futures

Past, Present & Futures

4.0 3
by Chick Corea
Past, Present & Futures is the latest of an extraordinary string of acoustic hardcore jazz recordings by Chick Corea on Stretch, his signature label, that feature the iconic pianist-composer at the top of his form. Now 60, Corea is completely in tune with his thirtyish bass-drum team of Avishai Cohen and Jeff Ballard, who have


Past, Present & Futures is the latest of an extraordinary string of acoustic hardcore jazz recordings by Chick Corea on Stretch, his signature label, that feature the iconic pianist-composer at the top of his form. Now 60, Corea is completely in tune with his thirtyish bass-drum team of Avishai Cohen and Jeff Ballard, who have played hundreds of gigs with Corea since 1997 as members of his sextet Origin; they navigate 10 recently composed Corea originals and Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" in a joyous, interactive set that embodies the spirit of exploration and stretching-out, prodigious technique completely at the service of thought. For example, on "Fingerprints," a variant on Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," the pianist flies over a turbulent Latin groove, springboarding Cohen into a fleet, harmonically cogent solo with rhythmic twists and turns that spur Ballard into beautiful patterns that morph into a Corea-Ballard unison sequence. That spirit continues through "Cloud Candy," a medium blues with an insinuating melody; into "Dignity," an extended form waltz with a nachtmusik motif that appears to be in two sections; all the way through to the concluding "Life Line," a long form piece based on a call-and-response motif over a surging clave that inspires Corea to spin out lucid, endlessly imaginative melodies. We commented last year that Corea's concurrent solo piano recitals, Standards and Originals, were "de facto meditations on jazz tradition refracted through a personality that unfailingly gazes at the stars." You might describePast, Present & Futures as a de facto speculation on the future bedrocked on an unflinching dialogue with the past and an unwavering commitment to the imperative of creating truth and beauty in the here and now.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Paula Edelstein
In their first offering of recorded music as a trio, the Chick Corea New Trio has masterfully interpreted ten excellent, original compositions written by Chick Corea and one jazz standard written by Thomas "Fats" Waller on their Stretch Records CD titled Past, Present, and Futures. Just as the mind interprets what the ear hears, the trio's mind builds on Corea's meticulous and beautiful inspirations and arrive at concepts that are spiritual, metaphysical, and open-minded. Playing a variety of musical genres and styles including the blues and flamenco, bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Jeff Ballard provide total agreement for Corea's thematic forms through their unlimited creativity and combination of multiple textures, time signatures, and different tempos. The program opens with "Fingerprints," a tip of the hat to Wayne Shorter's classic "Footprints." Corea uses a 12-bar form in C minor with an unusual harmonic twist for the last four bars, as with Shorter's classic. Ballard is sensational on his drum solo and on his exciting percussive heartbeats. Cohen burns on bass, and presents a fascinating and exciting bass dance that is highly enjoyable. The only standard on the CD is Waller's great "Jitterbug Waltz" -- one of the first jazz waltzes ever written. Corea's blithe interpretation is a reflection of the past, resurfacing in the present with vastly different results. The colorful composition is further enhanced as both Corea and Cohen artfully dance on their instruments, playing their top-to-bottom command of the scales with the kind of beauty and grace that the waltz form captures so consistently. "Dignity" is also a jazz waltz and is certainly the most beautiful song on the CD. Dedicated to Armando Corea's wife, it is the consummate portrayal of a woman's sensitivity and spirituality, and her reflective, loving, and dignified nature is captured gracefully in Chick Corea's piano melodies. The title track is absolutely astounding in its artistry, harmony, and rhythmic beauty. Corea escorts his listeners into several musical scenarios, catching the beat of the particular time, space, and moment by varying the cadence and harmonic positions. Where Cohen's amazing use of pizzicato techniques to represent multiple images of time (in this instance, past, present, and futures) is sure to enchant the listener, his piano mastery becomes an event and a springboard for three different musical perspectives from Ballard and Cohen. Corea rolls out formidable lines and brilliant improvisory passages on "Life Line," with both Ballard and Cohen displaying the technical brilliance of the virtuoso performer in their compatible note-for-note rim shots and basslines. This song shows the mastery of the trio at its core, with both Cohen and Ballard putting themselves in the middle of a blaze of piano dialogue that connects their skills to the nucleus of Corea's brilliant accomplishment. This song is awesome. The Chick Corea New Trio is exceptional in their execution of Corea's compositional integrity, incorporating the themes of past, present, and futures throughout the set with continued sequences and modulations that develop its sustained intensity, musical subtext and text, and deep listening opps. The musical concepts on Past, Present, & Futures, as played by this trio, present no comparisons to previous Corea bands, and this release contains some of the freshest and finest compositions of Corea's career. A must-have.

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Stretch Records

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Past, Present & Futures 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Past Present & Future (hearing its preview) is another example of how fine C.C.'s artistry is. His is the timeless ability to sound perfectly alive from edge to edge. I highly recommend this beautifully crafted disc.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pianist Chick Corea is back with bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Jeff Ballard, aptly named The Chick Corea New Trio. With the new album Past, Present & Futures, Chick forges ahead and continues to create new music that is stylish and sincere. Together since 1998, the New Trio¿s music maintains it roots in traditional jazz by blending together as one unified unpredictable voice. With ten new original compositions plus Fats Waller¿s ¿Jitterbug Waltz¿ this new album is a great step forward for Chick and his New Trio.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago