Chick Corea has been a fairly regular visitor to Scotland over the years, but I can’t recall him playing a solo concert here before now. It is a format that he has returned to periodically over the years, both live and in recordings, including an early classic example on ECM, Piano Improvisations, and a pair of discs on Stretch that divided between standards and originals.
The pianist is looking forward to the gigs he is playing in solo format this summer. The Glasgow date is his only solo show in the UK, which makes it an even more unmissable opportunity. By way of preparation Corea has admitted that he revisited one of the towering greats of jazz piano – although not one that you might immediately associate with his own work.
‘I’m looking forward to playing solo again, and I’ve been listening to Art Tatum these past months. What an inspiration that man is!’
Whether any direct Tatum influence will be detectable at the O2 Academy remains to be seen. The concert comes on the back of a number of projects that have seen the pianist return to associations from early in his career, including re-forming the fusion outfit Return to Forever, and linking up with guitarist John McLaughlin in their jointly-led Five Peace Band (a double live CD has just been released on Corea’s current label, Concord Records).
Last year he released the The New Crystal Silence with Gary Burton, again taking a fresh look at their seminal duet album of the early 70s on a 35th anniversary tour, and a more recent duo collaboration brought another double CD of two-piano music with the strongly Corea-influenced Japanese pianist, Hiromi, also recorded live. The reunions remain forward looking projects, reflecting an ongoing desire to create new music – and to keep the contact with his audience live.
‘I always see myself being with the audience that’s right in front of me, and that communication is as solid and unchanging as anything in life. I love that and I never want to let that go.’
O2 Academy, Glasgow, Tue 30 Jun.