June 4, 2012 in Album of the Week
Recorded live at the Blue Note in New York City in 2010, Chick Corea’s album with Bill Evan’s rhythm section was released in January of 2012. Chick Corea was joined by bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Paul Motian for the live dates. The album is a 2 cd set of great music. Sadly, the legendary Paul Motian passed away shortly after the release of the album.
Further Explorations was released roughly 50 years after Bill Evan’s landmark album Explorations. Scott LaFaro was Bill Evan’s bassist on Explorations, and Paul Motian played drums. Despite the fact that Chick Corea is playing with a classic Bill Evans rhythm section and plays some Bill Evan’s tunes for Further Explorations, I think that it does the album and the musicians a disservice to think of this album as a tribute album. Inevitable comparisons will be made between this group and Bill Evans, and the album is marketed as “honoring the music of Bill Evans,” but this group goes places no Bill Evans group ever went. Though this album’s has received primarily positive feedback from critics, the album has received some mixed reviews, maybe in part because some expect Chick Corea to imitate Bill Evans in this trio.
Bill Evans was a unique force in the history of jazz piano, but so is Chick Corea. Chick should be expected to be Chick, not Bill Evans. He is a phenomenal artist in his own right, and this album is a very enjoyable live glimpse into what these fantastic musicians are capable of today. The piano trio has evolved since Bill Evans seminal work with the genre, and these musicians capture such an incredible of variety of music on this album it is incredible. Further Explorations really captures the evolution that has happened to the piano trio in the past 50 years from Bill Evans to Keith Jarrett, Brad Meldau, and of course Chick Corea. This album is highly entertaining, and it captures a staggering array of sonic possibilities for the genre. I highly recommend this new album, which delivers exactly what it advertises-Further Explorations!