Chick Corea … mmmm

Staying with music, I like my jazz served with booze, and fags, and low lights. I like it with round tables, small stages, and lipstick. I like the mood, the ambience, the feel of it all. Call me a philistine, if you like, I don’t mind.

I’d be lying if I said that seeing Chick Corea live was on my bucket list. He doesn’t fall into the ‘always wanted to see but never had the opportunity’ category. He’s more of a ‘big name in town, grab the opportunity’. And had I not had a choice of two other gigs last night, I’d probably be more enthusiastic about him than I am. But when I think of where I could have been….

It was my first time at MoMsport. The clue is in the name. Sport. A very large sports hall. With a stage, and rows of chairs fronting the plastic bleachers. Strike three for mood, ambience, and feel. Strike two more for round tables and small stages, and another two for booze and fags. I’m not smoking this week so the fag thing didn’t bother me but I always associate jazz with smoke-filled rooms.

Chick began his solo career the year I was born. He’s been around long enough to get a reputation.

A DownBeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master, 22-time Grammy winner, and keyboard virtuoso, Chick Corea has attained living legend status after five decades of unparalleled creativity and an artistic output that is simply staggering.

Chick is the fourth-most-nominated artist in the history of the Grammys, with 63 nominations. He’s also earned 3 Latin Grammy Awards, the most of any artist in the Best Instrumental Album category.

The guy is a genius on the piano. And he had two more with him. Jazz bassist Eddie Gomez is the sprightliest looking septuagenarian I’ve seen in a while. He’s played on stage with the likes of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and George Benson and recorded with names like Carly Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Mark Knoffler. Quite the CV.

Drummer Brian Blade has another litany of famous names in his performance history, recording with Bob Dylan (Time Out Of Mind), Emmylou Harris (Wrecking Ball), and hero Joni Mitchell. His band, The Fellowship Band, as in Brian Blade and the…. is about taking music beyond borders:

I want the music to be a fellowship. That’s what you want from the world as a whole. I want the music to project that kind of togetherness. This ideal of fellowship is something I grew up with. I just want to extend the good memories.

The 20-minute-late start didn’t do much for my mood. Four songs before the intermission didn’t help either, even if they were about 10 minutes each. Then a long intermission and another 40-minute set. All of which would have been fab, in a smoky room with a bar and round tables. There’s no question that the boys were brilliant. Masters of music each one of them. But I like my jazz with booze, and fags, and not just low lights.

I could have been over in Muzikum at an Ian Siegal gig, or at Mupa checking out Chilly Gonzales. But I wasn’t. I’ve made a note to self not to be wowed by great names and must-sees if the venue isn’t right. I had a similar thing with a gig at Margitszigeti Szabadtéri Színpad last year but obviously I didn’t listen to myself. Next time, Mary. Next time.

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