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Hit Couleurs JAZZ

To my knowledge, Chick Corea has never recorded with a big band under his own name, although he has played pianist here and there in the orchestras of Herbie Mann & Oliver Nelson, Joe Henderson and the GRP All-Star Big Band.

It was therefore a challenge for Christophe Dal Sasso to revisit the music of one of the late pianist’s most famous quartets with a Franco-French line-up (with the exception of Americans Rick Margitza and Jerry Edwards and Canadian Karl Jannuska, all of whom have lived in France for many years).

To replace the late Michael Brecker, the arranger chose no less than three tenors: David El-Malek, Margitza – mentioned above and the only one to have worked with Corea – and Stéphane Guillaume (who also plays soprano and flute). As for the piano stool, it’s occupied by Pierre de Bethmann, who has nothing to be ashamed of in Corea’s role, so comfortable does he seem in it, and so much does he contribute to the orchestra’s overall sound through his accompaniment and solos. The arrangements are vigorous and shimmering, giving Corea’s music a welcome new color.

Dal Sasso has clearly thought through his approach to the “Three Quartets” repertoire, adding three compositions by the American pianist, two of which (“Slippery when Wet” and “Folk Song”) had been performed by the original quartet, the third (“Tones for Joan’s Bones”) appearing on Corea‘s first opus under his own name in the late ’60s.

The big band’s sound is remarkably dense and varied, and – in the absence of alto sax in the upper register and baritone sax, horn or tuba in the lower – this is helped by the presence of flutes and upright and bass clarinets.

In keeping with the spirit of the original opus, it’s the tenors and piano that are mainly featured in the solos, and this re-appropriation of “Three Quartets” sounds like a genuine tribute to one of the pillars of the discography of a musician who, with this recording, began his return to acoustic jazz (didn’t he dedicate two of his themes to Duke Ellington and John Coltrane), of which he remains – alongside his electric excursions 

0ne of the greatest specialists in modern jazz.


Line Up:

Christophe Dal Sasso: flute, arrangements

Stéphane Guillaume: flute, tenor sax, soprano sax

David El-Malek: tenor sax

Rick Margitza: tenor sax

Thomas Savy: clarinet, bass clarinet

Nicolas Folmer: trumpet, flugelhorn

Christian Martinez: trumpet

Denis Leloup & Jerry Edwards: trombones

Pierre de Bethmann: piano

Manuel Marchès: double bass

Karl Jannuska: drums

Chick Corea’s “Three Quartets” Revisited was released by Jazz & People on May 17, 2024. It is a “Hit Couleurs Jazz” and “Best of the Month” for may 2024 selected on Couleurs Jazz Radio.

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