In the day of the digital download, direct sales from the artist or label and pre-ordering from companies such as Amazon, advance notice can be a beautiful thing and especially when the new release information has been in print for weeks to start with. Hot House has a street date of 09/04/12 so mark your calendars!
Some releases are too good to wait for and Chick Corea & Gary Burton's Hot House is one such release. Two old friends making music together is not necessarily a guarantee of success or even chemistry with the passage of time but Corea & Burton are literally joined at the musical hip. Sonic telepathy? What makes Hot House such a special release is that not only is this a celebration of forty years of friendship and making music together but a keen insight into their musical D.N.A. as these are some of their favorite composers from the 1940's through the 1960's. Corea & Burton have not lost a step or in this case a beat despite the gaps occurring between their duet releases and association which goes back to 1972.
Far from what one would consider the traditional release of covers by two masters, Corea & Burton open with a seldom heard gem from Art Tatum entitled "Can't We Be Friend which is complete with a deceptively subtle yet infectious sense of swing and then move to the Lennon-McCartney classic "Eleanor Rigby." Admittedly not all Beatles tunes make the transition with jazz sensibilities in place but Corea & Burton dial up the intensity a notch while still maintaining the poignancy that made the original such an iconic tune in the pop music world. Antonio Carlos Jobim has two tunes on the release which include the vibrant and colorful "Chega de Saudade" and the intricate "Once I Loved." A rare Thelonious Monk tune "Light Blue" finds Corea contributing his own second chorus that captures the spirit of Monk to perfection. Closing out this magnificent set there is the Chick Corea tune "Mozart Goes Dancing" recorded with the Harlem String Quartet and possibly a hint of what is to come on a potential 2013 release.
Chick Corea & Gary Burton could have taken the easy route by knocking off a set of familiar standards and calling it a day. Instead of the easy route both Corea & Burton opted for the more eclectic road less traveled and with amazing results. If this particular release is not my final choice for album of the year, it will at the very least be in my top 3. A stunning performance from start to finish.
Tracks: Can't We Be Friends; Eleanor Rigby; Chega de Saudade; Time Remembered; Hot House; Strange Meadow Lark; Light Blue; Once I Loved; My Ship; Mozart Goes Dancing.
Personnel: Chick Corea: piano; Gary Burton: vibraphone.