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Melodic tribute is a very good Corea move

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  • yolandazorio
    Everything comes to those who wait =================================== Source:
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 5, 2009
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      Everything comes to those who wait
      ===================================

      Source: http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/music-features/melodic-tribute-is-a-very-good-corea-move-1.930530

      The Manhattan Transfer's latest album is testament to this. An homage to one of the greatest pianists and keyboards masters in jazz, The Chick Corea Songbook has been in the group's plans for almost as long as their trademark lush vocal harmony versions of songs such as Chanson d'Amour and Tuxedo Junction have been scoring hits with the public, if not longer.

      "We first met Chick in the mid-1970s," says the group's Alan Paul down the line from Pordenone, in Italy, the first stop on the European tour that brings them to Perth next weekend to open the new Tay Jazz event that extends Dundee Jazz Festival upriver.

      "Tim (Hauser) and Janis (Siegel) used to go and visit Chick and his wife, Gayle, and they always talked about doing something together. But for one reason or another, our respective schedules just never allowed this to work out, so it remained something that we'd speak about until this summer."

      Enter Yusuf Gandhi, chief executive of Four Quarters Entertainment, who 10 years ago had the idea of getting The Manhattan Transfer to arrange their favourite Corea tracks, but since the group were then under contract to another label, he shelved the idea. Come June 2009, the group were free agents and, says Paul, the time had come, although not too much time.

      To listen to the album, you'd never know that it was arranged and recorded under what Paul acknowledges were less than ideal circumstances.

      "We did the whole thing in two months," he says. "We started by having each of the four of us choose 30 tunes that we wanted to cover. We're all big Chick Corea fans but Chick's catalogue is so vast and he goes out with so many different projects – electric, acoustic, solo piano and so on – that we had a job just settling on the repertoire.

      "Some songs, Spain for example, we all wanted to do; others were things that Tim and I favoured. Then once we'd decided what to sing, we realised that half of the songs had lyrics but the other half needed lyrics, so we were having words written for some songs as we were recording others.

      "On top of that we were laying down backing tracks in New York and Los Angeles and fitting in rehearsals in both cities between flying off for gigs in Europe. So, yeah, it was hectic."

      In the end they covered Corea on quite a few bases. There's the Latin flavour of the original line-up of Corea's 1970s group Return to Forever in Spain (given a very modern beat and treatment) and 500 Miles High, a cunningly reworked Space Circus (renamed Another Roadside Attraction) from RTF's heavier period, and Time's Lie from Corea's spell as a sideman with saxophonist Stan Getz.

      There are also arrangements of solo piano compositions such as Children's Song #1 and works from later in the 1970s, including Armando's Rhumba, with Corea himself rubber-stamping the project with the specially composed Free Samba.

      "Getting some kind of continuity was important to us and we were very fortunate to actually have Chick play on, as well as write, Free Samba," says Paul. "That plus the fact that Airto Moreira, Christian MacBride and Gary Novak, who have all played with Chick at different times, were able to contribute to our album, made it all the more satisfying and complete as a homage to a great musician."

      Under normal circumstances, The Manhattan Transfer would prefer to work without the time constraints that various tours, musicians' schedules and optimum release dates put on The Chick Corea Songbook. Paul recalls working on their classic album from 1985, Vocalese, a tribute to the vocal style invented by the great Jon Hendricks in his Lambert, Hendricks and Ross trio that included the Count Basie Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie and Hendricks himself on its guest list.

      "I think part of the reason for that album's success was due to us being able to learn all the material before we went into the studio," he says. "We actually took the songs we were planning to record out on a tour of clubs in the Los Angeles area and the music evolved on the stage. So by the time we got to the studio we'd worked out any kinks and really knew what we wanted the finished item to sound like."

      After 30 years together, more in the case of Paul, Hausier and Siegel, who were joined by Cheryl Bentyne when she replaced Laurel Masse in 1979, the group have evolved into a family, says Paul, and while they have to keep working hard to make those harmonies seem effortless, some elements of their music come together faster and more easily these days.

      "We learn new material faster now," he says. "I remember doing Four Brothers on our third album and it took a long time because we weren't that familiar with the voicings we were using. Being better at reading music than we were back then also helps. Like any family we have our fights and disagreements but we've learned how to get along, to try and keep things objective and not to push the buttons that'll cause an eruption – because we all have those.

      "We've learned to appreciate what we like about each other and what we have together, that's a gift that doesn't happen often."

      The Manhattan Transfer play Perth Concert Hall on November 12. For information on Tay Jazz and Dundee Jazz Festival, log onto: www.jazzdundee.co.uk.
    • Springer,James C.
      ... http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/music-features/melodic-tribute-i s-a-very-good-corea-move-1.930530
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 5, 2009
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        > From: yolandazorio

        > Source:
        http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/music-features/melodic-tribute-i
        s-a-very-good-corea-move-1.930530
        <http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/music-features/melodic-tribute-
        is-a-very-good-corea-move-1.930530>

        > The Manhattan Transfer's latest album is testament to this. An
        > homage to one of the greatest pianists and keyboards masters in jazz,
        > The Chick Corea Songbook has been in the group's plans for almost as
        >long as their trademark lush vocal harmony versions of songs such as
        > Chanson d'Amour and Tuxedo Junction have been scoring hits with the
        public,
        > if not longer. . . .

        Hey Jolly,

        Thanks for posting this review/interview ... It was a good read!

        Take care; Jim


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      • Tobias Reid
        Thanks Jolly, Here s a great review from Jazz Times (http://jazztimes.com/articles/25275-the-chick-corea-songbook-the-manhattan-transfer) The Manhattan
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 6, 2009
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          Thanks Jolly,

          Here's a great review from Jazz Times (http://jazztimes.com/articles/25275-the-chick-corea-songbook-the-manhattan-transfer)

          The Manhattan Transfer
          The Chick Corea Songbook




          By Christopher Loudon













          Significant
          as it is that the Manhattan Transfer has been around for 40 years, it
          is far more remarkable that those four decades have been marked by
          near-continuous artistic expansion and advancement. The Four Freshmen
          and the Hi-Los can statistically claim greater longevity, but the
          Manhattan Transfer must rightfully be credited as the most enduringly
          creative vocal group in jazz history. The key distinction, and the
          principal reason for the group’s sustainability, is that the Transfer
          has not simply built upon the foundation laid by the Freshmen and the
          Hi-Los. The Transfer has also drawn from all adjacent wells, cleverly
          appropriating everything from big-band swing and the bop-centric
          brilliance of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross to East Coast doo-wop and
          the West Coast intricacy of the Mel-Tones. 
          Over the course of 23 albums, (24 if you count the 1969 one-off
          Jukin’), bass Tim Hauser, alto Janis Siegel, tenor Alan Paul and
          soprano Cheryl Bentyne (who replaced Laurel Massé in 1976) have taken
          continuous detours, rarely making a wrong turn.
          Along the way, they’ve delivered more than their share of masterpieces, including the bold, vibrant Pastiche (with Massé) and the zoot-sharp Swing. But none, save the landmark Hendricks tribute Vocalese, can match the ingeniousness of The Chick Corea Songbook.
          In the liner notes, Siegel rightly describes it as a “magical and
          transformational odyssey.” It is less an album than a series of
          soul-stirring journeys, unfailingly respectful to their source while
          sagely retooled to take wing in fresh directions.


          Songbook opens and closes with a new Corea composition, “Free
          Samba,” a transcontinental, perhaps even trans-planetary, exercise in
          soaring liberty that cleverly hints at the varied adventures it
          brackets. There is the innocent passage from birth to infancy shaped by
          Siegel and Bentyne around “Children’s Song 1,” arranged by Fred Hersch,
          whose gently tinkling keystrokes lead all four voices on a playful
          calliope ride. There is the dazzlingly cacophonous circus train,
          steered by Paul, which winds through “Pixiland Rag.” There is the spicy
          paella of Siegel’s “The Story of Anna & Armando” (based on
          “Armando’s Rhumba”) conveyed on waves of brass as it probes the deep
          passion of Corea’s parents.



          Hauser teams with lyricist Van Dyke Parks (the notorious, widely
          misunderstood eccentric who toiled with Brian Wilson on the ill-fated
          Smile) for the antithetical gems “One Step Closer” and “Another
          Roadside Attraction.” The first, based on “The One Step,” is a softly
          swinging world tour that ultimately crosses the Rubicon in pursuit of
          pure, lasting love; the other is a hypnotic, chant-fueled inner voyage
          built upon “Space Circus” to create an otherworldly carnival. Though
          Corea fans will recognize Neville Potter’s lyrics for “500 Miles High”
          and “Times Lie,” they’ll also surely appreciate the free-floating
          expansiveness of Michele Weir’s arrangement of the former (gorgeously
          accented by guest percussionist Alex Acuña) and the multilayered,
          Hersch-arranged joyousness of the unfettered latter. Familiarity
          reaches maximum comfort and inspiration on what languidly unfurls as a
          majestic meander through Corea and Al Jarreau’s “Spain,” propelled by
          fogged reveries of desire and punctuated by the suggestion of staccato
          heels on hardwood.



          Hauser and Paul have both commented that this project has been on
          the group’s backburner since the 1970s. Would a younger, less seasoned
          Manhattan Transfer have handled such material with the same care,
          precision and imagination? Not likely. It has required the interceding
          decades for the foursome to reach the necessary level of assured,
          relaxed maturation. In other words, to paraphrase Gloria Steinem, this
          is what 40 sounds like.









          --- On Thu, 11/5/09, yolandazorio <yolandazorio@...> wrote:

          From: yolandazorio <yolandazorio@...>
          Subject: [ManTran] Melodic tribute is a very good Corea move
          To: mantran@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Thursday, November 5, 2009, 12:05 AM

          Everything comes to those who wait
          ===================================

          Source: http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/music-features/melodic-tribute-is-a-very-good-corea-move-1.930530

          The Manhattan Transfer's latest album is testament to this. An homage to one of the greatest pianists and keyboards masters in jazz, The Chick Corea Songbook has been in the group's plans for almost as long as their trademark lush vocal harmony versions of songs such as Chanson d'Amour and Tuxedo Junction have been scoring hits with the public, if not longer.

          "We first met Chick in the mid-1970s," says the group's Alan Paul down the line from Pordenone, in Italy, the first stop on the European tour that brings them to Perth next weekend to open the new Tay Jazz event that extends Dundee Jazz Festival upriver.

          "Tim (Hauser) and Janis (Siegel) used to go and visit Chick and his wife, Gayle, and they always talked about doing something together. But for one reason or another, our respective schedules just never allowed this to work out, so it remained something that we'd speak about until this summer."

          Enter Yusuf Gandhi, chief executive of Four Quarters Entertainment, who 10 years ago had the idea of getting The Manhattan Transfer to arrange their favourite Corea tracks, but since the group were then under contract to another label, he shelved the idea. Come June 2009, the group were free agents and, says Paul, the time had come, although not too much time.

          To listen to the album, you'd never know that it was arranged and recorded under what Paul acknowledges were less than ideal circumstances.

          "We did the whole thing in two months," he says. "We started by having each of the four of us choose 30 tunes that we wanted to cover. We're all big Chick Corea fans but Chick's catalogue is so vast and he goes out with so many different projects – electric, acoustic, solo piano and so on – that we had a job just settling on the repertoire.

          "Some songs, Spain for example, we all wanted to do; others were things that Tim and I favoured. Then once we'd decided what to sing, we realised that half of the songs had lyrics but the other half needed lyrics, so we were having words written for some songs as we were recording others.

          "On top of that we were laying down backing tracks in New York and Los Angeles and fitting in rehearsals in both cities between flying off for gigs in Europe. So, yeah, it was hectic."

          In the end they covered Corea on quite a few bases. There's the Latin flavour of the original line-up of Corea's 1970s group Return to Forever in Spain (given a very modern beat and treatment) and 500 Miles High, a cunningly reworked Space Circus (renamed Another Roadside Attraction) from RTF's heavier period, and Time's Lie from Corea's spell as a sideman with saxophonist Stan Getz.

          There are also arrangements of solo piano compositions such as Children's Song #1 and works from later in the 1970s, including Armando's Rhumba, with Corea himself rubber-stamping the project with the specially composed Free Samba.

          "Getting some kind of continuity was important to us and we were very fortunate to actually have Chick play on, as well as write, Free Samba," says Paul. "That plus the fact that Airto Moreira, Christian MacBride and Gary Novak, who have all played with Chick at different times, were able to contribute to our album, made it all the more satisfying and complete as a homage to a great musician."

          Under normal circumstances, The Manhattan Transfer would prefer to work without the time constraints that various tours, musicians' schedules and optimum release dates put on The Chick Corea Songbook. Paul recalls working on their classic album from 1985, Vocalese, a tribute to the vocal style invented by the great Jon Hendricks in his Lambert, Hendricks and Ross trio that included the Count Basie Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie and Hendricks himself on its guest list.

          "I think part of the reason for that album's success was due to us being able to learn all the material before we went into the studio," he says. "We actually took the songs we were planning to record out on a tour of clubs in the Los Angeles area and the music evolved on the stage. So by the time we got to the studio we'd worked out any kinks and really knew what we wanted the finished item to sound like."

          After 30 years together, more in the case of Paul, Hausier and Siegel, who were joined by Cheryl Bentyne when she replaced Laurel Masse in 1979, the group have evolved into a family, says Paul, and while they have to keep working hard to make those harmonies seem effortless, some elements of their music come together faster and more easily these days.

          "We learn new material faster now," he says. "I remember doing Four Brothers on our third album and it took a long time because we weren't that familiar with the voicings we were using. Being better at reading music than we were back then also helps. Like any family we have our fights and disagreements but we've learned how to get along, to try and keep things objective and not to push the buttons that'll cause an eruption – because we all have those.

          "We've learned to appreciate what we like about each other and what we have together, that's a gift that doesn't happen often."

          The Manhattan Transfer play Perth Concert Hall on November 12. For information on Tay Jazz and Dundee Jazz Festival, log onto: www.jazzdundee.co.uk.



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