Chick Corea and Parov Stelar: My Albums of the Week #23

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

 

Chick Corea
My Spanish Heart
(Polydor, 1976)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Love Castle // 2 – The Gardens // 3 – Day Danse // 4 – My Spanish Heart // 5 – Night Streets // 6 – The Hilltop // 7 – The Sky // 8 – Wind Danse // 9 – Armando’s Rhumba // 10 – Prelude to El Bozo // 11 – El Bozo, Part 1 // 12 – El Bozo, Part 2 // 13 – El Bozo, Part 3 // 14 – Spanish Fantasy, Part 1 // 15 – Spanish Fantasy, Part 2 // 16 – Spanish Fantasy, Part 3 // 17 – Spanish Fantasy, Part 4 // 18 – The Clouds

One of Chick Corea’s most iconic releases and his first full-length project where he wholly indulged in his love of Latin and Spanish music. It’s actually a double-album and disc two is a more suite-like affair. His integration of the synth technology he was pioneering at the time within a mostly acoustic and big band setting is nothing short of groundbreaking and also, importantly, works splendidly. Songs like “Armando’s Rhumba,” with Jean Luc Ponty on violin, are surely among his finest.

 

Chick Corea
Now He Sings, Now He Sobs
(Solid State, 1968)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Steps/What Was // 2 – Matrix // 3 – Now He Sings, Now He Sobs // 4 – Now He Beats the Drums, Now He Stops // 5 – The Law of Falling and Catching Up

Chick Corea’s second album and the one that Chick Corea’s second album and the one that firmly established his reputation as a stellar bandleader. A straight-ahead piano trio date that brims with creativity and the joy of playing. Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haines offer solid rhythm and get space to stretch out all their own. The program consists entirely of Corea originals and a 1988 reissue includes a his take on “Windows,” which was arguably his first piece to gain standard status.

 

Chick Corea and Béla Fleck
The Enchantment
(Concord, 2007)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Senorita // 2 – Spectacle // 3 – Joban Dna Nopia // 4 – Mountain // 5 – Children’s Song #6 // 6 – A Starnge Romance // 7 – Menagerie // 8 – Waltse Por Abby // 9 – Brazil // 10 – The Enchantment // 11 – Sunset Road

A dialogue-centric meeting between two virtuosos – Chick Corea on piano and Béla Fleck on banjo. Together, they bond over their shared love of Latin music. This unusual duo instrumentation, rarely if ever seen before, works wonderfully and often creates surprising effects. The material, mostly formed of original compositions, is also quite strong.

 

Parov Stelar
The Burning Spider
(Etage Noir, 2017)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – The Burning Spider // 2 – Step Two // 3 – Soul Fever Blues // 4 – Everything of My Heart // 5 – My Man // 6 – All Grown Up // 7 – Mama Talking // 8 – State of the Union // 9 – Beauty Mark // 10 – Cuba Libre // 11 – Black Coffee // 12 – The Ride

Could this be considered 21st-century cocktail party music or downright easy listening? Some tracks certainly stand out – for example, the highlight “Step Two” – and you may even fall for the charm of what Parov Stelar terms electro-swing. However, fans of a more sophisticated type of sampling may understandably find this rather dull and repetitive.

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