Take Five: Hear a Chick Corea Premiere, and New Music by Nubya Garcia and Diana Krall

Aug 24, 2020

Along with the latest from saxophonists Alan Braufman and Dave Pietro.

Chick Corea, “Children’s Song No. 10”

Plays is an apt title for the new double album by Chick Corea, a solo piano perambulation through the music of everyone from Monk and Gershwin to Mozart and Chopin. Recorded in concert across the United States and Europe, it’s presented as a single statement, complete with occasional banter.

The album concludes with a selection of the solo piano vignettes that he composed in the 1970s and released on ECM in the '80s. “These are piano pieces that were written as portraits of the spirit of children,” he explains. “They’re called ‘Children’s Songs,’ in the spirit of kids that are free, and that are open, and that always give us a lot of joy.”

“Children’s Song No. 10,” which premieres here, expresses a range of tonal colors within its compact frame. Opening in a dreamy rubato before settling into sprightly waltz time, it has many of the hallmarks of Corea’s pianism; almost any seasoned listener would recognize him here. And it’s hardly a stretch to imagine the childlike impulse he ascribes to the tune.

Chick Corea’s Plays — not to be confused with Play, his 1992 album with Bobby McFerrin — will be released on Sept. 11. Preorder here.

Nubya Garcia, “The Message Continues”

Source, the new album by tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia, is more than the latest compelling dispatch from a cosmopolitan London scene. It’s also an expression of Afro-Caribbean diasporic soul, a feel-good summer balm — and further proof that Garcia, at 29, has come into her own as a composer-bandleader.

There’s a relaxed yet utterly focused character to Garcia’s phrasing, perfectly captured in “The Message Continues,” which features a club beat and some chiming atmosphere. (Among her partners on the album, which she coproduced with Kwes, is the British jazz MVP Joe Armon-Jones on keys.) As the title of the track suggests, this is music in line with a continuum, stretching forward.

Nubya Garcia’s Source is available now on Concord Jazz.

Diana Krall, “How Deep Is the Ocean?”

The last time we hailed a new album by Diana Krall, she was traveling in tandem — with her dear friend Tony Bennett, for a program of Gershwin tunes. Krall’s next release will be a solo endeavor, but one with a phantom collaborator close at hand. This Dream of You, which Verve will release on Sept. 25, features material she had been working on with producer Tommy LiPuma, before he died in 2017.

The first single from the album is a calmly smoldering take on Irvin Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean,” featuring Krall on piano, Marc Ribot on guitar, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Tony Garnier on bass and Karriem Riggins on drums. The same crew plays on the album’s title track, a recent-vintage Bob Dylan tune; elsewhere Krall enlists a handful of other regular collaborators, like bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton and guitarist Anthony Wilson.

Diana Krall’s This Dream of You will be released on Sept. 25; preorder here.

Alan Braufman, “No Floor No Ceiling”

A couple of years ago, the 1970s loft scene flickered back to life in the form of a long-overlooked album by saxophonist and flutist Alan Braufman, Valley of Search. Reissued to a warm reception, it also prompted a slate of performances by Braufman and pianist Cooper-Moore, which led in turn to the creation of new music. The Fire Still Burns, Braufman’s aptly titled new album, releases on Friday.

“No Floor No Ceiling” is one of the most hyperkinetic pieces on the album, opening with a free-boppish head attacked by Braufman and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis. Then comes a rollicking Cooper-Moore solo, followed by Lewis and Braufman, each blistering in turn. Expertly tending to the rhythm vortex are bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Andrew Drury. (The video above features photos from the band’s session at Long Pond, a studio built by The National near Hudson, N.Y.)

Alan Braufman’s The Fire Still Burns is out this Friday; preorder here.

Dave Pietro, “Kakistocracy”

If you’ve been watching this space, you know how impressed I was by the new Maria Schneider album, Data Lords. Earlier this month, one of Schneider’s longtime band members, saxophonist Dave Pietro, released an album on ArtistShare that explores some of the same sonic terrain. Titled Hypersphere, it includes a few other Schneider associates — trombonist Ryan Keberle, keyboardist Gary Versace, drummer Johnathan Blake — along with trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and percussionist Rogerio Boccato.


“Kakistocracy” — a word that Merriam-Webster defines simply as “government by the worst people” — opens the album with purpose, as Pietro deploys dynamic counterpoint among the horns. His vision for orchestration is clearly informed by his large-ensemble experience, but this group also takes advantage of its midsize dimensions, working in a way that feels light on its feet. Pietro’s alto solo is fleet and emotive; Keberle begins his in a slackened tempo, but quickly punches up. Which, come to think of it, might be the best way to describe the intention here.

Dave Pietro’s Hypersphere is out now on ArtistShare.