Jazz piano great Chick Corea says that his “attention is always on the present and the future,” but his current Freedom Band actually weaves together elements of the keyboardist’s past.
Saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride and 85-year-old drummer Roy Haynes all played on Corea’s 2000 album “Remembering Bud Powell,” while Garrett and McBride were also part of Corea’s recent Five Peace Band and Haynes also played on the “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs” album in 1968. “It’s just the sweetest environment for me,” Corea, 69, says of the quartet. “It’s just wonderful playing with these guys. We speak the same language, all of us, and it’s like home ground.”
Corea says that on stage, the Freedom Band — which will tour through the summer — is “pretty much a jam session. We’re picking tunes as we go, ideas ... It’s the improvisation and the challenge of coming up with something every time we step to the plate. That seems to be the ongoing way we do it. I think that’s part of the agreement of the (jazz game).”
The Freedom Band shows are being recorded, and Corea expects to release some sort of album from the tour. But he has a number of other projects on his docket, too, including an album of recordings from last year’s tour with Return To Forever bandmates Stanley Clarke and Lenny White and a trio tour later this year with McBride and drummer Brian Blade. Next year will bring his second piano concerto and another “Return To Forever” tour with guitarist Al Di Meola in the mix.
“Everybody in this band is like that. We all have one eye on the next thing we’re doing,” Corea notes with a laugh. “But we really do some incredible things together, too, and we certainly appreciate that.”
Chick Corea’s Freedom Band performs at 7 p.m. today at Orchestra Hall in the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $19 to $99. Call 313-576-5111 or visit www.detroitsymphony.com.
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