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CD Review: Chick Corea and Gary Burton “Hot House”

Concord Jazz


To say that pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton enjoy a certain simpatico would be a great understatement. Forty years ago,
after performing a spontaneous encore together in Germany, the two then up-and-coming jazz giants recorded their first collaboration, the wonderful “Crystal Silence.” Recognizing the chemistry, Corea and Burton have not only continued to perform together intermittently, they have detoured from their solo careers six more times over the decades to record together.

“Hot House” marks the beginning of their fifth decade of collaboration with a fantastic collection of not-so-well-known standards. Aside from The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and Kurt Weill’s “My Ship” the album features lesser-known songs by well-known songwriters. For instance, I’ve rarely heard Thelonious Monk’s “Light Blue” which Corea augments with a Monk-like second chorus. Both artists learned the should-be-better-known “Chega de Saudade” by Antonio Carlos Jobim from their former leader (at different times) Stan Getz. On this album it’s an example of almost telepathic duet playing: Corea and Burton really do seem to be able to continue each other’s lines.

Perhaps most indicative of their ability to play together brilliantly is the solo on the title tune, “Hot House,” by Tadd Dameron. There was apparently some confusion at the studio about who would solo first, so both Corea and Burton jumped in. Instead of a dissonant multi-directional solo we hear two complex lines strangely complementing each other at every turn. Rounding out the album is a preview of their already-planned next project, a new Corea romp, “Mozart Goes Dancing,” featuring the two soloists set off against the wonderful Harlem String Quartet.