Jazz in all its carnations, for me, is like the sea. Being from Oklahoma which is about as far away from the coasts as you can get, it’s like a thing of almost bewildering wonder, I can’t seem to wrap my head around it completely, its depth, its flux, its infiniteness, even its smell. I must have been 11 or 12 the first time I saw the ocean, probably on a trip to Florida. It no doubt short-circuited my impressionable mind. I remember feeling like I had arrived at “The Source”, seeing a fast-forwarding timelapse montage in my imagination of little swirling amoebas becoming little anemones, becoming little trilobites, becoming little critters, becoming jellyfish, becoming tadpoles, becoming amphibians, lizards and creatures, dinos, marmots, monkeys, apes, and us.
I can feel the sea inside me, but only really when I’m there. While it’s in some people’s bones, in every fiber of their body, the only thing they know, for me it never quite beacons, and only overcomes me when I arrive, evaporating like water as soon I leave. Truly fleeting, and mysterious, and mostly, like Jazz, beautiful yes, but unknowable.
Now, that’s not to say I don’t appreciate or even love Jazz (or that the vast flatlands of the middle of the country don’t evoke a similar sense of awe as the sea, they do), but it’s just not my baseline. But when I do reach for Jazz, it’s usually for pianists like Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea, who never seem to fail in delivering that sense of wonder. While I don’t have “Return to Forever”, much less two versions of it on the ECM label, held here by the friendly Akitake san, making his 2nd appearance on TRS, who was doing an audiophile shootout between the two, and who, I’ll be damned if he doesn’t actually resemble Chick, I do have the masterpiece “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs” which just reached the end of Side B as I type these last words, and say “Wow, here I am again, at ‘The Source’ …of what? I’m not quite sure …but of something.”
Hope you found the appreciation you were looking for, Akitake san. Thanks for reminding this rock-and-roll head to keep my Jazz records in heavy rotation. T’was a great morning of Chick Corea.
Chick Corea – Return To Forever
Label: ECM Records – ECM 1022 ST
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Released: Jul 1, 1972
Style: Fusion, Latin Jazz
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