Chick Corea / Stefano Bollani
Nobody at ECM Records asked me to suggest a title for this CD, but if anyone had, I would have gone with Quick, because that’s what’s on display in these 12 collaborations and improvisations between jazz giant Chick Corea and Italian mega-talent Stefano Bollani. They’re a couple of quick-witted and quick-fingered piano virtuosi who hooked up in Orvietto, Italy, for live two-piano performances at the Umbria Jazz Winter festival last year. Every self-respecting American jazz fan knows Corea’s work, and many have surely heard of Bollani, too, though he can’t claim the extraordinary history of the older Corea, a guy who’s played with everyone from Miles Davis to Hiromi Uehara. But when Bollani and Corea start dueling on piano, there’s no discernible imbalance of imagination, talent or execution. There’s a real mind meld going on between the musicians, and most of the time I couldn’t tell, unless I concentrated carefully, which one was Corea and which was Bollani. Personally, I favored the cuts that revisited and reinvented pieces I know, from the Miles Davis tune, “Nardis,” to Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz,” but for those willing to venture a bit further out, the Corea/Bollani on-the-spot inventions should reward anyone with an appreciation for quickness of mind and quickness of digits—all 20 of them.