Chick Corea was involved in a wide variety of projects during the early 1980s, some acoustic, others electric, and everything from solos and duets to orchestral projects. Touchstone really displays quite a bit of diversity with features for flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia, a one-song ("Compadres") reunion of Return to Forever (with guitarist Al DiMeola, bassist Stanley Clarke, and drummer Lenny White), a spot for alto-great Lee Konitz ("Duende"), and a conventional sextet outing on "Dance of Chance." A bit uneven but with its interesting moments, Touchstone is worth checking out.
Not all of the installments in the Verve Jazz Masters series contain material originally issued on Verve. Verve Jazz Masters 3, for example, consists of 14 examples drawn from seven Chick Corea LPs released on the Polydor label during the years 1972-1978. Six of these come from Corea's Return to Forever period. The backbone of this collection (tracks one, seven, ten and fourteen) are selections from the highly acclaimed album Light as a Feather (1972) and there are excerpts from Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973) and No Mystery (1975). The other eight titles are traceable to Corea's theatrically costumed and somewhat heavy-handed production albums The Leprechaun (1975), My Spanish Heart (1976), Friends (1978) and The Mad Hatter (1978)…
Aside from being legendary multiple Grammy-winning jazzmen on very different instruments, Chick Corea (piano) and Béla Fleck (the world's premier jazz banjo master) have a shared love for collaboration and the infinite improvisational possibilities their chosen idiom offers them. In some ways, the two have been preparing for this masterful, musical dialogue-driven masterpiece for over ten years. Fleck, who has always credited Corea as being one of his chief influences, invited the pianist to play on the Flecktones' Tales from the Acoustic Planet, as well as the group's live CD Live Art. Some years later, in 2001, Corea found a spot for Fleck on his Rendezvous in New York DVD. Later, they toured as a duo, making the unique recording of The Enchantment an inevitable artistic extension of their on-stage chemistry.
The second album of Elektric Band, "Light Years" is more funk-oriented than its predecessor. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal joins the band and Frank Gambale replaces Henderson and Rios (who plays still on some tracks) to form what is considered the band's definitive lineup.
For Crystal Silence, the first of several partnerships between Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton in the 1970s, the two musicians selected an interesting array of material. The compositions on this record are all modern ones, either by Steve Swallow, Mike Gibbs, or Corea himself. It is a mostly down-tempo affair, which allows each player to stretch out and play highly melodic solos over the often difficult changes. In keeping with most ECM releases, there is a distinct presence of European elements to the improvisations. There are few overt blues or bebop phrases, Corea and Burton opting instead for modern melodies to fuel their improvisations. Burton has managed to internalize the Spanish and modal implications of Corea's tunes with little difficulty, and solos with joyful ease through such tracks as "Seсor Mouse."