“Someone To Watch Over Me”

(Concord Jazz)

On the cusp of 80, Chick Corea remains a master of communication — with audiences and, of course, with his piano. On the live double-album Plays (Concord Jazz), Corea briefly discusses the music he’s about to share before diving into the songbooks of Mozart, Gershwin, Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Thelonious Monk, alone at the piano. The sprawling collection, recorded at venues in Florida and Europe, also includes Corea’s improvised portraits as well as a selection of his beloved Children’s Songs. “I’m gonna begin with an improvisation that leads into a Mozart sonata,” he explains at the start of the first section. “Then, after that, I’m gonna put Gershwin together with Mozart, you know, as if the two of them sat down together to have a talk. In my mind, these two pieces mix together very well.” Corea proves his thesis as he launches into a lovely and emotional, but never maudlin, read of “Someone To Watch Over Me,” eroding the divisions between classical music, pop standard and dazzling jazz improvisation and providing a blueprint to the music he’s been creating for decades.

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