Chick Corea Trio makes jazz fusion fun, accessible (via Cincinnati)

It was the last in a run of live dates for the Chick Corea Trio, and the bandleader was in a loose and celebratory mood, smiling throughout, snapping selfies and engaging the audience at Xavier University’s Gallagher Student Center Theater in a few passages of call and response between his piano and their voices.

At the beginning of the performance, Corea described the way the band’s playing had evolved on the course of the tour. By the time Corea, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Brian Blade arrived in Cincinnati for the finale on Saturday, they were hot, weaving in and out of bop and Latin styles as a three-piece and each taking a solo every song.

Best known as a sideman for his work during Miles Davis’ crucial late-1960s period that resulted in the albums “Filles de Kilimanjaro,” “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew,” and as a bandleader of the fusion outfit Return to Forever, Corea truly operates somewhere in between sideman and leader: a collaborator and listener whose light and laid-back presence guides the energy of the performance.

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