Chick Corea and the Vigil had the audience singing “la la la…la la” by the time they launched into ‘Spain,’ their 15-minute encore, after already playing for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
I’ve been to a lot of concerts where the audience will sing the lyrics to those classic hits we know by heart, but this was pretty cool hearing people la la la-ing. The fans were really digging it.
At 73-years-old, Corea’s fingers haven’t slowed down as he showed his mastery on the piano with ease. He also played a couple of tunes on the electric keyboard.
The interplay between each band member was amazing. Corea would sort of be duelling with each of the accomplished musicians who he calls the Vigil.
At the beginning of the show (with no opening act), Corea and the Vigil came on to the stage shortly after 7:30 p.m., and dedicated the evening to John Coltrane. He also acknowledged that it was Ray Charles’ birthday.
Corea has been playing the piano since 4-years-old and has played alongside some of the greats such as Cab Calloway, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughn, Herbie Hancock and many others over the course of his career.
He is a master of the Jazz-Fusion genre, but he also incorporates Spanish (his roots), Latin, rock and funk into his albums and live performances.
The Vigil band consists of Carlitos Del Puerto on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums, Tim Garland on reeds, Charles Altura on guitar and Luisito Quintero on percussion (which also included various whistles and one of those tubes that kids used to swing around their heads making a whistling sound).
These guys were no slouches and all eyes were on the maestro as they each took turns showcasing their talents. Drummer Marcus Gilmore is the grandson of Ron Haynes, who used to be Corea’s drummer years ago. A chip off the old block, I’d say.
I spoke with the band after the show and Tim Garland told me that each night is different on the tour, which also saw them playing in South America. He said, they never know what they are going to play, they just follow Chick.
Over the course of the 2 and 1/2 hour show, which seemed to mesmerize the appreciative audience at the Burton Cummings Theatre, Corea did little intros to the songs (more like elaborate compositions) that they were about to play.
For the song ‘Anna’s Tango’, he explained how he was asked to write a tango for someone and after writing 15 versions, the one we heard that night was the keeper. He named the tango after his mother.
The band played six songs from Chick Corea’s extensive repertoire, ending off the evening with ‘Spain’ from his ‘Return to Forever’ band in the 70’s. This was the band that really gained him recognition, but his versatility over the years is what seems to keep it fresh and original.
Tempus Fugit (Bud Powell cover)
Zyryab (Paco de Lucía cover)
Portals to Forever
Spain (Return to Forever song)
All photos by Doug Kretchmer