Contemporary Jazz

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Peace, A Long Time Coming

20 APR 09 JONATHAN WIDRAN

Most veteran jazz fusion fans can tell you that the professional association of genre legends Chick Corea and John McLaughlin -- who recorded their new dual Five Peace Band Live album during their 2008 European tour together -- goes back to the late-'60s.

Everyone knows that the keyboardist and guitarist were members of Miles Davis' band that jammed on the trumpet icon's seminal 1970 date Bitches Brew, and maybe a handful can list the batch of other classic Miles recordings they played on. But Corea pointed out in a recent interview that they originally met before Miles, when the late drummer Tony Williams brought the British-born McLaughlin to the U.S. and the guitarist attended a gig the keyboardist and Williams were doing with Miles, just before Williams founded his own band Lifetime.

Corea and McLaughlin, who would go on to form the revolutionary '70s rock jazz ensembles Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra, started jamming together and have been friends ever since. Five Peace Band -- playfully named by McLaughlin, who dubs himself "an old hippie" -- marks the duo's first collaboration with a band, presenting exhilarating performances on tracks that include homage to Miles, Joe Zawinul, sizzling acoustic jazz, high powered rock/funk and graceful duets.

The band boasts an all-star ensemble which includes saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride, and alternating drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Brian Blade. They are in the midst of their first North American tour, which kicked off at UCLA March 19 and includes three evenings at NYC's Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall (April 23-25).

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