Chick Corea with Touchstone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Chick Corea with Touchstone

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Innovative pianist and influential composer Chick Corea has been responsible for a bewildering array of projects in his 40-year career. They include his acoustic trio and electric quintets, startling solo piano programs, a modified merengue band, the recent mainstream sextet Origin, and the original Return to Forever, the Brazilian-flavored group that introduced Flora Purim and Airto Moreira to American audiences in the early 70s--so many ensembles, in so many styles, that he's got a hefty backlog of band names to recycle at will. Hence Touchstone--first the title of a 1982 album that plumbed Corea's interest in Spanish music, now the name of a quintet that promises to update that concept and even some of those decades-old compositions. But the new Touchstone quintet has a radically different sound: though the album starred regular collaborator Al DiMeola on guitar, linking it to Corea's 70s fusion flash, the new group has no guitar at all--an odd choice for a band claiming Iberian roots and selling a double CD called Rhumba Flamenco at shows and online. On the other hand, Touchstone features three longtime sidemen of modern flamenco-guitar star Paco de Lucia, most notably fiery saxist-flutist Jorge Pardo. The opening act is a quartet led by jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis that includes his sons Delfeayo and Jason on trombone and drums, respectively; Ellis's sax-playing son, Branford, plays second. Sun 6/19, 7 PM, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay & Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park, 847-266-5100, $10-$40. All ages.

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