Saturday, May 11, 2019

Fist bumps all around - Chick Corea & Béla Fleck @ Strathmore 05/10/2019

It was an extraordinary evening at Strathmore Music Center where certified virtuosos Chick Corea and Béla Fleck enthralled the audience with their music.

The concert started with the perennial favorite Children's Song No. 6. This song has been played in many incarnations. Most famously in Chick's most famous Band - Return to Forever. Béla and Chick took advantage of each of their instruments strengths to make this a rousing kick off to a concert of nearly two and half hours.

The concert continued from strength to awesome highs as the two musicians egged each other on to new musical plateaus. A wide variety of songs composed by both Chick and Béla were featured including many that appear on their excellent live recording Two.
During a short intermission, I had an opportunity to chat with the designated piano tuner who was touching up the piano between sets. He pointed out two interesting modifications that Chick requires for his Yamaha grand piano. One is a somewhat Rube Goldberg looking device that reroutes the piano's normal right side sustain pedal to the far left side. The other tidbit is the addition of small cylindrical metal weights precisely positioned at either end of the keyboard. The piano tuner was puzzled about their function but commented that he was instructed not to disturb them!

Several brand new compositions were played including a beautiful song by Chick called Reminiscence.

Béla introduced a song he composed for his newborn son, Juno, while waylaid in what he described as the "hell" of  the Dallas Ft. Worth airport. He spoke to the challenges of travelling musicians that caused him to miss his son's birth.

The concert ended how it began on a musical high note with two songs for the encore. The audience left fully satiated but always wanting more.