In the whole history of jazz, I can’t think of a piano, bass, drums trio that has played with such whole-hearted togetherness as Chick Corea’s Akoustic Band: Corea on piano with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Dave Weckl. All three were in Corea’s Elektric Band too, but the unplugged intimacy of the trio brings their music closer, revealing much fascinating detail. Corea died in February, aged 79, so this double album, from 2018, is presumably their last recording.
They’re all in terrific form here from the start, passing ideas around and apparently reading each other’s minds. It’s noticeable that, apart from Corea’s introductions, there’s very rarely an actual solo, when only one is playing. Instead, one instrument comes forward while the others put in comments and asides, often setting off a whole new chain of melodic ideas.
There are some wonderful examples of this in the very first track, the tricky Morning Sprite. In fact, some remarkable feat of virtuosity and rapport happens in every one of these 13 pieces. My favourite is an almost 10-minute fantasia on Duke Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood, but they’re all superb.