Chick Corea Trio, Trilogy 2 (Concord Jazz)

Considering the masterful musicians involved—pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade—it comes as no surprise that Trilogy 2, the two-disc follow-up to the trio’s 2014 release Trilogy, abounds with brilliance. The group was again caught live, this time in Bologna, Italy, and the ambiance of the room and those in attendance truly add to the richness of the musical experience. Most importantly, the performance was recorded flawlessly—as if you were there.

The stimulating repertoire progresses effortlessly beginning with the jazz standard, “How Deep Is the Ocean?” that is re-imagined by Corea and the trio’s members whom he introduces as his “genius partners.” Soon the ensemble moves on to several Thelonious Monk tunes, a composer the pianist often turns to, including “Crepuscule with Nellie,” that strolls with that quirky Monk kilter. On Monk’s hard-hitting classic, “Work,” Blade pops his drums in unanticipated fashion as he goes one-on-one with Corea. No part of a drum kit is safe from Blade’s creative sticks, brushes and mallets.

Trilogy 2 overflows with highlights such as Corea’s original “La Fiesta” that dates back to the first album by his all-star group, Return to Forever. This cut has it all, with its memorable melody, bright Latin rhythm and the pianist’s ability to perform at breath-taking speeds and with great elegance. The second disc begins with Steve Swallow’s “Eiderdown,” that after a quiet start explodes with energy. McBride takes the opportunity to mix it up with the leader on his fellow bassist’s composition.

Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” provides an excellent vehicle for the trio as it dances with a light, joyful Latin flavor. McBride’s bowed bass “sings” the melody accented by Corea’s piano and the minimal, well-placed tapping of Blade’s drums.

Listeners should join the audience in its obvious appreciation of the Chick Corea Trio’s magnificent performance as captured on Trilogy 2.