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RECORDINGS Quick Spins

Guitarist Pat Metheny, who has always treasured "Crystal Silence," pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton's 1972 debut duo album, contributes liner notes to "The New Crystal Silence," the pair's latest recording. Offering his take on why the duo's collaborations are so special, Metheny writes, "Certainly one of the most exciting aspects of the Corea/Burton story is the meeting of Chick the composer and Gary the improviser."

"The New Crystal Silence" underscores his point. A double-disc set divided between symphonic and duet settings, the album features 10 Corea compositions, plus a few standards. The tunes inspire a series of remarkably fluid performances that are often distinguished by Burton's signature, four-mallet improvisations.

Disc 1, which finds the duo performing in concert with the Sydney Symphony, is entirely devoted to Corea compositions, including "Crystal Silence" and "Duende." Thanks to arranger Tim Garland's ingenuity, the orchestral designs produce drama and sweep without overshadowing the duo's chemistry. Garland's artful touch is particularly evident on "Love Castle," during which Burton sounds as nimble and inventive as ever. Also recorded in concert, the duets on Disc 2 stretch beyond Corea's catalogue to include Bill Evans's "Waltz for Debby," delightfully laced with countermelodies, and the Gershwins' "I Love You Porgy," soulfully reharmonized. As for the performances inspired by Corea's melodies, none is more engaging than the duo's whimsically animated take on "Senor Mouse."

-- Mike Joyce

DOWNLOAD THESE: "Love Castle," "Senor Mouse"

Corea and Burton perform at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on March 9.


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