On "Trio Music," three compatible jazz musicians -- pianist Chick Corea, bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes -- set out to accomplish two things: to pursue, as a trio, the challenging course Corea first mapped out in his "Solo Piano Improvisations" several years ago; and to record the music of Thelonious Monk (an effort undertaken, incidentally, several months before Monk's death).

On the first count, the trio succeeds splendidly. While spontaneous expressions not inspired by a haunting melody or a familiar chord progression may lack a certain symmetry, the beauty lies in hearing these musicians think aloud, prodding, anticipating and ultimately inspiring one another in compressed and disparate collaborations. The best of them benefit from Corea's fleet lines and instant reactions, Vitous' cello-to-soprano-sax range and Haynes' unflagging musicality.

The second album in this two-record set finds the trio interpreting Monk's work with sensitivity, if not great distinction. Corea's swift, multi-noted style owes more to Bill Evans and Bud Powell than to Monk: The light touch Corea occasionally brings to these performances reflects that debt. Still, his phrasing is sparse and deliberate, and the backing, especially when Haynes is riding the cymbals, gives Monk his due. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM CHICK COREA, MIROSLAV VITOUS, ROY HAYNES -- Trio Music (ECM 2-1232). THE SHOW COREA, VITOUS and HAYNES, Friday and Saturday at 9 and 11 at Blues Alley.