I have known of Chick Corea for decades, although I never really knew anything about him. I’m sure I’ve heard him play at some point (he’s been around since the 1960s), but never so specifically. And Gary Burton is an unknown quantity to me (although apparently he has played with Corea for years–they recorded their first album together 44 years ago!).
Corea plays a beautiful, fluid jazz piano. And while his work is really special, it’s actually Burton who I focused on more (at least at the beginning). Burton plays the vibraphones–with four mallets! I don’t think I’ve ever seen vibraphones so up close in action before Apparently the bar can be lifted (which must account for the vibe).
They play two songs, “Love Castle” which is from 1976 and “Crystal Silence” which is from their debut album (1973).
“Love Castle” begins with some great piano and fun soloing on the vibes. It’s mesmerizing watching Burton hit these bars. After 5 minutes of intense vibe playing, Corea takes over for solo section for almost 2 minutes before Burton returns (this time providing more background where as the earlier section was more soloing from Burton). The song is just the two of them for about ten minutes and it’s really something.
“Crystal Silence” is the first song they ever played together. It opens with some great vibes and then soars and swirls for another t en minutes. It’s a really cool piece and the crowd is appropriately jazzily appreciative.
[READ: March 1, 2016] Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion
This is another First Second picture book (as opposed to graphic novel). It’s the second in the Anna Banana series. Once again, I thought the cover illustration was a little sloppy compared to the inside of the book–for many graphic novels I like cover illustrations better than the interior. But this is a picture book so maybe the rules are different. Nevertheless, both parts are drawn by Alexis Dormal.
Anna is a little girl with a lot of friends: Pingpong the penguin, Grizzler the bear, Zigzag the bunny, Foxface the fox, Whaley the whale and Fuzzball the, well, fuzzball.
Anna’s friends want her to make them a chocolate cake. But she says she will teach them how to make their own instead. That sounds like a great idea.
Grizzler wants to work by himself in the living room, Fuzzball is just smacking the batter with a spoon, but even with a whisk, he’s still a little too aggressive. And that causes the chocolate explosion.
To my surprise Grizzler is actually able to make a cake in the living room. And there’s a good pay off on this when they spy on him.
But I felt like the book ended a little too soon. Again, I know it’s a children’s book, but the payoff lacked a bit of the zing that I’ve come t expect from First Second Kids books.
This book is a French book translated by Mark Siegel, although I don’t think the translation has anything to do with its lack of punch.