Gary Burton & Pat Metheny: Sea Journey
Composed by Chick Corea and Nevill Potter.
Recorded: Yoshi's, Oakland, June 10-11, 2007
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
"Sea Journey" has long been one of my favorite Chick Corea composition—built on a stormy minor key vamp set off against sweet descending harmonies in the bridge. Yet it is not often covered, despite its canonic inclusion in The Real Book and its "ease of use" for gigs and jams. For their June 2007 engagement at Yoshi's, this all-star reunion band drew heavily on these old semi-standards; this meeting of mature musical minds was about spontaneity and revisiting familiar ground from the past, rather than trailblazing into the future. But the solos are solid, especially Metheny's contribution. To my mind, he is one of the best pure improvisers in the business. His lines always make perfect musical sense, drawing from what he hears rather than (as with many guitarists) the licks that are under his fingers. This is a solo worth memorizing and singing along with the CD (or playing along if you're a musician). The Peter Max cover art is too hip by half, and may turn off some potential buyers of this disk—fearful that this is a "groovy" trip down memory lane. Don't be fooled. This is "no frills" jazz played at a very high level.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia