Over Labor Day weekend, my neighborhood record store had a 20% off sale on everything in the store. My wife was interested in purchasing a Bob Ross life size cutout to put in her art room at school so we took advantage of the sale to buy Bob at a discount. While picking up Bob, I decided to shop the music section and take further advantage of the sale. I did not see anything in their used LP section so I naturally scanned the CD section to see if they had anything inexpensive worth picking up. In today’s market, with vinyl now rising in retail pricing, I love to sort through the CD aisle and see if something will surprise me for a small investment.
This led me to purchasing the above used 2 disc CD set, Further Explorations by Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian for just $3 (and 20% off that price!). I have been somewhat interested in Corea’s 1970’s jazz fusion work and decided to take a risk on whatever this release might hold. I was in for a pleasant surprise.
I assumed I was picking up a traditional CD, captured in the normal recording studio setting, and based on the abstract cover art and title, I guessed it would sound like an out there spacey ECM type release. What I discovered instead was a two disc live album of songs influenced by the legendary Bill Evans, all recorded in a two week residency at the Blue Note New York City in 2010. This would not surprise a die hard Bill Evans fan who would recognize the song titles and know that both Gomez and Motian played with Bill during their careers and Corea is a life long disciple of his playing. But for me, it caught me off guard and provided a fun afternoon of listening and research.
This review from Jazz Times explains it best:
If you do know your jazz history, however, the pleasures are even greater. Motian was Bill Evans’ drummer from 1959 to 1964, and Gomez was Evans’ bassist from 1966 to 1977. Corea was such an Evans disciple that he sought out jobs in the ’60s with the iconic pianist’s employers Miles Davis and Stan Getz. Corea even wrote a tune called “Bill Evans” and presented the lead sheet to his hero at the Top of the Gate nightclub in the ’70s. Ten of the tracks have direct ties to Evans, being composed by, recorded by or titled after him. All 19, culled from the 24 90-minute sets the trio played in May 2010 at Manhattan’s Blue Note, awaken welcome echoes of the many ties of influence and collaboration among the six men mentioned above. The historical resonance only deepened when Motian died shortly before the release of this album, a project that thus ties the end of his career to its beginning.
I enjoy watching the below video of the three guys discussing this project and it resonates further now knowing that Paul Motian unfortunately passed away before the project was released:
It’s worth noting that I am an avid music fan and always in search of hearing new and interesting things. Historically, I found those things by growing up in record stores, scouring over items to buy and take home. When streaming services arrived, I couldn’t wait for the millions of songs at my disposal to listen to at any time and discover so many things without leaving my house. At least, that was what I hoped would happen. Instead, I’ve noticed that I simply stream the same things over and over and rarely use it as a discovery tool anymore. I’m back to wandering the used LP and CD aisles in the hope that something will catch my eye and I’ll bring it home and learn something new, just like I did with Further Explorations. There’s never been a better time in the history of music to take a chance on discovering new music. If you have a record store near you, spend an afternoon looking for something different to listen to. Even if what you choose doesn’t blow your mind, your investment will have been small. But if you do find an album that you fall in love with, you’ll be forever grateful for the money spent to bring that art into your life.