Chick Corea & Bela Fleck Create an Amazing Spectacle at the Ryman
Whenever two icons decide to tour, the end result is usually greatness. Thus, on a warm spring evening in Nashville, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck took the stage at the Ryman Auditorium and put on an otherworldly show.
Taking mostly from their 2007 collaborative album, The Enchantment, the pair showed time and again why they are considered two of the greatest musicians of all time. “Senorita,” “Mountain,” “Spectacle,” and “Children’s Song #6” all got a fresh coat of paint, with Fleck sounding more like Andres Segovia and Corea bringing Herbie Hancock into the mix. It was sonically amazing.
The highlights were the Bill Monroe classic “Jerusalem Ridge” and two sonatas from Dominic Scalati that Corea took to another realm. If you get a chance to see these two out on their current tour, do yourself a favor and go.
Before Corea and Fleck took the Ryman Auditorium stage, I got to spend a few minutes with Corea.
Chuck Schultz: How long have you and Bela know each other and how did the idea if a tour come about?
Chick Corea: Bela and I have known each other for 20 years or more. As soon as I heard what he was doing with the banjo and his music I became a fan and very interested. We began to sit in with one another on the road and this eventually led to our first duet tour and recording. It’s always a pleasure when we get together to play. We’ve been touring on and off now for several years. It seems when we finish one tour, we start thinking about the next one.
I’m guessing there won’t be a set list tonight. … What type of show can we expect?
You’re right about the set list. And the type of show — we never know until we get rolling.
You’ve played with all the greats: Miles, Herbie, and Return to Forever, just to name a few. What similarities or differences do you notice on the road?
Each musician I play with is a universe unto himself. [There’s] no possible way to compare one with another — not even remotely. Not in my mind, anyway. But they have all inspired me.
Can we expect a bluegrass jazz/Latin record soon then?
[laughs] That label is as good as any, I guess. [Bela and I] never think about naming the kind of music we play.