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My Spanish Heart

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Album Review

This 1976 release features Chick Corea in what was then, and remains, a unique musical setting. While it is truly an electric jazz fusion record, it is also the only solo recording of Corea's on which he attempted to truly explore the Latin side of his musical heritage. My Spanish Heart marks a full-scale yet thoroughly modern exploration in the musical lineage Corea sprang from. Making full use of synthesizer technology, a string section, and synth-linked choruses — and of two voices, his own and that of Gayle Moran — as well as percussionist Don Alias, drummer Steve Gadd, a full brass section, and the sparse use of Jean-Luc Ponty ("Armando's Rumba") and bassist Stanley Clark, Corea largely succeeded in creating a Spanish/Latin tapestry of sounds, textures, impressions, and even two suites: "Spanish Fantasy" and "El Bozo." The string quartet performs its intricate and gorgeously elegant arrangements with verve and grace on "Day Danse" and on the suites, with Corea's contrapuntal pianism creating a sharp yet warm contrast to the shifting tempos, wild interval leaps, and shimmering timbral balances that occur. The only pieces that sound dated on this double-album-length set are the fusion pieces, which are, with their production and knotty stop-and-start modulations and key signature equations — complete with aggressive arpeggios and scalar linguistics — destined to be limited in expression by the voice of their use of technology. Thus, "Love Castles," "The Gardens," and "Night Streets" suffer from their rather cheesy production despite their tastefully done double fusion semantics (jazz to rock to Latin music). There is no doubt that Corea's musicianship was up to any task he chose at this point in time. Simply put, he was compositionally and intellectually at the top of his game, and this record, despite the many of his that haven't aged well, still surprises, despite its production shortcomings.


Born: 12 June 1941 in Chelsea, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Chick Corea has been one of the most significant jazzmen since the '60s. Not content at any time to rest on his laurels, he has been involved in quite a few important musical projects, and his musical curiosity has never dimmed. A masterful pianist who, along with Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, was one of the top stylists to emerge after Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, Corea is also one of the few electric keyboardists to be quite individual and recognizable on synthesizers. In addition, he has composed...
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