Following the demise of Return to Forever , Corea established the musical ensemble in Following a long hiatus, the band reunited to produce To the Stars in The keyboard sounds on the album are typical for the mids. The second album, Light Years is more funk-oriented than its predecessor.
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Beneath the Mask is the easiest and breeziest Elektric Band album in years, with Latin-flavored melodies that are concise and downright hummable. Corea weaves his tricks into a seamless musical fabric. You can always expect some of the best musicianship anywhere from a Chick Corea album. So, musically speaking, Beneath the Mask is typically solid.
Even though his music has always been pre-composed, his new material provides even less of a vehicle for improvisation. It does maintain an intense level of musicianship, but the compositional element of the old Corea has given way to a more groove-orientated sound. Corea falls into an increasingly familiar tour-de-force rock-out formula here, with everyone playing in unison on fast, pumped-up lines at the front of the stage.
Left over from his Return to Forever days, this formula is what he uses to end his sets. Electric guitar was a large focus on this collection, so Frank Gambale came to the fore, contributing excellent solos on "Little Things That Count", "Lifescape", "Free Step", an acoustic contribution on "A Wave Goodbye", as well as part of the trade-offs on "Illusions".
The band was amazingly tight, the tempo changes and shifts handled beautifully, and it all sets up a Gambale showcase, where he combines alternate picking along with his classic "sweep style" for 5 minutes and change of sheer fusion bliss.
Cricket" and "Illusions" all benefit from this stylistic change. John Patitucci holds the bottom end on bass and "Jammin" E. Cricket" shows what he can do.
Beneath the Mask
Chick Corea Elektric Band