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November 09, 1979 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-09

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, November 9, 1979-Page 5

COREA /B UR TON DUE T.
Old friends

By LEE LEVINE
rystal Silence, which appeared in
197 , is an unusual jazz album. By
utridzing a duet approach, and even
mere surprisingly, by using piano and
vi$gs to comprise the unit, Chick Corea
arid-Gary Burton broke new ground in
jam. The album was met with resoun-
di, acclaim by critics and fans. It is
perhaps each artist's best effort. This is
n ;urprising; Corea had just left his
m't interesting period as a musician
w the group Circle (featuring An-
thny -Braxton, Dave Holland, and
B ry Altschul), and Burton had
siilarly emerged from his own water-
s* era with Atlantic Records. Thus
th* Crystal Silence collaboration
m&I'ked'the culmination of possibly the
most . creative periods in each
musician's career.
Seven predominantly fusion-
compriseo years later the two artists
have met again. Gone are the landmark
fupion Return to Forever days for
Corea.
Electric guitarists Larry Coryell and
Pjat Methenys' influences on Gary Bur-
ton no longer remain' Therefore, the
central question is whether the two
musicians are capable of producing as
imgportant and successful a coupling
today as they did in 1972. The answer is
a qualified "yes.".
Marked by a new ECM album Duet
and a series of concert appearances,
Corea and Burton's new partnership is
a . fascinating one. They complement
oqe another perfectly. Burton is

perhaps the most colorful and
mellifluous mallet man around. The
vibes which once were dull and per-
cussive-sounding under greats Lionel
Hampton and Red Norvo became more
melodic and bright with the arrival of
Milt Jackson. But Burton's music
marked the culmination of the vibes as
a major harmonic device. Building
groups around the instrument, Burton
used the vibes to establish major
themes without the aid of horns or
keyboards. He was one of the.
originators of the four-mallet technique
which creates fuller harmonies and a
richer sound. greatly influenced by
Theolonius Monk and Bill Evans, Bur-
ton's sound is piano-like.
THIS IS why Corea and Burton work
so well together. This is unlike
Coltraine and Ali, or Towner and
Dejohnette, who utilize disparate styles
and instruments to juxtapose con-
trasting sounds. On keyboards, Corea
and Burton work interchangeably as
rhythm and melody rather than one set
rhythm player and one set melody
player; or one choppy voice and one
smooth one. Corea enhances this
collaboration with his classically in-
fluenced, Latin-tinged style. His inven-

return t
tive, baroque techniques distinguish
him among today's pianists. Con-
sidered perhaps the finest contem-
porary composer in his field, Corea
lends his compositional force to the
oduet. Hence, the tour de force of Corea
and Burton.
But the work following the ground-
breaking effort is limited because it
covers too much of the territory ex-
plored in the premiere venture.
Although Corea and Burton's styles
have each evolved since 1972, their joint
effort is similar to their first one. Still,
with these seven years of style change
and still significant duet ideas, there is
ample reason to expect the creation of
one of the most contemporary jazz.
sounds at this duo's live performance.
DESPITE THESE high expectations,
Burton and Corea did not disappoint the
near-capacity audience at Hill
Auditorim Wednesday night. Playing a
number of selections from Crystal
Silence and Duet, the two exhibited
their versatility by playing everything
from the hot, flamenco-flavored "Senor
Mouse" to the ethereal and pensive
meditation, "Song to Gayle."
"Senor Mouse" proved itself a
showcase for Burton's awesome
technical virtuosity. As Burton raced
up and down the scales, he showed that
this Latin-flavored tune suits him per-
fectly. Corea set the rhythm for most of
the song, as he did throughout the
evening, while Burton's flurrying
mallets and general intensity affected
the audience. Disappointing, however,

:o

Hill

was Corea's unextended solo (of about
30 seconds). Evidently Corea had
chosen to take a back seat to Burton,
content to play rhythm and a suppor-
ting role.
"Song to Gayle" demonstrated a
typical Corea introduction with a lush,
flowing, classical entrance giving way
to an emotional Burton solo layered
over sedate voicings by Corea. "Falling
Grace," "Mirror, Mirror," ''Children's
Songs, No. 1, 2, 5, 6, 15" and a bouncy
tribute to Bud Powell rounded a varied
and complete set.
THE SECOND set opened with Bur-
ton on stage alone. Beginning with un-
derstated and laconic phrasing, his
journey on vibes slowly gave way to an
uptempo flurry of vigorous attacks on
the keyboard. The solo, Burton's most
creative and expansive of the evening,
was acknowledged by the enthusiastic
crowd.
In his opening solo, Corea directed
the singing and clapping from the
audience. (Maybe he saw Rocky Horror
Picture Show). While the crowd's par-
ticipation was fun and emphasized
Corea's jocular nature, it detracted
from the solo, inhibiting Corea from
significantly expanding his musical
ideas. Still, he earned a standing
ovation.
The evening's weakest point followed
this roaring applause. Gayle Moran,
Corea's close friend of five years, came
on stage in a supposedly impromptu
manner. Moran might have been
drunk, and if she wasn't she should
have been: her flat voice, nearly a
whisper at the high end, was em-
barrassing. Moran's' mediocre,
classically-trained voice is ill suited for
jazz. Nonetheless she tried, in
unabashed scat-jazz style, to echo
Corea's piano in "Soft and Gentle."
The evening finished with the
obligatory Corea classic, "La Fiesta."
Although Corea has probably done few
concerts without this famous piece, he
and Burton were able to inject just
enough newness and spontaneity to
make the encore a pleasure for
everyone.
In short, Corea and Burton put on a
dazzling and memorable show. Only
Moran and the duo's failure to explore
new ideas kept the show from being a
great one.
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By KATIE HERZFELD
Like the fungus they are named for,
the Pilobolus Dance Theatre perfor-
ming this week at Detroit's Music Hall
isalive, creating, and re-creating. Sin-
ce its 1971 beginning at Dartmouth
College, the troupe has choreographed
af extensive repertoire of expressive
dance works, sculptures actually,
which at once epitomize and com-
municate the movements and emotions
of daily life.
Wednesday night's performance
began with "Molly's Not Dead" (1978),
a diance of two backwoods families who
play and feud together. Six of the
trodpe's seven members are dressed ini
varying shades of orange tihitards
wiichaelongate and show off the dan-
cer's bodies. A ball of two humans
somersault as one, resting occasionally
as' if to say "ho-hum." In syn-
ch'ronization, the couples balance in
piked positions on the back of their par-
tner's neck. They walk as trios, inter-
wqven in a living tapestry, then swing
pairs of legs in opposite directions when
the middle man sneezes.
THE DANCERS exit this piece with
the two females each carried horizon-
ta)ly between two men. The women's
bodies undulate as if they were river
currents, flows of life and energy. Hen-
ce the introduction to Pilobolus.
't'hrough the leaps, locked positions,
add tenderness of "Tendril," a 1979
wprk choreographed and danced by
Georgiana Holmes and Michael Tracy,
the dancers express the emotions con-
fronted by lovers of all time. Feelings of
need, protection, frustration, and sim-
plp joy are danced by unusual em-
braces, runs away from one another,
and acrobatic stretches and walks
together; at one point three legs are off
th ground and Holmes' body, com-
pletely straight, is parallel to the floor,
with Tracy's leg juxtaposed against the
woman's. This. dance seems to sing
about the workings of a partnership.
Robby Barnett's "Geode," (the word
means earthlike), presents, in com-
parison, the power available when
alone. This solo in silence was
choreographed in 1971, the year
Pilobolus was founded. Barnett's jumps
and shapes contrast tense, contorted
positions with unexpected, almost lazy
headrolls and armswings - and he
shows exceptional strength in both kin-
ds.of movement.
Clad only in white tights, the dancer's
high flying, graceful leaps use the floor
and the space above it so that earth and
air are activated for the audience; it is
as if "Geode" were a trio of Barnett,
floor, and stage space. Towards the
dance's end, this balletic acrobat ever-
so-slowly raises himself from a squat-

ou, plays
ted position while his right leg is exten-
ded in front of him. In this dance,.ac-
companied only by earth-and air, Bar-
nett exquisitely demonstrates the
strength and beauty of solo.
"SHIZEN" examines,the powers of
the two previous works - dependence
and independence - when they are jux-
taposed. The duet begins with Alison
Chase and Jamey Hampton in crouched
positions on different sides of the stage,
with a dull light shafted onto them both.
Hampton's tuck is the simplest of all
shapes and yet with the earthen colored
light on his muscular bare legs, there is
creativity in it; at first, it looks like the
shape might be more than one person.
The jreflections of this Alight beam,
which change hues throughout the work
to varying degrees of dull oranges and
browns, play upon the dancers'
physiques and are of themselves
magnificent.
These dance partners are a life-root,
perhaps Adam and Eve. Their ex-
pressions symbolize a sharing of tears,
voices, and movement. Chase's long
hair is not pinned down for this piece; it
is left to flow and partake in the sculp-
tural designs. Her breasts are bare.
This fits naturally into the duet's
allusion to Adam and Eve,iand also
with Pilobolus, which has invited its

)etro it
audience to celebrate and join its
willingness to try the craziest of things,,
to be truly uninhibited. The couple exits
this work in a masterful, unbelievably
slow walk. They lock themselves
together and then alternate lifting their
own legs until one of the pair is in a
piked position; they are not lifted by the
other, who is only used to lean on.
The Pilobolus Dance Theatre is per-
haps in some ways an experience for
which there are no words. Fo* some
photographs of the troupe's perform-
ance Wednesday evening at Detroit's
Music Hall, see Page seven.
THROUGHOUT the evening,
Pilobolus allows for its creations to be
interpreted by each audience member
in a myriad of ways. "Untitled," the
last work presented, typifies this
limitlessness of interpretation. It could
be a study of the life cycles of two turn-
of-the-century women as they adolesce,
give birth, raise children, and grow old.
It might be a portrait of relationships
between and among men and women
enjoying, manipulating, and learning
See PILOBOLUS, Page 9

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