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Published: 2011/11/01
by Ron Hart

Chick Corea/Stefano Bollani


After a 27-year absence, jazz piano maestro Chick Corea returns to ECM with a gorgeous new duo LP with Italy’s premier ivory man Stefano Bollani on their first collaborative effort on acetate.

Orvieto is a live album culled from a series of New Year performances over the course of a lengthy stand at the Umbria Jazz Winter Festival. The pair had been playing the Italian festival circuit for over two years, and both men have long expressed their mutual admiration for one another’s abilities on the baby grand, with Bollani admitting to being a Chick fan since he was eleven and Corea citing Stefano as an inspiration in the liner notes to his 2009 ECM box set reissue of his essential Solo Piano Improvisations and Children’s Songs collections. Corea is no stranger to the two-piano format having explored the concept in previous projects with fellow keyboard greats as Herbie Hancock, Friedrich Gulda, Nicolas Economou and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. But as Orvieto proudly exemplifies, he has found the perfect foil in Bollani, as the twosome spend the course of their 75 minutes together imaginatively improvising off such classic material as Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Portrait in Black and White”, Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz” and “Nardis” by Miles Davis in addition to each player’s own original material—namely Chick’s My Spanish Heart -era favorite “Armando’s Rhumba” and Bollani’s “A Valsa da Paula”.

“A single mind controlling all four hands” is how Bollani has described the artistic compatability between himself and his elder. And in listening to the fluid and lyrical conversation in harmony between this immensely talented tandem, Orvieto is as mighty a piano Kraken as there has ever been in the wild world of improvised piano jazz.

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