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Marshall Vente Leads Roosevelt University Band In Live Performance of Classic Chick Corea Album

November 15th, 2018

Our “WDCB Night at the Jazz Showcase” free event on November 26 features WDCB “Jazz Tropicale” host Marshall Vente leading the Roosevelt University Large Jazz Ensemble. They’ll perform Vente’s big band arrangement of the landmark Chick Corea album “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs.” The band will perform sets at both 8 & 10pm at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct in Chicago.

Marshall Vente’s Notes on Chick Corea’s “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs”

In March 1968, 25-year-old Chick Corea, accompanied by Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes, recorded five compositions released in December 1968 as the LP, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs.

Chick’s recollections:

“It seems like some far distant lifetime that I made this music. I can see myself so excited to play with such an adventurous rhythm section as Roy and Miroslav. I brought this music in and presented it to Roy and Miroslav as sketches: just a set of chord changes for Miroslav and no written music for Roy. We just played the songs over once or twice and then turned the tape recorder on and one or two takes per tune. I think the whole session was finished in 6 hours.”

The initial reviews for this recording were not great. Like Mozart, Chick was accused of using too many notes too often.  Downbeat Magazine dispensed with its 5-star rating system and gave it “one Gila monster.” Musicians, however, loved this music: its compositions, Chick’s approach to the piano, his innovative ideas and the way the trio performed. It was considered by many as a high water mark in the evolution of the jazz trio.

In 1999, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. Chick has also received 21 other Grammy’s. He is now 76 years old, still working and touring. Surprisingly though, Chick has rarely revisited these compositions with his many trios and ensembles that followed.  And although Chick has composed many “jazz standards” only Matrix has been recorded by a few other artists, including the Lee Konitz Nonet.

Now that we are celebrating the 50-year anniversary of this music, I transformed it from trio to big band music for the Roosevelt University Large Jazz Ensemble. My goal was to use many of Chick’s musical motifs, aka his “signature licks” from the recording, orchestrate his Matrix solo for the entire band (versus only the sax section) and personalize the arrangements without losing Chick’s urgency. This was a five month writing project, the fall ’17 band learned it in four months and the current band refreshed it in 6 rehearsals.

Enjoy our performance for WDCB on November 26!

Marshall Vente