JJ 08/73: Chick Corea & Gary Burton – Crystal Silence

Fifty years ago, Charles Le Vay found the well-known piano and vibes duet a disappointing bed-time album of little depth. First published in Jazz Journal August 1973


At a time when both Corea and Bur­ton were in Europe, I imagine they happened across each other in Norway and ambled into a studio together. The result is a disappointing bed-time album of little depth, especially when compared to the earlier recording of Burton with Keith Jarrett – which is about the only real interest the album offers. At least Jarrett’s got humour.

Chronologically, ‘Crystal Silence’ falls neatly between Corea’s two albums with ‘Return To Forever’, and unsurprisingly, in view of Corea’s past material repeti­tion, features numbers from both of them: Crystal Silence and What Game Shall We Play Today from the first, and Children’s Song from ‘Light As A Feather’. All the other tracks were heard at Burton and Corea’s respective recent residences at Scott’s.

Crystal Silence and Children’s Song lack the thoughtful depth and quiet ebullience of the other versions, while I almost prefer vocalist Flora Purim’s cut of What Game Shall We Play Today, which is saying something. A notable exception among the other tracks is Mike Gibbs’ Feeling And Things, in which both musicians come across with a restrained and gentle melancholy, the only real demonstration of mutual ap­preciation on the whole record. How­ever sensitive and articulate they may be in their own rights, Corea and Burton are clearly not made for each other. With the recent re-issue of two albums of Corea’s early trio work around (‘In­ner Space’), no one need go out of his way to hear this.

Senor Mouse; Arise Her Eyes; I’m Your Pal; Desert Air (21½ rnin) – Crystal Silence; Falling Grace; Feelings And Things; Children’s Song; What Game Shall We Play Today (22 min)
Chick Corea (pno); Gary Burton (vbs). Oslo 6/11/72.
(ECM1024ST £2.45)