CHICK COREA FESTIVAL at JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER
May 20, 2013
Jazz at Lincoln Center's compound was overflowing with musical tributes to Chick Corea in May. Ensembles curated by Corea in Dizzy’s Club and the Allen Room overlapped with performances headlining Corea in the Rose Theater with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis.
Addressing the audience in the Allen Room, Corea introduced two seventeen year-old pianists who caught his ear: Israeli Gadi Lehavi and Georgian Beka Gochiashvili. The seasoned saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, trumpeter Wallace Roney, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Marcus Gilmore supported these young bucks in a program dedicated to works by Corea.
Stylistically different, both pianists betrayed classical roots in their technique and hand position on the keys. More introspective and shy, Gadi floated lightly over Corea’s compositions, absorbing encouragement from Patittucci’s bass. As the evening progressed, Gadi’s personality ballooned, particularly when Coltrane’s spare, kilowatt notes picked off Corea’s complex rhythms drawing Lehavi out of his solitude.
When Gochiashvili strode on stage, he exuded the swagger of a boxer compared to Lehavi’s gymnast (both are slim young men). Outgoing and muscular, Gochiashvili attacked the piano with confidence building off of Coltrane’s pungent riffs. Born of the school of Jerry Lee Lewis, Gochiashvili pushed away from the piano bench, bopping and weaving, unable to execute the music without giving it a physical existence.
Compared to Lehavi’s streamlined, gymnast countenance, Gochiashvili strode on stage with the swagger of a boxer (both are slim young men). Outgoing and muscular, Gochiashvili attacked the piano confidently building off of Coltrane’s pungent riffs.
Granted, there were moments when the combo nearly took off pulling the pianists in their sizable wake, but mostly, they were generous and favorably framed the young men’s ideas.
In the end, the two young jazz artists came on stage and played together. By this point, Lehvai was primed and rippled his arpeggios through Gochiasvilli’s piano marathon.
Set in relief against the ceiling to wall, slanted windows facing a breathtaking view of Columbus Circle and spring’s sunset, both pianists demonstrated their native talents and Corea’s remarkable versatitlity.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis