|Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade|
The jazz pianist Chick Corea has a knack for getting an audience all hyped before playing a single note of music, sharing, for example, funny anecdotes from his vast and storied career, and in between numbers teasing his bandmates. At Hill Auditorium Saturday night in Ann Arbor, MI, Corea opened his concert by name-dropping Detroit jazz musicians he considers formidable. At Corea’s side was the animated drummer Brian Blade and bassist Christian McBride. In 2016, Corea’s trio played at the Paradise Jazz Series in Detroit. There Eddie Gomez was on bass. The concert was memorable, but Corea’s trio sounds more organic with McBride shouldering the bass responsibilities. The trio performed cuts from the Grammy-winning album “Trilogy,” and the recent recording “Trilogy 2 Live.” The trio could’ve swung a wrecking ball through Thelonious Monks’ “Crepuscule with Nellie,” “Work,” and Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.,” but they showed a level of control and taste expected from such globally accomplished jazz musicians. McBride was the centerpiece. All concert long, he proved he has skills unlike any jazz bassist of his generation. He logged in the most solos — each hand-crafted on the spot for the appreciative audience. Blade, a master jazz drummer tenfold, broke loose on Corea’s “Fingerprint,” As for Corea, the entire concert his playing was sharper than the devil’s tongue, and it was awe-inspiring witnessing him sand the rust off “In a Sentimental Mood” during his solo. The trio was so on point every selection they performed qualified as a showstopper.