Chick Corea and Gary Burton at the Barbican, London


“We knew we’d get you with that one,” claims Chick Corea after sustained applause for “Eleanor Rigby”, a track that’s been covered over 140 times by such luminaries as Shirley Bassey, Ray Charles and Ethel the Frog.

Did the world really need another version? Probably not, but Corea and Gary Burton’s intricate, adroit take on The Beatles’ mordant masterpiece is a highlight tonight at this freewheeling and generous two-hours-plus concert.

“We’ve been together for 40 years, so come on give us something on that,” Corea teases us before a single note’s been played, and the hugely appreciative crowd do, whooping. The slim, veteran pianist Corea, who started out in the 1960s playing with, among many others, Stan Getz and Miles Davis, started his fruitful collaboration with virtuoso vibraphonist Gary Burton in the early 1970s, cementing their credentials with their landmark jazz album Crystal Silence in 1972.

Their latest offering, released this month, is Hot House, which explores “standards” by the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Thelonious Monk, Lennon & McCartney and Kurt Weill. And it’s clear why this versatile pair have stuck together so long. The Scientology-loving 70-year-old Corea and the precise, porkier 69-year old Burton appear to be totally simpatico, complementing each other perfectly on such gems as the Art Tatum rarity “Can’t We Be Friends?”, Thelonious Monk’s later work “Light Blue” and Dave Brubeck’s hypnotic “Strange Meadow Lark”.

There’s a giddy quantity of chord changes and exhilarating shifts of tempo from Corea, but also lot of gratification to be had in Burton’s incisive, evocative playing, especially on “Native Sense” (from their 1997 collaboration Native Sense), which is music to soundtrack an 1980s urban thriller too, starring, perhaps, someone like a louche Dennis Quaid.

While Corea weaves dark, dense melodies, Burton provides a lighter timbre. Together, the affable duo (they’re studiously polite, nodding to each other after every song, sometimes even holding hands) are steeped in every kind of music, covering bebop, avant-garde, fusion and even chamber music during their two sets. At the start of their rousing second set they deliver a gorgeous version of Alexander Scriabin’s “Prelude No 2”, followed by Bartok’s “Bagatelle No 2”. It’s no ordinary jazz concert.

As a treat towards the end of this cheerful occasion the British saxophonist Tim Garland joins the pair for “a jam”, in which a frenzied Burton sensationally wigs out on his vibraphone, hammering the instrument like a hyperactive four-year-old. And Garland stays on for a splendid final number, “Blue Monk”. The applause is long and prolonged.


First set

Love Castle

Native Sense

Can't We Be Friends?

Strange Meadowlark

Hot House

Second set

Scriabin Prelude #4

Bartok Bagatelle #2

Chega de Saudade

Eleanor Rigby

Light Blue

Mozart Goes Dancing


La Fiesta with Tim Garland

Blue Monk with Tim Garland

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May


Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama


Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living