Chick Corea/Herbie Hancock/Keith Jarrett/McCoy Tyner (1976)

This elpee was a source of speculation for years, as I wondered what such a serendipitous summit of ivory merchants might sound like together. Apparently, I am a rube. This is simply a compilation of old and, in most cases, previously released material cobbled together to make a buck off of inexperienced jazz-tasters like, well, me. The selections are culled from Atlantic’s vaults: a pair each from the debuts of Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, two selections from Ron Carter’s Uptown Conversation (Atlantic didn’t have the rights to any of Hancock’s solo material) and two unreleased tracks featuring three-quarters of John Coltrane’s band that date from the My Favorite Things sessions. The goal here, I guess, is to sample and compare the pianists’ different styles, but you’d really want a different platter to pick from. The album seems to get progressively difficult as it moves along. Jarrett is fluid and gentle, Corea plays in terse bursts of sound, Tyner is a torrent of notes and Hancock plays the willing accomplice to Carter’s artier explorations. I was only familiar with the Corea songs going into this, and they did sound different to me; the liner notes allude to a remix by Lew Hahn, so I’ll have to do a little more digging into that some day. Except for “This Is New,” everything here features the bass/drums/piano trio format, which always gives the piano plenty of room to breathe. You can hear that each pianist has their own distinctive style, but these styles would change over time, so comparing them here is pointless. Surprisingly, Atlantic re-issued this compilation on compact disc so a new generation can now experience the magic of being suckered into a star-studded compilation of stale treats.

Original LP Version
A1. Keith Jarrett: Margot (Keith Jarrett) (3:43)
A2. Keith Jarrett: Love No. 1 (Keith Jarrett) (6:11)
A3. Chick Corea: Tones For Joan’s Bones (Chick Corea) (6:03)
A4. Chick Corea: This Is New (From “Lady In The Dark”) (Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin) (7:36)
B1. McCoy Tyner: Lazy Bird (John Coltrane) (3:25)
B2. McCoy Tyner: In Your Own Sweet Way (Dave Brubeck) (5:14)
B3. Herbie Hancock: Einbahnstrasse (Ron Carter) (7:36)
B4. Herbie Hancock: Doom (Ron Carter) (6:05)

The Players
A1/A2: Keith Jarrett (piano), Charlie Haden (bass), Paul Motian (drums). Produced by George Avakian; recording engineered by Phil Ramone. A3/A4: Chick Corea (piano), Joe Chambers (drums), Joe Farrell (tenor saxophone), Woody Shaw (trumpet), Steve Swallow (bass). Produced by Herbie Mann; recording engineered by Phil Iehle; remix engineered by Lew Hahn. B1/B2: McCoy Tyner (piano), Steve Davis (bass), Elvin Jones (drums). Produced by Nesuhi Ertegun; recording engineered by Tom Dowd. B3/B4: Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Billy Cobham (drums). Produced by Herbie Mann; recording engineered by Dave Green. Collection compiled by Ilhan Mimaroglu.

The Pictures
Illustration by Milton Glaser. Art direction by Abie Sussman/Bob Defrin.

The Plastic
Compilation released on elpee, cassette and 8-track in 1976 in the US (Atlantic, SD/CS/TP 1696). Re-issued on compact disc in Germany (Atlantic, 81402-2).

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