Barcelona Voll-Damm Jazz Festival: Barcelona, Spain, November 24-30, 2012
The evening opened with the presentation to Corea of the Barcelona Voll-Damm Internacional Jazz Festival's Gold Medal, which he accepted modestly before being joined by McBride and Blade for the set's opener, a lively "On Green Dolphin Street." There was a strong Spanish influence on "Armando's Rhumba," and Corea's playing on "Pledge For Peace" was particularly moving, while McBride and Blade both produced fluid, swinging, solos on Monk's "Work." McBride and Blade were constantly in motion, sparking off each other's playing and seemingly with permanent smiles on their faces. Their enjoyment was palpable, their creativity seemingly effortless: this might just be the finest rhythm section in jazz. Corea was more restrained, concentrating on the keyboard with occasional signals to his collaborators as he produced music full of beautiful melody and fascinating harmonies.
Carles BenaventCorea's longtime friend and musical collaboratorjoined the trio for two encores: "Beautiful Love" and a strikingly warm and melodic performance of Corea's "Spain." Benavent was, once more, in exceptional form and immediately fit in with the other three players. The final notes of "Spain" brought the 44th Barcelona Voll-Damm Internacional Jazz Festival to a fittingly gorgeous close. The Festival was a musical triumph, audience responses were overwhelmingly positive, the weather was kind, the city was welcoming and the 45th Festival can't come too soon.
All photos: Bruce Lindsay