Audience left dazed by collective genius

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 February, 2009, 12:00am

Chick Corea and John McLaughlin with the Five Peace Band Cultural Centre Concert Hall Ends tonight

What made this night so magical was that the genius was collective.

It's been 40-odd years since the combined talents of keyboardist Chick Corea and guitarist John McLaughlin helped create what would be known - for better or worse - as jazz fusion. Granted a certain Miles Davis might have had a hand in things, but the pair bounced off each other back in the late 1960s like they both had a point to prove.

That they have since become two of jazz music's immortals has not doused that passion, either - as the faithful could attest after witnessing the first of their two-night stand.

But as much as the band's leaders lit up the night, Kenny Garrett (sax), Christian McBride (bass) and a mesmerising Brian Blade (drums) equally helped spread the joy.

The night began with a breathtaking, 14-minute rendition of McLaughlin's Raju, and then charted its way through a selection of both Corea and McLaughlin's finest.

The highlight came through the sweetness of Corea's Hymn to Andromeda - where each band member was given the space to shine.

'You can hear it for free on the internet, but you won't be able to hear it like this,' McLaughlin said. And how true that is. They then left the concert hall dazed and on its feet with a sublime reworking of Jackie McLean's ageless Dr Jackle.