It was in the mid-1980s when a friend of mine named Tom invited me over to his house to hear his new Onkyo Stereo system with a brand new CD player. I had never heard what a CD sounded like before. He sat me in the middle of the couch and hit play on the CD player. Instantly, I felt like the character in the old Memorex commercials. My hair blew back as adrenalin began rushing through my body. I had never heard a sound like what I was hearing at that moment. I have two very distinctive memories of that moment that I have never forgotten. The first was the sound quality of the CD. It sounded like the drummer’s bass drum was in the room with me. In fact, it sounded like the entire band was playing in the living room. It was like being in the front row of the Blue Note Cafe, listening to a live band.
The second and even more important memory was that of the music itself. I was knocked out by the musicianship. I had never heard anyone play drums, bass, guitar, or keyboards like the musicians I was listening to on that CD. I asked my friend to tell me the name of the group. He responded that it was Chick Corea’s new group called the Chick Corea Elektric Band, and the song was called “Rumble.”
From that point on, I became a huge fan of the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Every time the group released a new album, it was like Christmas morning. I had heard of Chick Corea before and had some Return To Forever albums in my collection. Yet the Chick Corea Elektric Band spoke to me differently. This group would turn on a lot of rock fans to fusion who were too young to embrace the ’60s and ’70s jazz fusion movements. Chick Corea’s Elektric Band was the group that helped bring new fans to the jazz world. The group also fueled a new movement in Jazz fusion in the 80s that has continued to this day.
It has been a long time since fans of the Chick Corea Elektric Band celebrated the release of a new Chick Corea Elektric Band album. However, the celebration will soon begin once again as Candid Records plans to release the first new Chick Corea Elektric Band album since To the Stars was released in 2004. (The Live In Toyko 2017 release was just a reissue of the second CD on GRP Live in Concert issued in 1988.)
The new Chick Corea Elektric Band album entitled The Future Is Now, will be released on November 3rd, 2024. This brand-new release is a Two CD set in a triple gatefold package. It is simply stunning. It’s a great reminder of how special the CD format has always been. The package also comes complete with a multi-page booklet that details the history of the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Each member of the band chimes in with their own memories of their introduction to the band. There are also details about each song that is included on the album. These are notes written by Chick Corea that are simply fascinating to read. I love when record companies release deluxe booklets with a CD release. This one is a real winner.
Chick Corea passed away in 2021. Up to the point of his passing, he had been working on the release of this new album. The Future Is Now is a 2 CD Live album fueled by nine tracks across both CDs or three vinyl LPs. All the songs on this 2 CD or 3 LP set were performed live not too long ago. The performances took place at various locations, such as Catalina’s in Los Angeles in 2016, Blue Note New York in October of 2016, Blue Note Tokyo in March of 2017, Sonoma California in August of 2017 and Catalina’s Los Angeles in May of 2018. Of course, it being a Chick Corea Elektric Band album, these live performances are very much extended versions of the studio releases that were found on various Chick Corea Elektric Band albums.
Here at ClassicRockHistory.com, we were lucky to get our hands on a release of the two CD set before it has been released to the public. Like many years ago, when I first heard the Chick Corea Elektric Band for the first time, I was simply blown away again. The sound quality on this 2 CD set is phenomenal. It opens up with the track “Charged Particles,” which was originally released on the Beneath The Mask album. The tempo is slightly faster than it was on the studio version, and the band just smokes like they always did every time I saw them play live. This is a true Christmas gift for fans.
With age also comes musical growth. Many musicians get better as they age. Of course, it may be hard to fathom that this incredible group of musicians could get better, but listening through this live album, it’s amazing how each one of these individual musicians, from Chick Corea to John Patitucci to Frank Gambale to Eric Marienthal and, of course, Dave Weckl has continued to grow musically. The group has never sounded better. The double CD closes with a phenomenal almost twenty version of “Got A Match,” originally released on the band’s debut album in 1986. Chick Corea still made use of his pitch bend during his solos, which helped him create such an original sound. Chick Corea was a musician who, despite his virtuoso acoustic piano skills, embraced technology early on. He was a trendsetter in the way his former band leader Miles Davis was. This 2 CD or three-LP set is a clear reminder of his talents, his visions, and his ability to work with the finest musicians on the planet, making them even better as a group. That was the Chick Corea Elektric Band.
You can pre-order the new album and all other Chick Corea Elektric Band albums and releases on the link below. Candid Records has done a great job with the quality of this release. They had to… it’s Chick Corea
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now’ Album Review article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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