Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)

TrilogyConcord CJA-35685-02
Format: CD (3)

Musical Performance *****
Sound Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2


One of the benefits of being an established musician is that early retirement can’t be forced on you. As long as people still fill concert halls or buy recordings, musicians can keep going. Some players continue to do vital work even late in their careers. Ahmad Jamal is making recordings that are as exciting and challenging as ever. Chick Corea, at 73, is a youngster compared to the 84-year-old Jamal, but at an age when most of us will be thinking about moving to Florida, he’s doing some of his best work.

Corea sold a lot of records in the 1970s with Return to Forever, the jazz-fusion group he led. He’s continued to play fusion, most recently with his newly formed band, the Vigil, but to me his most exciting recent work has been his traditional jazz releases, especially Further Explorations, his live trio recording with Eddie Gomez and the late Paul Motian. Trilogy, another live album, is the work of another trio he formed, this time with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade, and it comprises three discs and 17 tracks. The trio plays Corea’s compositions as well as standards by other writers, and offers a few surprises.

Disc 1 kicks off with an old chestnut, “You’re My Everything,” which in 12 minutes shows what an impressive ensemble this is. Corea drops a few nods in the direction of other players, especially Bill Evans and Red Garland, but it’s his own flow of ideas that is gripping. McBride’s solo is joyous, Corea occasionally darting around him and prodding him along, and Blade’s feature is witty and dynamic. Joe Henderson’s Latin-tinged “Recorda Me” inspires long, expansive lines from Corea that are quick but never showy. Corea’s own “Fingerprints” gives Blade an impressive workout, and he responds to and feeds the other two players with an exquisite touch.

Corea generously shares the spotlight with the others, and they don’t disappoint. In the wrong hands, bass solos can meander, but McBride is fluid and exacting. Blade reminds me of Shelly Manne, a solidly rhythmic drummer with a melodic touch. Corea’s “Piano Sonata: The Moon,” on disc 3, runs to nearly 30 minutes. Its changes of time and mood would challenge any other trio, but the skill with which these three approach and sustain the piece -- and hold our interest for so long -- demonstrates their skills and their ability to interact so well.

Flutist Jorge Pardo and guitarist Niño Josele join the trio for two selections, and vocalist Gayle Moran, Corea’s wife, sings “Someday My Prince Will Come.” In the end, however, it’s Corea, McBride, and Blade at the center of this set, and they maintain their creative energy for over three hours -- an astonishing feat that they pull off with energy and a display of generous give and take. Recording engineer Bernie Kirsh captures every nuance of the group, and each disc has a palpable live ambiance. Trilogy demonstrates, once again, that Chick Corea is a vital and engaging musician at the peak of his powers.

. . . Joseph Taylor