LIVE: The Chuck Lamb Trio: A Tribute to Chick Corea 3/9/2021

The death of pianist composer Chick Corea early last month spawned many tributes from the musicians that were touched by his music and his warmth. Among them was local piano virtuoso Chuck Lamb, who has known Chick for many years, starting with Dry jack, his jazz fusion band from the 70s. Dry Jack would on occasion open for Chick’s pace setting fusion band Return to Forever, the musicians from each would enjoy each other’s shows and would frequently have musical encounters even off the stage.

However, this period was not the one Chuck chose to represent and pay tribute to. He elected to play Chick’s acoustic compositions, most which predated the RTF electric fusion period and chose a piano trio as the format in which to play them. Jay Anderson was on bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums.

He opened with an early composition of his that actually first appeared on a Stan Getz recording, then on his own “Inner Spaces” album, “Windows”.

This composition I have always considered ethereal, Chuck and the trio made their version more contemplative. Playing quietly and making use of the microdynamics to express a deep spirituality.

“Children’s Song” from Return to Forever’s “Light as a Feather” is as charming and simple as a children’s song would be. Chuck enriched our understanding of this composition describing his encounter with Chick based on this song, both men delighted with the composition.

“Crystal Silence” which initially appeared on the “Return to Forever” album but best known as a duet with vibraphonist/mentor Gary Burton was also given its own unique interpretation. Bassist Jay Anderson was played the melody/solo in the lower registers.  The piece was given more dynamics when Chuck entered with crescendos and chords.

A composition from the late 70’s Armando’s Rumba was given an African flavor, as it featured Harvey on drums, delighted to accentuate the rhythms of the piece with his tom toms and his brand-new snare drum!

Grammy Award winning piece “Friends” from the album of the same name. Seemed as happy as 2 dogs playing ball in a field.

The trio could not help but end with Chick’s signature tune that has appeared on many recordings and combos including as a concerto with Full Orchestra and hit single by the late Al Jarreau “Spain”.

A truly musically satisfying evening and reminding us that the Caffe will be open for live musical audiences in April. Hope Chuck will continue his work with Chick Corea’s compositions from his electric period.


  • Windows
  • Tones for Joan’s Bones
  • Children’s Song
  • Matrix
  • Crystal Silence
  • Armando’s Rumba
  • What was
  • Friends
  • Times Lie
  • Spain

Photo Gallery by Rudy Lu

1 Comment
  1. Tom Gaughan says

    Thanks Rudy for the nice review and photos! Chick’s Friends album has never left my rotation and was thrilled to hear Chuck & Friend’s interpretation. Looking forward to visiting Caffe Lena again in April.

Comments are closed.