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Hasty concert serves up bop, ballads

Title: Hasty concert serves up bop, ballads
Date: Tuesday, 21 May 1985
Publisher: The Oregonian (Portland)
Main source: link (158 KiB)

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About 2,000 fans of Scientology and jazz gathered in unheavenly weather Monday night for the Crusade for Religious Freedom concert, a hastily organized effort anchored by the hastily formed thick Corea Trio.

The four-hour concert featured jazz pianist/composer Corea and movie composer Frank Stallone, whose brother Sylvester Stallone has made a career out of boxing films about a fictional fighter named Rocky.

Gray skies failed to erupt in rainfall as dusk turned to darkness on the waterfront area opposite the main fire station but by 11 p.m. the air was decidedly cool.

The outdoor coolness was abetted by the cool sounds of Corea's trio, made up of drummer Tony Breckline and bassist Jamie Faunt. Corea canceled a solo show in Japan to make the Portland trip, joined here by Beaverton native Faunt, who's also an acclaimed jazz artist.

Corea's work in recent years has been mostly solo and duo. But the Waterfront Park performance was true to his bebop roots with the trio taking the opportunity to make the concert a jam session of the highest order.

Extended compositions of Corea's standards, in jazz as well as pop literature, were the nucleus of the show. Opening with the Miles Davis jazz standard, "All Blues," the trio drove through it with rhythmic force. Corea played electric piano, playing long solos between dynamic drumming by Breckline and some excellent solo work by Faunt.

A medium-tempo ballad, "Romance," received a nice, if moderate, reading and then a long-winded bop-flavored vehicle returned the group to more interesting music. Included along the way was a piece that had Corea playing portable keyboard/synthesizer. The tune was an intricate look at Corea's fusion style.

The concert began with Steve Ambrose and then Frank Stallone and the Peter Schless Band, an 11-piece aggregation that played some smooth pop music with little bite. Stallone has a fair to good voice in the tenor range and it was more relevant on the covers he sang, including "Pretty One," a doo-wop work from another time, a Muddy Waters blues number and "C.C. Rider." It wasn't jazz, of course, but the crowd loved the fluid sounds.

[Picture / Caption: CROWD PLEASER — Jazz pianist Chick Corea attracts a crowd estimated at 2,000 during concert at Waterfront Park to support Church of Scientology's protest of a $39 million judgment.]