Performing Arts: Music
May 31, 2013
It was one of those nights that just happen in New York City. First there was Chick Corea’s surprise appearance, then there was Mika Stoltzman’s request for a do-over when she lost her place in a piece arranged by Steve Reich. Plus, in front of us sat one of the cutest 2 year old boys dressed in a white shirt, short vest and grey pants. He behaved better than many adults, bouncing up and down in perfect time to Reich’s pulse while admiring an iridescent blue orgagami swan handed to him by a lady in the audience. (Really—who carries origami animals in the their bags?)

Originally this concert was billed to feature Mika Stoltzman, a spirited marimbist and wife of the famed clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, along with Gayle Moran Corea, a vocalist and wife of Mr. Corea, the Harlem String Quartet, David Pihl, David FInck, Bill Cahn, Duke Gadd, and Mr. Stoltzman.

In the first half of the evening, the Stoltzmans and the Harlem String Quartet breezed through the buoyant “Marimba Concerto” that wove in rhythms reminiscent of Scottish jigs. In fact, it would make a wonderful score for a dance piece. Next came Steve Reich’s “Duet” followed by a lively solo for Mika Stoltzman to innovative composer, John Zorn’s “The Nymphs for Solo Marimba” and finally William Thomas McKinley’s “Burning Bright” closed the first half.

The surprise came in the second half, when the musicians were scheduled to play piece’s by Corea when suddenly, Ms. Corea announced that her husband was going to take the stage. Evidently, this was a last minute decision, but it made for the evening’s most delectable moments. After all, jazz is about improvisation, making art out of the unexpected, which is precisely what they all did.

The intimate space in the Carnegie Weil Recital Hall underscored both Mr. Stoltzman’s and Mr. Corea’s humanity. Ostensibly there to support both their wives, both men demonstrated remarkable grace, consideration and love for their work and their wives. It was truly touching to witness. The group played Corea’s “Your Eyes Speak to Me..”,“La Fiesta,” “Children’s Songs No. 12, No. 15, No.6,” “Crystal Silence & Wigwam,” “Marika Groove,” and the Grammy Award winning “Mozart Goes Dancing.” Ms. Corea’s light soprano voice strengthened whenever Mr. Stoltzman stood next to her, supporting her tone with his crystalline sound. And of course, Chick exuded ample support from the piano.

At the end the audience cheered, and as an encore, Chick played “My Funny Valentine” – a song that brought out the best in Ms. Corea and soared in the duet between Stoltzman and Chick---two consummate artists, who share a clarity of voice, astounding technique, musical breath and generosity of spirit.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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