The Vigil

The Vigil Image
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 4 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Charles Altura, Hadrien Feraud, Tim Garland and Marcus Gilmore form the latest band for the jazz pianist's latest release.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Sep 9, 2013
    88
    There's some very remarkable playing and composing found throughout The Vigil, and because of the diverse range of sounds and styles that the album chooses to work with, there's something for every jazz fan to mull over.
  2. Sep 9, 2013
    80
    This unexpectedly full-on set is all about celebrating and reinventing, not polishing silverware.
  3. Sep 9, 2013
    80
    As a band, the Vigil is exciting as much for its potential as for the multifaceted talent the group members put on display here.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Oct 21, 2015
    9
    The Vigil, Chick Corea's recent collaboration with guitarist Charles Altura, bassist Hadrien Feraud, drummer Marcus Gilmore, and saxophonistThe Vigil, Chick Corea's recent collaboration with guitarist Charles Altura, bassist Hadrien Feraud, drummer Marcus Gilmore, and saxophonist Tim Garland, is a fitting tribute to Corea's diverse accomplishments in fusion over the last 45 years. It includes both electric and acoustic sounds as well as eclectic styles and genres that can often be individually likened to one of Corea's multiple previous endeavors; and each style is expertly performed. The composition is engaging, the musicianship daunting, and the recording (which is one gripe I often have with Corea's older productions) is flawless.
    Opening and closing the album are three heavier, faster electronic pieces. The opener "Galaxy 32 Star 4", with its layers of Latin percussion and prominent melodic bass riffs, kicks the album off in a style similar to Return to Forever's 1973 album Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, then leaves space for all the members to solo. A listener can immediately feel the synergy in Corea's new group as they trade solos. It finishes with more of the aggressive unison melodies that characterized Corea's early-70s fusion work. "Portals to Forever" includes meter-bending riffs and extended solos that are reminiscent of Romantic Warrior. It also addresses a common criticism of that album -- that the extended jams are few and far between, and new riffs fly by before they can be fully explored -- by expertly combining the two. "Legacy" wraps up the album, starting with sparse solo riffs and settling into another complex unison melody before giving Corea plenty of room to solo in his characteristic pitch-bending style. Gilmore's constant 16th-note grooves keep everything moving. After another solo from Garland brings the song to climax, everyone quiets down to end the album on a unexpectedly abrupt, anticlimactic note.
    In between are several more traditional acoustic tracks that highlight Latin and swing styles. A grand piano solo that adopts a 6/8 groove introduces "Planet Chia", the album's first acoustic track. Altura (on acoustic guitar) and Garland (on soprano sax) introduce a bold phrygian melody and trade solos over steady percussion, giving the tune an fierce Latin feel comparable to Corea's work on My Spanish Heart. "Outside of Space" brings in vocalist Gayle Moran Corea to mimic Flora Purim's work on early Return to Forever records such as Light as a Feather. Corea interestingly brings the same wandering, vaguely detuned tone that I would consider a shortcoming of Purim's in those days. It feels unnecessary when compared to Garland's smooth, vocal clarinet solo that follows it, but the track as a whole fittingly addresses the sounds of that era. "Royalty" opens with a piano solo that becomes a light, swinging waltz. Garland plays the part with a simple but evocative solo. Return to Forever-alumnus Stanley Clarke and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane join in on "Pledge for Peace", which begins with a flowing, grooveless jam and settles into a steady swing. The whole thing seems to take cues from A Love Supreme; not surprising considering Coltrane's participation. Coltrane himself channels the chaotic style of his father's work near the end of the track with Corea aggressively pounding out chord after chord behind him. A common flaw of these acoustic tracks is that electric guitar or bass tones interrupt the warm, personal mood being generated by the rest of the musicians; most would also benefit from more limited instrumentation for that reason.
    Overall, Corea's new group effectively shows that they're capable of excelling in quite diverse styles, and that these styles previously pioneered by Corea can still be made fresh in the modern context. A few odd choices don't hold the album back from being one of Corea's most impressive and exciting works in recent years.
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