For their final record together, the Chick Corea Elektric Band returned to the funky backbeat style that dominated their album Light Years in 1987. Beneath The Mask, however, portrays a much tighter, more seasoned ensemble than their previous efforts.
This is a band that could only have grown out of years on the road together, performing extremely complex music on stage, and then capturing that power in the studio. The group's sound had evolved, too, from heavily synthesized effects in the mid '80s to a more natural vibe on Mask, with more acoustic instruments and Corea's more delicate synth tones.
The playing on this record is as astounding as always. The Weckl/Patitucci rhythm machine is in full gear on driving numbers like the opening title track and "One Of Us Is Over 40." Shades of the creative ensemble arrangements from Eye of the Beholder appear on the dynamic "Lifescape" and the explosive "Charged Particles." In between, gentler works like "A Wave Goodbye" and "Free Step" offer a tasteful change of pace. Mask closed the book on Corea's striking Elektric combo--a legendary unit that defined high-quality electric jazz in the digital era.
Musicians: Chick Corea, keyboards Eric Marienthal, soprano saxophone Frank Gambale, guitar John Patitucci, bass Dave Weckl, drums
Produced by Chick Corea Recorded by Bernie Kirsh
1. Beneath The Mask 2. Little Things That Count 3. One Of Us Is Over 40. 4. A Wave Goodbye 5. Lifescape 6. Jammin E. Cricket 7. Charged Particles 8. Free Step 9. 99 Flavors 10. Illusions