Beneath the Mask

Jazz radio — with its emphasis on placid music — may always ignore this somewhat aggressive band of gifted players, led by composer-keyboardist Chick Corea, but it won’t be because Corea hasn’t tried to be accessible: Beneath the Mask is the easiest and breeziest Elektric Band album in years, with Latin-flavored melodies that are concise and downright hummable. ”A Wave Goodbye” seems suitable for the watered-down stuff played on pop-jazz radio, and yet Corea’s atmospheric harmonies manage to be seductive without evaporating into nothingness. On ”One of Us Is Over 40,” the band even slips into a very friendly (and uncharacteristically African) lope. Sometimes the group’s pyrotechnic displays fling too many notes in too many directions, but more often Corea weaves his tricks into a seamless musical fabric. And the Elektric Band — Corea, bassist John Patitucci, drummer Dave Weckl, guitarist Frank Gambale, and saxophonist Eric Marienthal-has never sounded better. B

Beneath the Mask
  • Music