In 2012, Rebecca Harrold released her highly acclaimed debut album The River of Life, a new age collection featuring an ensemble of genre all-stars, including producer Will Ackerman. Gearing up to drop the long-awaited sequel The Tree of Life – also helmed and featuring collaborations with Ackerman – the multi-talented Bentonville, AR composer/pianist offers a fascinating lead single, the uniquely titled “Chorean,” which is something of a portmanteau of the name of the late jazz fusion legend Chick Corea, with the last letter indicating that it’s a composition based on his inimitable style.
“Chorean” is a fanciful solo piano excursion that takes Harrold off her well-established new age and classical paths and into dynamic improvisational jazz territory to celebrate Corea’s life and legacy. The piece begins with a spirited, playfully chaotic flurry of notes that land in a tense and jumpy, dark toned ostinato pattern underscoring longer-held chords that build into a breezy melodic flow. After a minute artfully balancing anxiety with a calming pull, she re-introduces the opening flurry motif and, while keeping the previous ostinato pattern present, engages in a joyfully improvisational dance before easing back down into the smoother main flow and then back up to the dancing element.
Towards the end of the piece, Harrold pops in with heavier and more dramatic chords before wrapping with elements of the downward flurry of notes punctuated by the ostinato pattern. By design, there is a lot of infectious repetition, but always in the service of the adventure that awaits beyond the next pattern, chord or melodic figure – unpredictable and innovative as Chick Corea was throughout his amazing career as a prolific artist and performer.
In just over two and a half minutes, Harrold establishes herself as a formidable and excitingly creative jazz artist. Even if her musical focus moving forward leads her to more new age and/or classical projects, it would be great to see more jazz tracks and perhaps a full album dedicated to it down the road.