Corea/Gulda Piano works inspired by children
In his all-too-brief sleeve-note Gulda writes that ''the thematic material and the way it is used are jazz-oriented. The music can therefore be termed 'jazz' by those who attach importance to such a label.'' His activity in jazz goes back to the 1960s, of course, and much of it in those earlier days was in the company of some of the most distinguished musicians in that field. Gulda's best results were achieved, I think, in large works such as his Variations for two pianos and band (MPS 88.034-2—not submitted for review and now deleted) rather than in solo pieces, yet for some years I have found his jazz playing, as playing, more satisfying than what he now does in the classical repertoire. The Sonatina is the most engaging item here, the initial movement ingeniously adapting jazz to sonata form, and vice versa. All three movements have considerable expressive force, though it is a pity that the fine-spun line of the central ''Ballad'', quite affecting at first, leads to some overly rhetorical pages.
If rather too schematic, the Variations show much resource in marshalling the devices of contemporary jazz pianism, and to highly virtuosic effect. I like the Prelude and Fugue better than when Gulda recorded them in 1965 (Polydor 583 709—not submitted for review and now deleted), but the inclusion of Chick Corea's miniatures, as wispy and lacking substance as his other contributions to jazz, is regrettable. It is hard to say exactly how piano tone on cassette is so inferior to CD and LP, but it does not have the same depth and sharply defined presence. The LP has exceptionally quiet surfaces.'