A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Crystal Silence” is a beautiful tune and one of the easier Chick Corea compositions to play. The “must hear” version is on the 1972 album Chick recorded with vibraphonist Gary Burton, appropriately titled…. “Crystal Silence.”

Here are some recommended recordings/videos:
(for international readers who may not have access to these YouTube links, I’ve indicated the original album names wherever possible so you can listen to them on music streaming services, etc.)

Chick Corea: Return To Forever

Chick Corea and Gary Burton: Crystal Silence

Flora Purim

Dave Valentin

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“Crystal Silence’ is a simply gorgeous tune to play. As pianists, we have an opportunity to really explore the harmony in a way that single-note instrumentalists don’t have.

Corea doesn’t move from chord to chord in a traditional way, with ii/V/I’s and the like. Instead, he’s more interested in the change of color and harmonic “weight” between each chord. This is a way of composing chord progressions that was pioneered by Wayne Shorter and other jazz composers in the generation that came of age just before Corea. (See Shorter’s composition “Infant Eyes” to see what I mean.) Have fun exploring the sounds of the harmonies in “Crystal Silence.” Each chord voicing can be as full and rich or as sparse and evocative as you like.

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

Further links and resources:
Crystal Silence (album): Wikipedia

Pat Metheny’s album notes for the “New Crystal Silence” recording
This is what Metheny wrote for Corea and Burton’s later album, “New Crystal Silence.” We can gain a lot by reading a great jazz musician’s insights about his peers!

Crystal Silence: Journey Through The Real Book #77

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