This 1976 release features Chick Corea in what was then, and remains, a unique musical setting. While it is truly an electric jazz fusion record, it is also Corea's first solo recording to attempt to address the Latin side of his musical heritage. My Spanish Heart marks a full-scale, yet thoroughly modern, exploration in the musical lineage Corea sprang from. Making full use of synthesizer technology, a string section, and synth-linked choruses -- of two voices, his own and that of Gayle Moran -- as well as percussionist Don Alias, drummer Steve Gadd, a full brass section, and the sparse use of Jean Luc Ponty ("Armando's Rumba") and bassist Stanley Clark, Corea largely succeeded in creating a Spanish/Latin tapestry of sounds, textures, impressions, and even two suites -- "Spanish Fantasy" and "El Bozo."
The string quartet performs its intricate and gorgeously elegant arrangements with verve and grace on "Day Danse" and on the suites, with Corea's contrapuntal pianism creating a sharp yet warm contrast to the shifting tempos, wild interval leaps, and shimmering timbral balances that occur. The only pieces that sound dated on this double-album-length set are the fusion pieces, which are, with their production and knotty stop-and-start modulations and key signature equations -- complete with aggressive arpeggios and scalar linguistics -- destined to be limited in expression by the voice of their use of technology. Thus, "Love Castles," "The Gardens," and "Night Streets" suffer from their rather cheesy production despite their tastefully done double fusion semantics (jazz to rock to Latin music). There is no doubt that Corea's musicianship was up to any task he chose at this point in time. Simply put, he was compositionally and intellectually at the top of his game, and this record, despite the many of his that haven't aged well, still surprises despite its production shortcomings.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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