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Release: Immediate

Chick Corea and Gary Burton perform piano-vibes duos in March 7 Hancher concert

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Pianist Chick Corea and vibes pioneer Gary Burton, two of the leading figures in jazz for more than 30 years, will renew their long-standing collaboration in a duo concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. The event is part of the Cantebury Inn and Suites Jazz Series at Hancher.

The Hancher concert, "An Evening With Chick Corea and Gary Burton: Solos and Duets," was planned in conjunction with a day-long high-school jazz workshop, organized by the jazz studies area of the UI School of Music.

The first collaboration of Corea and Burton was unplanned -- a spontaneous pairing at the Munich Jazz Festival 25 years ago. The magic of that encounter was so powerful that Corea and Burton have become one of the most enduring collaborations in jazz, including their duo recordings "Crystal Silence," "In Concert/Zurich" and "Native Sense."

They have led their own groups in a variety of directions over the years, accumulating nearly a dozen Grammy Awards between them, but they have always welcomed the opportunity to team up again for the satisfaction of the swinging, touching, straight-ahead music they make together.

"I think Chick is the jazz musician of our day," Burton says. "I have fond memories of playing with jazz musicians such as Stan Getz, John Scofield and Steve Swallow, but I've never experienced anything on the level of what happens between me and Chick. It's like we can read each other's minds."

The admiration is mutual. "Gary is a complete and magnificent musician," Corea says. "His playing and music is extra unique because of his instrument. It's a hard instrument to be lyrical on and Gary is extra lyrical and mellow."

One of the most influential pianists in recent jazz, Corea has performed music ranging from mainstream jazz to the avant garde, from Latin jazz to fusion, and he has even toured with the classical chamber ensemble Tashi, including a Hancher concert.

At the age of 17, Corea began performing with prominent musicians including Maynard Ferguson, Stan Getz, Herbie Mann, Sarah Vaughn and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band.

Then, in the late 1960s, in a move that has reverberated down the years, Corea joined the Miles Davis band, playing electric piano on the landmark albums "In A Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew." This launched his extensive exploration of free improvisation, including the Circle band, which featured Dave Holland, Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul.

Soon Corea felt a need to explore his more lyrical side, which he did in two ECM recordings of piano improvisations. The trend continued with the creation of the first Return To Forever, a Latin-flavored acoustic group featuring Stanley Clarke on bass, Flora Purim on vocals, Airto on drums, and reedman Joe Farrell.

But Corea was soon back to the adventurous. The second incarnation of Return to Forever took an aggressive rock approach, including the electric solos of guitarists Bill Connors and Al Di Meola, and the band became one of the most influential bands of the new fusion movement.

The next few years he collaborated in a variety of styles, not only with Gary Burton but also with fellow piano great Herbie Hancock, drummer Steve Gadd, saxophonists Joe Henderson and Michael Brecker, bassists Miroslav Vitous and Eddie Gomez, flutist Steve Kujala, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, singers Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and many other musicians.

By 1985 Chick Corea had created a new electric format with the creation of The Chick Corea Elektric Band with John Patitucci (bass) and Dave Weckl (drums), later adding Frank Gambale (guitar), and Eric Marienthal (sax). And the other side of his personality is expressed in the Chick Corea Akoustic Band, which had a Billboard No. 1 album in the late '80s. One of his most recent albums is an all-star tribute to the legendary jazz pianist Bud Powell.

Gary Burton was self-taught on vibes, and he was quickly acclaimed for his technique with four mallets, a technical innovation that has influenced all vibes players who have followed. A profile in Stick It magazine asserted, "Perhaps no one in history has demonstrated more innovative command of his particular instrument of choice than Burton."

He toured with George Shearing at age 20 and was with Stan Getz in the mid-1960s before leading his own groups, including an early fusion ensemble with guitarist Larry Coryell. Coryell was followed by newcomers Pat Metheny and John Scofield. Among the prominent bassists in his groups have been Eberhard Weber, Steve Swallow and Abe Laboriel.

Despite his involvement in education at Boston's Berklee School of Music, Burton has not let his recording career lag. In the '70s and '80s, he made more than a dozen albums for ECM, among them such highly regarded works as "The New Quartet," "Passengers" (with Metheny) and "Dreams So Real." After an extended association with GRP Records, where he both recorded as a leader and co-led a Benny Goodman tribute quartet with clarinetist Eddie Daniels, Burton is now signed to Concord Jazz Records. His debut for the label was "Departure," featuring Scofield and pianist

Fred Hersch in a re-interpretation of the classic George Shearing sound. Burton's discography is now approaching 50 releases.

The Cantebury Inn and Suites is the corporate sponsor of Hancher's Jazz Series, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for "An Evening with Chick Corea and Gary Burton" are $27.50, $25 and $22. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI student for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.