PD-1-6130 The Mad Hatter
Produced by Chick Corea
Released on 1978
US CHART POSITION #61 . . . US JAZZ CHART POSITION #6
Find it at GEMM
PD-1-6130 cover  

I ’m a sucker for program music, even when the pretense to a program is pretty flimsy, as it is here. Without the concept of Alice In Wonderland to tie things together, The Mad Hatter would simply be another of Corea’s eclectic jazz samplers from the late Seventies. But by giving the pieces themes (e.g., “Tweedle Dum mournfully recalls the beauty of his distant past”), Corea affords us a wider window into the music than might otherwise exist. Having gazed at these songs intently on a half dozen occasions, I’d proclaim The Mad Hatter one of my favorite Corea albums from this (or any) period. The music ranges from moogy mind candy (“The Woods”) to classical jazz hybrids (“Tweedle Dee”) to Latin-inflected jazz (“Dear Alice”) to a blowin’ quartet of the straight stuff (“Humpty Dumpty”). The same fare you’d find in mixed amounts on a lot of Corea albums, but The Mad Hatter stands taller than a Secret Agent or Tap Step. In fact, next to My Spanish Heart, this is the ‘70s Corea album closest to mine (not including RTF). The reason is the quality of the material; Corea has mined these forms many times, but rarely have they sounded so good. Gayle Moran’s voice (which I usually have to brace myself for) works very well in this setting, whether propped up against the strings at an angle on “The Trial” or soaring in and out of “Dear Alice” as if she’s always been there. Even Chick sounds more inspired than usual, building a palpable setting for “The Woods,” blending his piano perfectly into the potentially daunting number of players assembled for some of these pieces. From the rest of the cast, the rhythm section of Steve Gadd and Eddie Gomez is superb, and Joe Farrell is always a pleasure to hear. Herbie Hancock also appears on Fender Rhodes for the closing “Mad Hatter Rhapsody,” but to my ears it just sounds like so much noodling at first, improving only when the distortion is turned down. In the end, the story of The Mad Hatter really isn’t important; think of it as a nice package that makes you want to find out what’s inside. If you enjoyed the confections contained in My Spanish Heart, The Mad Hatter holds more of the same.

PD-1-6130 back cover PD-1-6130 lyric sleeve
PD-1-6130 back cover PD-1-6130 lyric sleeve
[high resolution scan]

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE WOODS    4:36
  2. TWEEDLE DEE    1:08
  3. THE TRIAL    1:40
  4. HUMPTY DUMPTY    6:27
  5. PRELUDE TO FALLING ALICE    1:18
  6. FALLING ALICE    (Chick Corea/Gayle Moran)    8:18
  7. TWEEDLE DUM    2:51
  8. DEAR ALICE    (Chick Corea/Gayle Moran)    13:06
  9. THE MAD HATTER RHAPSODY    10:46

    All selections composed and arranged by Chick Corea unless noted

CREDITS

CHICK COREA -- acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, mini-moog, poly moog, Moog 15, Moog sample and hold, Arp Odyssey, Overheim 8 voice, MXR digital delay, Eventide Harmonizer, marimba, finger cymbals, African shaker, cow bell, cover concept
STUART BLUMBERG -- trumpet
DENYSE BUFFUM -- viola
JOE FARRELL -- flute, piccolo, tenor sax
STEVE GADD -- drums
EDDIE GOMEZ -- acoustic bass
DENNIS KARMAZYN -- cello
GAYLE MORAN -- vocals
RON MOSS -- trombone
MICHAEL NOWACK -- viola
JOHN ROSENBERG -- trumpet
JOHN THOMAS -- lead trumpet
CHARLES VEAL -- 1st violin
KENNETH YERKE -- 2nd violin
Jamie Faunt -- acoustic bass
Herbie Hancock -- Fender Rhodes (9)
Harvey Mason -- drums
Bernie Kirsh -- engineer
Mike Doud, A.G.I. -- art direction
Mike Manoogian -- design and lettering
Ed Caraeff -- photography
Stanley Gainsforth -- additional photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1978 Polydor LP/CS/8T PD/CT/8T-1-6130 lyric sleeve
UK 1978 Polydor LP 2490 114 lyric sleeve
BRA/GER 1978 Polydor LP 2391 332  
JPN 1978 Polydor LP MPF-1150  
YUG 1978 RTB LP LP-5925  
US October 12, 1993 Polygram CD 519 799  


SUGGESTED READING

So, how many of you have actually read Lewis Carroll's Alice Through The Looking Glass? Those who have know it to be a darker work than the Disney adaptations, a literary world of shadows and mirrors where things are not as they seem. If you're interested, you can find a used copy of Alice Through The Looking Glass at GEMM.

 

For more discographies visit...
progrography

© 2009 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved.