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Great team Renowned musicians join together for jazz reunion

Some things were just made for each other: ham and eggs, pizza and beer, television and couches, the Blackberry and the tweet. Some people were made for each other too: Romeo and Juliet, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains at the end of "Casablanca."

Put Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke in that category. The collaboration of composer/keyboardist Corea and bassist Clarke is one of the richest in all of jazz.

It started in February 1972 when Corea -- the least predictable pianist in New York's jazz scene -- suddenly decided that he wanted to communicate broadly to a jazz audience. He assembled some of the most remarkable musicians of the time -- including Clarke, percussionist Airto Moreira, Moreira's singer-wife, Flora Purim, and saxophonist Joe Farrell -- to make one of the most melodically rich albums in jazz history, "Return to Forever."

Stan Getz liked the band so much that he got Corea and his friends to record most of its repertoire with him on "Captain Marvel," one of Getz's best records.

So popular and beloved was "Return to Forever," that the title of the disc became the name for Corea and Clarke's continuing fusion group, one of the best and most creative of its time, along with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Tony Williams' Lifetime.

But that was almost four decades ago. Corea and Clarke -- great jazz virtuosos both -- have had full, rich and, in Corea's case, fabled separate careers since that original pairing. Clarke, among other things, became a hugely successful film composer.

The greatest jazz musical collaborations, though, seldom stay fallow forever. Musicians as good as Corea and Clarke know they belong together. So they got their old "Return to Forever" drummer Lenny White and formed one of the great touring jazz trios these days.

They are coming to the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. next Friday.

People who know their music don't need to be told how big a gig this is. People who don't know it, should understand that this is the kind of top-level musical reunion that is anything but commonplace.

e-mail: jsimon@buffnews.com

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>CONCERT PREVIEW

WHO: Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke & Lenny White Trio
WHEN: 8 p.m. next Friday
WHERE: University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, North Campus, Amherst
TICKETS: $39.50, $44.50, $49.50
INFO: 645-2787, www.ubcfa.org or www.ticketmaster.com

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