It was pretty obvious from the names of the headliners -- singer Bobby McFerrin, pianist Chick Corea and drummer Jack DeJohnette -- that their performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall Wednesday night would be an unusual event. But who knew how unusual?
Start with the segment in which Corea and DeJohnette, each brandishing drumsticks, began a mock sword fight that wound up with the pair rolling around on the stage. McFerrin accompanied the encounter by using his voice to produce guttural sounds straight out of a samurai movie.
Another example: When Corea began to play a ragtime pattern, McFerrin joined him in a four-handed duet, knocking out riffs on the high notes. As Corea worked his way up the keyboard, McFerrin darted around behind him, picking up the rhythm on the low notes. Then Corea did the same. The Laurel and Hardy-like burlesque continued, as they circled around behind each other, maintaining the flow of the music as they took alternate turns across the keyboard.
Obviously not what one encounters on a typical night at Disney. Nor was it intended to be. After the performance, Corea said that the only plan that was made in advance was that there would be no plan -- an improvised encounter between three top-level artists.