Chick Corea, a jazz pianist virtuoso

Picture from Stereogum

As I write this post about one of the most important jazz performers of our Century, I am listening to his composition 500 Miles High performed live with Trilogy 2.

When I read that he passed away last February 9, 2021, I sent a Whatsapp to a good friend of mine in Puerto Rico and a few days later to another friend in Almeria, Spain.

Chick Corea broke all paradigms in jazz. His early perfomances and first studio recording showed to Jazz World, that he was bringing a new level of performance.

Armando Anthony Corea ws born in Chelsea, Massachusetts on June 12, 1941. He began studying piano at age four. Early on in his development, Horace Silver and Bud Powell were important influences while the music of Beethoven and Mozart inspired his compositional instincts.

Chick’s first major professional gig was with Cab Calloway, which came before early stints in Latin bands led by Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo.

Chick made his recording debut as a leader in 1966 with Tones For Joan’s Bones.

On 1968, he recorded Now He Sings, Now He Sobs with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes. That trio album is now considered a jazz classic. This is the disc that cemented Chick’s place in the jazz firmament as a pianist of incomparable skill.

On fall of 1968, Chick replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ band with Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams. In September of that year, he played Fender Rhodes electric piano on Miles’ important and transitional recording Filles de Kilimanjaro, which pointed to a fresh new direction in jazz.

Chick and Herbie Hancock teamed up in early 1978 for a tour playing duets exclusively on acoustic pianos. Their chemistry was documented on two separate recordings: 1978’s Corea/Hancock and 1980’s An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, a two-LP set that featured renditions of Chick’s “La Fiesta” and Herbie’s “Maiden Voyage” along with expressive takes on Béla Bartok’s “Mikrokosmos” and the standard that Miles Davis made so popular, “Someday My Prince Will Come.”

At the beginning of 1981, Chick recorded Three Quartets, a classic swinging encounter with tenor sax great Michael Brecker, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Steve Gadd. Chick’s originally composed his concerto The Continents in 2009, but waited until 2012 to record it the way it was meant to be: with a hand-chosen chamber orchestra, and a pristine recording space. The resulting 2-CD set is Chick’s most ambitious compositional outing to date, perfectly fusing his jazz and classical sensibilities on a gorgeous suite of music.

Picture from Boston Herald

Chick’s originally composed his concerto The Continents in 2009, but waited until 2012 to record it the way it was meant to be: with a hand-chosen chamber orchestra, and a pristine recording space. The resulting 2-CD set is Chick’s most ambitious compositional outing to date, perfectly fusing his jazz and classical sensibilities on a gorgeous suite of music.

The name of Chick Corea is mentioned on Ted Giaoia’s book: The History of Jazz where he accurately describe that Miles Davis’ influence on a jazz fusion was pursued as well by many of his formers band members, among them Chick Corea.

Definitely, we can conclude that Chick Corea’s contribution to music is immensely important and that conservatories and Music Departments should dedicate a full time course on his achievements and magnificent repertoire.

Most of the information here published are from www.chickcorea.com website.

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