Chick Corea

Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea was an American jazz composer and keyboardist. He died on February 9, 2021. His compositions “Spain”, 500 Miles High, “La Fiesta”, and “Armando’s Rhumba”, are all widely recognized as jazz standards. He was a member Miles Davis’s band during the 1960s and helped to create jazz fusion. He founded Return to Forever in the 1970s. He is also known as McCoy Tyner Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans. They are considered to be the most important pianists to have emerged in jazz after John Coltrane. Corea continued to seek out collaborations and explore new musical styles in the 1980s, 1990s. Corea was well-known for his advocacy and fundraising efforts for social causes. Corea was nominated more than 60 times and won 23 Grammy Awards. Armando Corea was the son of Anna J. Corea and Armando J. Corea. His father, a Calabrian immigrant from Catanzaro (Calabria), was his father. He was of southern Italian heritage. At the age of four, his father, a jazz trumpeter, introduced him to piano. He grew up in jazz and was exposed to bebop, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He began playing drums at age eight. This would have an impact on his ability to use the piano as a percussion tool. Corea learned to play the piano by creating music for himself. Corea was inspired by Salvatore Sullo (a concert pianist), who taught him piano lessons when he was eight years old. He also introduced Corea to classical music and helped spark his interest in composition. Corea also performed as soloist and performer for the St. Rose Scarlet Lancers (a Chelsea-based drum and bugle corps). His father gave him a black tuxedo and he began playing gigs in high school. He loved listening to Herb Pomeroy’s bands at that time, and he had a trio who played Horace Silver’s music in a local jazz club. He then moved to New York City and studied musical education at Columbia University for one month and at the Juilliard School for six months. After finding them both disappointing, he quit but remained in New York City. Corea started his professional career with Mongo Santamaria and Blue Mitchell in the 1960s. In 1968, Corea released Tones for Joan’s Bones. He released Now He Sings and Now He Sobs in 1968, two years after his debut album. He used a device known as a ring modulator to process the output of his electric keyboard during live performances. This style was used on several Davis albums, including Black Beauty, Live at Fillmore West, and Miles Davis At Fillmore: Live from the Fillmore East. He continued to perform live with the Davis band into 1970. The final touring band that he was a part of included saxophonist Steve Grossman and Keith Jarrett as well as bassist Dave Holland, Airto Moreira, drummer Jack DeJohnette and percussionist Airto Moreira. Holland and Corea left the Davis band to start their own jazz group, Circle. This included multi-reed player Anthony Braxton as well as drummer Barry Altschul. The band recorded on Blue Note, ECM and other labels. Corea was not only an artist who explored an atonal style but also reached deep into the piano to pluck the strings. Corea began recording solo sessions in 1971 and created Piano Improvisations Vol. 1, and Piano Improvisations Volume. 2 for ECM in April that year. At that time, communication with an audience was a major theme for me. It was a new concept for me that I used so often at that time in my life, 1968, 1969. Growing up, I was a little too focused on how much it was fun to play the piano, and didn’t realize that my actions had an impact on others. I didn’t think of a relationship with an audience until much later. Corea’s Return to Forever, named after the 1972 album they released, used both electronic and acoustic instruments and drew more heavily on Latin American music than rock music. Return to Forever’s first two albums featured Flora Purim as vocalist and percussionist, Joe Farrell as flute and soprano, Airto Moreira playing drums and percussion and Stanley Clarke as acoustic bass player. Corea and Clarke later joined guitarist Bill Connors and drummer Lenny White to form a second group that combined Latin music elements with rock- and funk-oriented sounds partly inspired by John McLaughlin’s Bitches Brew bandmate. The group’s first album, Hymn of Seventh Galaxy, was recorded by this incarnation. Al Di Meola replaced Connors on the albums Where Have I Known You Before and No Mystery. Corea released My Spanish Heart in 1976. It was influenced by Latin American music. Gayle Moran, Corea’s wife, sang and Jean-Luc Ponty played the electric violin. The album combines jazz and flamenco and was supported by a Minimoog synthesizer as well as a horn section. Corea began working with Gary Burton, a vibraphonist, in the 1970s. They recorded many duet albums for ECM including 1972’s Crystal Silence. In 2006, they reunited for a concert tour. In 2008, a new album called The New Crystal Silence was released. It won a Grammy Award in 2009. This package contains a disc of duets as well as another disc featuring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Corea began a series concert with Herbie Hancock towards the end of 1970s. Both artists were dressed in formal attire and performed on grand pianos at these concerts. They played their own compositions as well as those of other composers like Bela Bartok and performed duets. Corea performed The Meeting in 1982 as a live duet alongside Friedrich Gulda, the classical pianist. Corea performs on March 1, 2008 with Bela Fleck. Corea recorded The Enchantment with Bela Fleck in December 2007. Corea and Fleck toured extensively in support of the album in 2007. For the song “Spectacle”, Fleck received a nomination in the Best Instrumental Composition section of the 49th Grammy Awards. Corea worked with Hiromi Uehara, a Japanese pianist, to create the live album Duet (Chick Corea u0026 Hiromi). On April 30, the duo performed a concert at Tokyo’s Budokan arena. He reunited with Hancock for the duet concert series in 2015. The dueling-piano format was maintained, but both have now added synthesizers to their repertoire. This series began at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle. It featured improvisations, duo compositions and standards from other composers. Corea also has the Chick Corea Elektric Band and its trio reduction, “Akoustic Band”, Origin and the New Trio. Corea signed a GRP Records record deal in 1986. This led to the release ten albums, seven with the Elektric Band and two with the Akoustic Band. Expressions was Corea’s solo album. In 1989, the Akoustic Band released an album titled “Self-Titled” and in 1991, a live version, Alive, featuring Dave Weckl on drums and John Patitucci as bass. Corea made a return to jazz trio instrumentation with this album. The majority of his subsequent recordings feature acoustic piano. Since 1986, The Akoustic Band has been touring intermittently. The Akoustic Band provided music for the 1986 Pixar film Luxo Jr., with the song “The Game Maker”. Corea founded Stretch Records in 1992. The Chick Corea New Troo, featuring Avishai Cohen as bassist and Jeff Ballard as drummer, released Past, Present in 2001.

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