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Chick Corea: Pioneer and Innovator

Chick Corea
Chick Corea Productions

Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea, was born in Chelsea Massachusetts on June 12, 1941. At age 77, the eternally youthful, always evolving, captivating pianist, composer and arranger shows no sign of slowing down. The ebullient Chick is one musician whose performances are outstanding. He is an expert at connecting to the audience and stated; “my mission is to bring the joy of creating everywhere I can. When I can bring some pleasure I become happy myself.”

A DownBeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master, Corea began his career in the 1960’s working with Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Herbie Mann, Blue Mitchell and Stan Getz. He released his first recording, Tones for Jones Bones (1966) followed by his classic, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968) with Roy Haynes and Miroslav Vituos. In September 1968 Corea replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ band and appears on several recordings including Bitches Brew. The 1970’s brought jazz fusion for which Corea was at the forefront with his influential Return to Forever band that incorporated Latin and Brazilian styles. Their 1972 recording, Light As A Feather remains a classic that features one of his most popular pieces, “Spain”.

Throughout his 5-decade career this innovator and pioneer has won twenty-two Grammy’s and has been nominated for sixty-three. From straight ahead to avant-garde, bebop to fusion, children's songs to chamber music, along with some far-reaching forays into symphonic works, Chick has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his illustrious career while maintaining a standard of excellence that is awe-inspiring.

Always nurturing the next generation, he will be bringing his swinging band, Chick Corea Trio: Vigilette with Marcus Gilmore, drums and Carlitos Del Puerto on bass to Scullers Jazz Club, September 19th through September 23rd. Carrying the lineage of his legendary grandfather, Roy Haynes, Gilmore, while in his 20’s, quickly became an in-demand drummer, playing with stars like Ravi Coltrane, Clark Terry and Nicholas Payton. Carlitos Del Puerto-Cuban born, LA based, powerhouse bassist with equal pedigree (his father, Carlos Del Puerto, co-founder of legendary Cuban Jazz Band “Irakare”) has spent five years with Chick Corea and can be heard on his recent Steve Gadd collaboration Chinese Butterfly.

According to guitarist, Rodney Jones, “the mastership in music…is not something that can be taught-it can only be caught.” A tirelessly creative spirit, Chick Corea continues to forge ahead, continually reinventing himself in the process. He is a living legend, not to be missed.

Sheila Anderson is an announcer on WBGO New York

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