A pivotal figure in the birth of the jazz fusion movement, pianist and bandleader Chick Corea continued to push the boundaries of the genre beginning in the 1960s during a prolific and highly collaborative career ... Read more »
A pivotal figure in the birth of the jazz fusion movement, pianist and bandleader Chick Corea continued to push the boundaries of the genre beginning in the 1960s during a prolific and highly collaborative career which saw him pick up over 20 Grammy Awards. Born in Chelsea, MA in 1941, Corea was encouraged to master his instrument of choice from a young age by his jazz trumpeter father but first began performing as a percussionist in a drum and bugle corps band while at high school. After moving to New York, where he briefly studied at both Columbia University and the Juilliard School, Corea landed his first professional gig as a sideman for Cab Calloway and soon went onto develop his talents by playing with the groups of Blue Mitchell, Herbie Mann and Mongo Santamaria. In 1966, Corea released his first album as a leader, Tones For Joan's Bones, before recording the seminal Now He Sings, Now He Sobs with drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Miroslav Vitous two years later. Following a short stint with Sarah Vaughn, he joined Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet where he began to embrace a more avant-garde style on landmark albums such as In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew and experiment with the electric piano on Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West and Miles Davis at Fillmore. While in 1970, he formed acoustic jazz ensemble Circle, recording several albums that would only be released through Blue Note several years later. Corea then reinvented his sound again in 1971 when he founded Return To Forever, an ever-changing Latin-flavored collective who then transformed into a high-powered fusion band, who he recorded arguably his most famous piece ("Spain") and picked up his first Grammy (No Mystery) with. Following their split and the release of Spanish Heart, a critically-acclaimed solo effort featuring his vocalist wife Gayle Moran, Corea focused on various collaborative efforts with the likes of vibraphonist Gary Burton, composer Nicolas Economou and the Miles Davis Group member he replaced, Herbie Hancock, before forming both the Chick Corea Elektric Band and its acoustic alternative in the mid-80s. After creating his own label, Stretch Records, in 1992, Corea continued to lead various groups, including an all-star quintet that played contemporary versions of Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell classics, recorded joint efforts with vocalist Bobby McFerrin and banjo maestro Bela Fleck and pursued his classical music ambitions by composing pieces with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orion String Quartet. In 2008, he embarked on a world tour with the reformed Return To Forever, worked with Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara on the live album, Duet, and released a third Grammy-winning album with Gary Burton (The New Crystal Silence). While after teaming up with former bandmate John McLaughlin for a tour and LP under the guise of 5 Peace Band, Corea combined both his acoustic and electric leanings in new group, The Vigil, in 2013.