Chick Corea

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Chick Corea, 2018

Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea (born June 12, 1941 in Chelsea , Massachusetts , † February 9, 2021 in Tampa , Florida ) was an American musician . He was one of the most important contemporary jazz - pianist and - composer and also was one of the founding fathers of jazz-rock . He won 23 Grammy Awards and was nominated for 67.

life and work

Early Years (1941–1971)

Chick Corea was in town Chelsea on June 12, 1941 US Treasury born Massachusetts. With his father, a band leader , he learned to play the piano at the age of four, mainly from classical composers. He also discovered jazz, especially soul jazz , at an early age . In addition to the jazz musicians Horace Silver and Bud Powell, he named classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven as his greatest influences at this time . He made his first major appearances with Cab Calloway , Mongo Santamaría and Willie Bobo . After some recordings for other musicians, Chick recorded his first solo album Tones for Joan's Bones in 1966 . Two years later he recorded his second album Now He Sings, Now He Sobs with Miroslav Vitouš and Roy Haynes . This second record, often referred to as a classic, made Corea known in the jazz world.

In the same year, 1968, Chick Corea replaced Herbie Hancock in the band of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and recorded with him the album Filles de Kilimanjaro . In the following years he also played on his albums In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew as well as on the live recordings of Live Evil and Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West .

In 1970 Corea left Miles Davis' band with bassist Dave Holland to form a quartet with drummer Barry Altschul and saxophonist Anthony Braxton . With this group, Chick recorded three albums.

With Return to Forever (1971–1978)

See also: Return to Forever

Return to Forever performing in New York in 1976

In 1971 Corea founded the group Return to Forever together with bassist Stanley Clarke , saxophonist Joe Farrell , drummer Airto Moreira and his wife, singer Flora Purim . In 1972 this fusion formation recorded their debut album of the same name.

In the same year Corea, Clarke, Farrell and drummer Tony Williams recorded the album Captain Marvel with the influential saxophonist Stan Getz . In September of that year, Return to Forever recorded their second studio album called Light as a Feather , which also featured one of Chick Corea's most famous compositions: Spain .

With a new line-up, further recordings with the Fusion formation followed, including guitarist Bill Connors and drummer Lenny White . In 1975 the album No Mystery , which won a Grammy, was recorded.

At the same time, Chick Corea recorded two solo albums: The Leprechaun and My Spanish Heart . Shortly afterwards, he met his future wife, Gayle Moran , when she was hired as a singer for Return to Forever .

Solo projects (1978–1986)

After Return to Forever broke up , Corea first went on a tour with Herbie Hancock, on which the two duets played on the classical piano. This was followed by the joint album Corea / Hancock and the live recording of a concert in 1980 (An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea) .

In addition, Corea recorded the solo albums The Mad Hatter , Friends and Secret Agent in 1978 with various greats of jazz.

In 1981 the album Three Quartets followed , which was recorded with Michael Brecker , among others . Later that year he toured with saxophonist Joe Henderson , bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Roy Haynes.

In the same year there was a reunion with bassist Miroslav Vitouš, with whom he had recorded Now He Sings, Now He Sobs thirteen years earlier . Together with Haynes they recorded the album Trio Music .

In 1982 Corea was part of the R&B band Echoes of an Era , alongside fellow Return to Forever colleagues Stanley Clarke and Lenny White.

The Elektric Band performing in New York City with Chick Corea on keytar and Victor Wooten on bass

Elektric Band and Stretch Records (1986-2006)

Together with Dave Weckl and John Patitucci as well as the guitarists Scott Henderson and Carlos Rios, Corea founded the fusion formation Elektric Band in the mid-1980s for the debut album of the same name, which was released in 1986. After a line-up with guitarist Frank Gambale and saxophonist Eric Marienthal , the group released four albums with a constant line-up between 1987 and 1991. In 1993 the album Paint the World followed with some new musicians under the name Elektric Band II .

In addition to the Elektric Band, Corea formed the Akoustic Band with his two band colleagues Patitucci and Weckl, which consisted exclusively of acoustic instruments. The trio recorded two albums.

In 1992 Corea founded the Stretch Records label , which did not choose its artists by genre , but by creativity. The label released albums by John Patitucci, Bob Berg , Eddie Gomez and Robben Ford, among others . After the contract with his old label, GRP Records , expired, he released his following albums on his own label, which had recently merged with Concord Records .

In the period up to 1998, other collaborations followed, for example with Roy Haynes or Bobby McFerrin .

In 2000 Corea recorded the album corea.concerto together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which features a three-movement orchestral version of Spain and Corea's first piano concerto.

After reuniting his Elektric Band in 2004 , he recorded a new album (To the Stars) with them, for which he took inspiration from author L. Ron Hubbard . Corea received two Grammys for the interpretation of The Ultimate Adventure by the same author .

New directions (2006-2008)

In 2006 Chick Corea premiered his second piano concerto The Continents in a performance with the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra on the occasion of the Mozart Year at the Vienna State Opera. As part of this, he performed WA Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24.

Shortly afterwards he released the record Super Trio: Corea / Gadd / McBride together with Steve Gadd and Christian McBride . The album, which was only released in Japan, was named Jazz Album of the Year by Japan's Swing Journal and achieved gold status.

In December of that year Corea recorded the album The Enchantment together with banjo player Béla Fleck . The two already knew each other from previous recordings such as Béla Fleck's Tales From The Acoustic Planet . Chick said of the album that it made him venture into uncharted territories.

Return to jazz rock (2008-2021)

Five Peace Band ( Vienna 2008)

After some new experiences with artists like Gary Burton or Antonio Sánchez , Chick Corea returned to the fusion. In 2008 he went on a world tour with Return to Forever .

After this tour he founded the Five Peace Band with John McLaughlin . With this formation he played several concerts and recorded the live album Five Peace Band Live , for which Corea won his 16th Grammy.

After a tour with Christian McBride and Brian Blade through the USA and Japan , Corea joined the RTF IV (Return to Forever IV) project , which included the violinist Jean-Luc Ponty on guitar in addition to Frank Gambale. Then he led a band with Steve Gadd , in which Lionel Loueke , Luisito Quintero , Steve Wilson and Carlitos del Puerto were active. Starting with flamenco jazz , he founded his Spanish Heart Band in 2018 , with which the album Antidote , which won a 2020 Grammy , was created.


Corea died of a rare cancer in February 2021 at the age of 79. The disease was diagnosed shortly before his death.

Connection to Scientology

Corea was a member of the new Scientology religious movement . In all releases since his album To The Stars , which was inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard , this can always be found among the acknowledgments. Chick Corea can be heard on three songs from Hubbard's album Space Jazz: The Soundtrack of the Book Battlefield Earth , which was released in 1982. In an interview with the All About Jazz e-zine , he said of Hubbard:

"Hubbard was a great artist himself. One way to learn about Scientology is to know who Ron Hubbard was. He was a great man. "

“Hubbard was a great artist himself. One way to learn about Scientology is to know who Ron Hubbard was. He was a great person. "

- Chick Corea

In 1993 Corea was excluded by the organizer from a concert that was to take place in the course of the World Athletics Championships in Stuttgart . The reason for this was that the state government of Baden-Württemberg wanted to cancel the subsidies for the event, which was justified with Corea's Scientology membership. Corea brought an action at the Mannheim Administrative Court against statements by the state government that it wanted to review the funding of events at which professing Scientologists appear. The lawsuit was dismissed.

Chick Corea lived in Clearwater (Florida) from 1997 , where the spiritual center of the Church of Scientology is located. There he maintained a studio with classrooms for workshops on Cleveland Street.

Discography (selection)

Chick Corea ( Deauville 1992)
Corea performing with Béla Fleck on March 1st, 2008
  • Solo albums
  • With Return to Forever
    • 1972: Return to Forever
    • 1972: Light As A Feather
    • 1973: Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
    • 1974: Where Have I Known You Before
    • 1975: No Mystery
    • 1976: Romantic Warrior
    • 1977: Music Magic
    • 1977: Return to Forever: Live
    • 2008: The Anthology
    • 2012: The Mothership Returns
  • With Sadao Watanabe
    • 1974: Round Trip
  • With Herbie Hancock
    • 1978: An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea: In Concert
    • 1979: Corea / Hancock
  • With Gary Burton
  • With the Elektric Band
    • 1986: Chick Corea Elektric Band
    • 1987: Light Years
    • 1988: Eye of the Beholder
    • 1990: Inside Out
    • 1991: Beneath the Mask
    • 1993: Elektric Volume II: Paint the World
    • 2004: To The Stars
  • With the Akoustic Band
    • 1989: Chick Corea Akoustic Band
  • With Origin
    • 1999: Change


From 1973 to 2020, Chick Corea was nominated 67 times for a Grammy Award and won 23 awards:

year grammy Album / song
1976 Best jazz performance in a group No Mystery (with Return to Forever )
1977 Best instrumental arrangement Leprechaun's Dream , The Leprechaun
1977 Best jazz performance in a group The Leprechaun
1979 Best jazz performance in a group Friends
1980 Best jazz performance in a group Duet (with Gary Burton )
1982 Best jazz performance in a group In Concert, Zurich, October 28, 1979 (with Gary Burton )
1989 Best instrumental performance - R&B Light Years , GRP Super Live In Concert (with Chick Corea Elektric Band )
1990 Best jazz performance in a group Akoustic Band (with Akoustic Band )
1999 Best jazz instrumental performance, solo artist or group Rhumbata , Native Sense (with Gary Burton )
2000 Best jazz instrumental performance, solo artist or group Like Minds (with Gary Burton , Pat Metheny , Roy Haynes and Dave Holland )
2001 Best instrumental arrangement Spain for Sextet & Orchestra , Corea.Concerto
2004 Best jazz instrumental solo matrix
2007 Best jazz instrumental album, individual artist or group The Ultimate Adventure
2007 Best instrumental arrangement Three ghouls
2009 Best jazz instrument album, individual artist or group The New Crystal Silence (with Gary Burton)
2010 Best jazz instrumental album, individual artist or group Five Peace Band Live (with the Five Peace Band)
2012 Best solo jazz improvisation 500 miles high
2012 Best jazz instrumental album Forever
2013 Best solo jazz improvisation Hot house
2013 Best instrumental composition Mozart Goes Dancing
2015 Best solo jazz improvisation Fingerprints (with the Chick Corea Trio)
2015 Best jazz instrumental album Trilogy (Chick Corea Trio)
2020 Best Latin Jazz Album Antidote (Chick Corea and the Spanish Heart Band)

His 1968 album Now He Sings, Now He Sobs was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 .

Web links

Commons : Chick Corea  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Chick Corea is dead. Die Zeit, February 11, 2021, accessed on February 12, 2021 .
  2. biography at NEA. Retrieved June 19, 2016 .
  3. a b c biography at Retrieved October 6, 2010 .
  4. a b Chick Corea in the Grammy Database, accessed February 12, 2021
  5. Chick Corea Bio. The Early Years. Retrieved June 19, 2016 .
  6. Chick Corea Bio. Return to Forever. Retrieved June 19, 2016 .
  7. Chick Corea Bio. Playing with friends. Retrieved June 19, 2016 .
  8. a b Chick Corea Bio. Going Electric. Retrieved June 19, 2016 .
  9. a b c Chick Corea Bio. New Directions: 2000-2012. Retrieved June 19, 2016 .
  10. Ray Roa: Clearwater resident and jazz giant Chick Corea dead at 79. In: . February 11, 2021, accessed February 11, 2021.
  11. ^ A b Werner Bloch: Chick Corea: Scientology witness against Germany. An embarrassing appearance in Berlin: Chick Corea's concert in the name of Scientology. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. January 23, 1999, archived from the original on November 16, 2018 ; accessed on February 12, 2021 .
  12. Biography of L. Ron Hubbard. Archived from the original on August 12, 2010 ; accessed on October 6, 2010 (English).
  13. ^ Ty Cumbie: Chick Corea. Interview with Chick Corea. All About Jazz, October 30, 2004, accessed October 6, 2010 .
  14. VGH Baden-Württemberg, judgment of October 15, 1996, Az. 10 S 176/96
  15. Jay Cridlin, For Chick Corea, Clearwater is home, creatively and spiritually , in: Tampa Bay Times (online)
  16. ^ Website of the Chick Corea Studio