Chick Corea In-depth Biography
Chick Corea} has been one of the most significant jazzmen since the '60s. Not content at any time to rest on his laurels, Corea} has been involved in quite a few important musical projects, and his musical curiosity has never dimmed. A masterful pianist who, along with Herbie Hancock} and Keith Jarrett}, was one of the top stylists to emerge after Bill Evans} and McCoy Tyner}, Corea} is also one of the few electric keyboardists to be quite individual and recognizable on synthesizers. In addition, he has composed several jazz standards}, including "Spain,"} "La Fiesta,"} and "Windows."}
Corea} began playing piano when he was four and, early on, Horace Silver} and Bud Powell} were influences. He picked up important experience playing with the bands of Mongo Santamaria} and Willie Bobo} (1962-1963), Blue Mitchell} (1964-1966), Herbie Mann}, and Stan Getz}. He made his recording debut as a leader with 1966's Tones for Joan's Bones}, and his 1968 trio set (with Miroslav Vitous} and Roy Haynes}) Now He Sings, Now He Sobs} is considered a classic. After a short stint with Sarah Vaughan}, Corea} joined Miles Davis} as Herbie Hancock}'s gradual replacement, staying with Davis} during a very important transitional period (1968-1970). He was persuaded by the trumpeter to start playing electric piano, and was on such significant albums as Filles de Kilimanjaro}, In a Silent Way}, Bitches Brew}, and Miles Davis at the Fillmore}. When he left Davis}, Corea} at first chose to play avant-garde} acoustic jazz} in Circle}, a quartet with Anthony Braxton}, Dave Holland}, and Barry Altschul}. But at the end of 1971, he changed directions again.
Leaving Circle}, Corea} played briefly with Stan Getz} and then formed Return to Forever}, which started out as a melodic Brazilian} group with Stanley Clarke}, Joe Farrell}, Airto}, and Flora Purim}. Within a year, Corea} (with Clarke}, Bill Connors}, and Lenny White}) had changed Return to Forever} into a pacesetting and high-powered fusion} band; Al DiMeola} took Connors}' place in 1974. While the music was rock}-oriented, it still retained the improvisations} of jazz}, and Corea} remained quite recognizable, even under the barrage of electronics. When RTF} broke up in the late '70s, Corea} retained the name for some big band} dates with Clarke}. During the next few years, he generally emphasized his acoustic playing and appeared in a wide variety of contexts; including separate duet tours with Gary Burton} and Herbie Hancock}, a quartet with Michael Brecker}, trios with Miroslav Vitous} and Roy Haynes}, tributes} to Thelonious Monk}, and even some classical} music.
In 1985, Chick Corea} formed a new fusion} group, the Elektric Band}, which eventually featured bassist John Patitucci}, guitarist Frank Gambale}, saxophonist Eric Marienthal}, and drummer Dave Weckl}. To balance out his music, a few years later he formed his Akoustic Trio} with Patitucci} and Weckl}. When Patitucci} went out on his own in the early '90s, the personnel changed, but Corea} continued leading stimulating groups (including a quartet with Patitucci} and Bob Berg}). During 1996-1997, Corea} toured with an all-star quintet (including Kenny Garrett} and Wallace Roney}) that played modern versions of Bud Powell} and Thelonious Monk} compositions. He remains an important force in modern jazz}, and every phase of his development has been well-documented on records.
Corea} started out the 21st century by releasing a pair of solo piano records, Solo Piano: Originals} and Solo Piano: Standards}, in 2000, followed by Past, Present & Futures} in 2001. Rendezvous in New York} appeared in 2003, followed by To the Stars} in 2004. The Ultimate Adventure} was released in 2006. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide