Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea. Marciac, France, July 30, 2019
I had the fabulous good fortune to see Chick Correa three times over the years -- in concert with pianist Herbie Hancock, vibraphonist Gary Burton, and banjoist, Béla Fleck.
Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea (June 12, 1941 – February 9, 2021) was an American jazz composer, keyboardist, bandleader, and occasional percussionist. His compositions "Spain", "500 Miles High", "La Fiesta", "Armando's Rhumba" and "Windows" are widely considered jazz standards. As a member of Miles Davis's band in the late 1960s, he participated in the birth of jazz fusion. In the 1970s he formed Return to Forever.
Along with Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, he is considered one of the major piano players to have emerged in jazz during the post-John Coltrane era. (The only one of these greats that I haven't seen is Bill Evans -- *if wishes were horses!*)
Corea continued to pursue multiple collaborations and to explore different musical styles throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Corea won 23 Grammy Awards and was nominated over 60 times.
Wynton Marsalis' heartfelt tribute:
Chick in Marciac 2019 at 3 am, after playing his own 1-1/2 hour set and sitting through our 1-1/2, agrees to come up on our bandstand for the encore, says he would rather accompany than solo, plays the hell out of a tune he doesn’t know, interacts with that deep intelligence and empathy, comes off-stage and recalls every tune of our set commenting on what he liked most, lavished praise on all of our young musician’s solos, excitedly compliments pianist Isaiah Thompson, talks about the nightly greatness of inventive and poetic trumpeter Mike Rodriguez who played with him on tour, talks about the concerto he is going to write for otherworldly trombonist Joe Alessi of the NY Philharmonic, and concludes with saying, “Man, is it actually 4am? I’ll see you in New York.”
He was one of a kind. Master, student, teacher, fan, advocate and lifelong leading citizen in the world of music. Prehistoric instincts, super quick reflexes and deep knowledge meets an unquenchable thirst to know, to experience the present and to embrace change. He left an uncommonly deep canon of diverse and high quality music. There will be a lot of framing commentary as befits the passing of a great creative and socially engaged artist. If you wish to know him better, please listen to more of his beautiful music that you have not heard.
In New Orleans fashion, mourn his death by celebrating his life. Kareem Abdul Jabbar said it best in concluding our conversation late last night, “The echo will be strong.” As it should be.
Send your deepest prayers, condolences and love to Gayle - they were peanut butter and jelly—Vegan of course.
“Windows” is among his earliest compositions to have achieved jazz standard status. This beautiful jazz waltz originally appeared on Stan Getz’s 1967 album Sweet Rain and has been performed and recorded by several artists since then. Corea recorded his own version in 1968 for his own stellar album as a leader, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs. This version was recorded in a trio setting alongside bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes.