Chick Corea

Keyboardist, composer, and bandleader Chick Corea is a DownBeat Hall of Famer and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. He is the fourth-most nominated artist in Grammy history with sixty-three nods and twenty-two wins, in addition to a number of Latin Grammys. From straight-ahead jazz to avant-garde, bebop to jazz-rock fusion, children’s songs to chamber and symphonic works, Mr. Corea has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his career since playing with Miles Davis’s genre-shattering bands of in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Born in 1941 in Massachusetts, Mr. Corea has continually reinvented himself through his art, whether playing acoustic piano or electric keyboards, leading multiple bands, or performing solo or collaborating with a who’s who of music. He has been named Artist of the Year three times this decade in the DownBeat Readers Poll.

Mr. Corea’s albums as leader or co-leader include Now He Sings, Now He Sobs; Paris Concert; Return to Forever; Crystal Silence; My Spanish HeartRemembering Bud Powell; and Further Explorations. A venturesome collaborator, he has teamed with artists including vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, pianist Stefano Bollani, banjoist Béla Fleck, and vocalist and conductor Bobby McFerrin. His duo partnerships with Gary Burton and Herbie Hancock have endured decades. Recently, he reunited with Mr. Hancock for their first world tour as a duo since 1978, playing in leading venues worldwide. Mr. Corea made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1995, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with Bobby McFerrin.

In 2008, Mr. Corea reconvened his jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever (founded in 1972) for a sold-out international tour and live album. In 2011, Return to Forever toured the world, yielding the live CD/DVD The Mothership Returns. Mr. Corea received the Richard J. Bogomolny Award from Chamber Music America in 2010. He broke new ground as a composer with The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet and Chamber Orchestra, recorded and released in 2013 by the Deutsche Grammophon label.

Mr. Corea recorded his first solo piano album in 1971; he released Solo Piano: Portraits in 2014.

That year also saw the release of Trilogy, a live triple-disc set with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade. The album won two Grammys and documented the trio’s interpretations of Mr. Corea’s compositions and unreleased material, in addition to an array of jazz standards and a piece by Scriabin. His 2018 album, Chinese Butterfly, was the culmination of fifty years of musical kinship with drummer Steve Gadd. Mr. Corea’s latest project, the Spanish Heart Band, celebrates his lifelong love of Latin music. The Spanish Heart Band’s new album Antidote was released in 2019 on Concord Records. 

(November 2019)