Chick Corea has been one of the most significant jazzmen since the ’60s.
He was one of the top stylists to emerge after Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner.
Corea has composed several jazz standards, including “Spain,” “La Fiesta,” and “Windows.”
He began playing piano when he was four and, early on, Horace Silver and Bud Powell were influences.
He made his recording debut as a leader with 1966’s “Tones for Joan’s Bones”.
His 1968 trio release (with Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes) “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs” is considered a classic.
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.
Corea 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 pace-setting and high-powered fusion band.
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, he formed his Akoustic Trio with Patitucci and Weckl a few years later.
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 began 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. That same year, Corea released Super Trio with drummer Steve Gadd and bassist Christian McBride.
In the spring of 2007, Corea released an unlikely but ultimately satisfying duet album with banjo master Béla Fleck entitled The Enchantment on Concord.
The same year, Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton released their fourth offering together, entitled The New Crystal Silence.
The year 2008 was a busy one for Corea. He and John McLaughlin got together for the first time since they both played on Miles Davis’ seminal Bitches Brew album.
They pulled together a band with saxophonist Kenny Garrett, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and bassist Christian McBride for the recording Five Peace Band: Live.
In 2012, Corea was busy from the start. He delivered a trio recording on Concord in January entitled Further Explorations; his sidemen were Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian (both members of various Evans ensembles). Corea: The Continents Concerto for Jazz Quintet and Chamber Orchestra was issued by Deutsche Grammophone in February.
In September, another duet recording with Burton, Hot House, was released by Concord.
In the summer of 2013, Corea debuted his new electric band with the album The Vigil.
The expansive three-disc Trilogy was recorded live at stops all over the world and, with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade, appeared in 2014.
The pianist then reunited with longtime friend Béla Fleck for the 2015 duet album, Two, which was compiled from over seven years of their live performances together.
The following year, Corea celebrated his 75th birthday with a six-week stint of shows at the Blue Note in New York city.
The performances were released in 2017 as part of The Musician album and documentary project.
Also in 2017, he joined longtime associate drummer Steve Gadd for Chinese Butterfly,