Chick Corea, Jazz Keyboardist and Innovator, Dies at 79


Also in 1972, Mr. Corea first teamed up with vibraphonist Gary Burton to record another album for the same label, “Crystal Silence”. The two became long-term friends and collaborators. Taken together, the two ECM albums represented almost the entire breadth of Mr. Corea’s identity as a musician – from relaxed and meditative to piquant and driving.

“We set this record in three hours. Every song but one was a first shot, ”Burton said in an interview, recalling the“ Crystal Silence ”sessions. They recorded seven duo albums and continued to play together until Mr. Burton recently retired.

“I kept thinking, ‘I’m sure the steam will run out here at some point,'” said Mr. Burton. “And it never did. Even in the end, we’d still come off the stage excited and excited about what we were doing. “

Return to Forever changed staff frequently, but the most consistent line-up consisted of Mr. Corea, Mr. Clarke, guitarist Al Di Meola, and drummer Lenny White. This quartet iteration released a number of popular albums – “Where Have I Known You Before” (1974), “No Mystery” (1975), and “Romantic Warrior” (1976) – which grew into a blazing hard rock-influenced style and everyone reached the top 40 on the Billboard albums chart.

Mr. Corea himself released a number of other influential fusion albums, including “My Spanish Heart” (1976) and a number of recordings with his Elektric Band and his Acoustic Band. Later in his career he also delved deeply into the Western classical tradition, recording works by canonical composers such as Mozart and Chopin, and composing an entire concerto for classical orchestra.

“His versatility is unmatched when it comes to the jazz world,” said Burton. “He’s played in so many styles, environments and collaborations.”

In 1997, Mr. Corea addressed the Berklee College of Music and challenged senior class members to insist on finding their own way. “It’s okay to be yourself,” he said. “The more you are, the more money you make.”

Alex Traub contributed to the coverage.



Robert Dunfee