Chick Corea Biography

Armando Anthony Corea, 12 June 1941, Chelsea, Massachusetts, USA. After a very musical home environment, pianist Corea’s first notable professional engagements were in the Latin bands of Mongo Santamaría and Willie Bobo (1962-63), playing a style of music that continues to influence him today. Joining Blue Mitchell’s band in 1964, he spent two years with the trumpeter, and had a chance to record some of his own compositions for Blue Note Records. Corea’s first recordings appeared in 1966 with Tones For Joan’s Bones, and show a pianist influenced mainly by hard-bop. In 1968, he joined Miles Davis for the trumpeter’s first real experiments with fusion. Playing on some of Davis’ most important albums, Corea’s electric piano became integral to the new sound.

Leaving Davis in 1970 to explore free music within an acoustic setting, he formed Circle with bass player Dave Holland, drummer Barry Altschul, and later Anthony Braxton. Although Circle lasted only a year, it managed to make some important recordings before Corea, now involved in Scientology, became interested in a style with more widespread appeal. Forming the first of three bands called Return To Forever in 1971, Corea played a Latin-influenced fusion featuring the vocalist Flora Purim and percussionist Airto Moreira, before he changed the band’s line-up to produce a more rock-orientated sound in the mid-70s. The final Return To Forever hinted at classical music with string and brass groups, but disbanded in 1980 after only moderate success.

After playing with numerous top musicians in the early 80s (including Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker), Corea concentrated on his Akoustic and Elektric Bands on recordings for GRP Records. Joined by John Patitucci (bass) and Dave Weckl (drums), he continues to create music that challenges the extremes of virtuosity, mixing passages of complex arrangement with solos in the fusion style.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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