Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea (b. 1941) is a multiple Grammy Award winning American jazz pianist, keyboardist, drummer, and composer. He is known for his work during the 1970s in the genre of jazz fusion. He participated in the birth of the electric fusion movement as a member of Miles Davis’ band in the 1960s, and in the 1970s formed Return to Forever. He continued to pursue other collaborations and explore various musical styles throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
He began studying piano at age four. Early on in his development, he got to perform with jazz greats such as Cab Calloway, Mongo Santamaria, Herbie Mann and Stan Getz, Donald Byrd, and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. In the fall of 1968, Chick replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ band. He played Fender Rhodes electric piano on Miles’ important and transitional recording Filles de Kilimanjaro, which pointed to a fresh new direction in jazz. Between 1968 and 1970, Corea also appeared on such groundbreaking Davis recordings as In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Live-Evil and Live at the Fillmore East.
Toward the end of 1971, Chick formed his first edition of Return To Forever. Their album Light As A Feather (Polydor) is now considered a classic, featuring Chick’s best known composition, Spain.
Despite several personal changes the band moved quickly to the forefront of the jazz-rock fusion movement, recording extensively throughout the 1970s.
During the 1980ies he collaborated with numerous artists such as Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Paco de Lucia and his former RTF bandmates Al Di Meola, Lenny White and Stanley Clarke, Chaka Khan, but also with renowned classical pianist Friedrich Gulda. Through the remainder of the ‘80s and into the early ‘90s, Corea returned to the fusion arena with his Elektric Band. To balance out his forays into electric music, Chick also formed his Akoustic Band, a highly interactive trio with Elektric Band members.
By 1992, Corea had realized a lifelong goal in forming Stretch Records, a label committed to stretching musical boundaries. In 1997, Chick released a recording with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Bobby McFerrin as conductor. Their second collaboration, entitled The Mozart Sessions (Sony Classical) followed on the heels of their first duet Grammy Award winning recording, 1991’s Play (Blue Note).
Chick ushered in the new millennium with 2000’s Corea Concerto (Sony Classical), a grand encounter with the London Philharmonic Orchestra which featured a new symphonic arrangement of Spain as well as the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 1. In 2004, Chick reunited his high- powered Elektric Band for a tour and subsequent recording based on L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction novel To The Stars. And in 2005, he returned to Hubbard for musical inspiration, this time interpreting The Ultimate Adventure.
Probably the only piece for two pianos written by Chick Corea for classically trained pianists.