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Legendary jazz keyboardist and composer Chick Corea passed away Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at 79. Members of his team reported his death Thursday on social media. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that was discovered recently.
Corea was born June 12, 1941, as Armando Anthony Corea in Chelsea, Mass. His father, also named Armonda, was a trumpet player who led a Dixieland band. He named one of his compositions called ‘Armando’s Rhumba’ after his father.
Corea and his melodic, rhythmic music style have been a staple in jazz music for over 50-years. The National Endowment for the Arts in 2006 named him a Jazz Master. With 23 Grammys under his belt, he was also nominated 67 times for this prestigious award.
In the late 60s, Corea joined the Miles Davis band that pumped out elements of funk and psychedelic rock. He accompanied Davis on electric piano on albums like In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Miles Davis at the Fillmore.
He often played alongside some of the most gifted pianists of his time, Herbie Handcock, Keith Jarrett, and Joe Zawinul, to name a few. The jazz icon helped to define a new style of music in tune with the Aquarian Age.
Corea formed his own band Return to Forever with all-star legendary bassist Stanley Clarke. The band found commercial success when guitarist Al Di Meola and drummer Lenny White were added to the mix. His band Return to Forever reunited in 2011 and performed theaters and festivals more suited for legacy rock acts.
Corea was well known for his famous compositions ‘Spain’ and ‘500 Miles High’. He released over 100 albums, and in 2018, on Jazz Night in America, Corea expressed the role of musicians by saying:
We have a mission to go out there and be an antidote to war, and all of the dark side of what happens on Planet Earth. We’re the ones that go in and remind people about their creativity.
Written by Omari Jahi
NPR: Chick Corea, Jazz Fusion Pioneer, Has Died Of Cancer At 79, ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS
Fox News: Chick Corea, legendary jazz keyboardist, dead at 79, Andy Sahadeo
Daily News: Chick Corea, jazz keyboard giant, dies at 79, TIM BALK
Featured Image by Ice Boy Tell Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of John Wisniewski’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License