When Armando “Chick” Corea died on February 9 of this year, four months shy of his 80th birthday, the world lost a legend as well as a highly creative spirit.
I didn’t like any of Corea’s fusion recordings, but then again I detest most fusion no matter who is playing it. I loved his early piano trio recordings, his first two (acoustic) albums by his group Return to Forever, the video of him improvising music out of a few notes and gestures with the late Friedrich Gulda, and a few other albums. Chief among them, for me, was the remarkable album in which he and Gary Burton took part in a classical-jazz multi-movement piece titled simply “Septet.” I wrote about this in my book, From Baroque to Bop and Beyond, and I still think it one of the finest pieces of its time and genre.
But I’m going to write a lengthy piece about Chick because everyone else has already done so. I would, however, like to pass along this wry, witty list of advice that he gave to improvising musicians working in a group situation because, aside from being humorous, it’s also very, very true:
Goodbye, Chick, Rest in peace.
—© 2021 Lynn René Bayley
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