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Chick Corea(Profile/Biography)

United States
C Taylor Crothers
The 17-time GRAMMY® winner, NEA Jazz Master, prolific composer and undisputed keyboard virtuoso, Chick Corea, at age 70, has attained living legend status after five decades of unparalleled creativity and an artistic output that is simply staggering.

From straight ahead to avant-garde, bebop to fusion, children’s songs to chamber music, along with some far-reaching forays into symphonic works, Corea has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his illustrious career while maintaining a standard of excellence that is awe-inspiring. A tirelessly creative spirit, Corea continues to forge ahead, continually reinventing himself in the process.

Corea began his career with apprenticeships with the likes of Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis’s band, where he participated in such landmark sessions as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Since embarking on a solo career in 1966, Corea has been at the forefront of jazz, building a discography that boasts numerous essential albums, beginning with his 1968 classic, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs.

The year 1972 saw the inception of Return to Forever, Corea’s hugely influential electric outfit. After two acclaimed Brazilian-flavored albums, the classic quartet edition of RTF released a series of electric albums that demonstrated an unheard-of power and virtuosity. The band filled arenas worldwide, bringing jazz to a new and younger audience.

In the following decades Corea explored next-level plugged-in jazz with his Elektric Band, stunningly masterful straight-ahead with the Akoustic Band, and numerous, explorative trios, duets and solo projects. Corea’s longstanding interest in classical music also began to take root, with a legendary collaboration on Mozart with Keith Jarrett, and the debut of his first piano concerto.

Corea continues to make a significant impact across the spectrum of jazz, as evidenced by 2007’s GRAMMY®-winning The Enchantment (duets with banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck), 2008’s The New Crystal Silence (duets with longstanding collaborator Gary Burton), 2009’s Returns (documenting Return to Forever’s 2008 reunion tour) and 2009’s GRAMMY®-winning Five Peace Band Live (with John McLaughlin, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett and Vinnie Colaiuta).

In 2010, Corea again set the standard for creative diversity and sheer energy. The year began with his two-week-long tribute to Bill Evans at the Blue Note in New York featuring former Evans sidemen Eddie Gomez on bass and Paul Motian on drums. He then toured the US and Europe with his Freedom Band (Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, Roy Haynes), reunited for a tour with his Now He Sings, Now He Sobs trio (Miroslav Vitous, Roy Haynes) and closed out the year touring in a critically-lauded trio with bassist McBride and drummer Brian Blade.

In 2011, Corea, along with bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White, released Forever and ushered in one the most eagerly anticipated events of the year when they hit the road on a worldwide tour with Return to Forever IV. Corea closed out the year with a month-long residency at the Blue Note in New York City, celebrating his 70th birthday with legendary friends and collaborators including Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and Bobby McFerrin. In January 2012, Corea led original Bill Evans alumni – bassist Eddie Gomez and the late drummer Paul Motian – on Further Explorations, a two-CD live set. April will see the release of Hot House, the latest collaboration of the Grammy-winning Chick Corea & Gary Burton duo. Corea & Burton will tour extensively in spring 2012 and later in the year with the Harlem String Quartet.
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