Chick Corea, the renowned jazz composer, bandleader and keyboardist, has passed away at the age of 79. Corea’s death on February 9th, 2021 was confirmed in a post on his official social media pages on Thursday. As the post explains, Corea died after “very recently” having been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
The death announcement post includes a note from Corea himself to his fans and loved ones. It reads:
I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.
And to my amazing musician friends who have been like family to me as long as I’ve known you: It has been a blessing and an honor learning from and playing with all of you. My mission has always been to bring the joy of creating anywhere I could, and to have done so with all the artists that I admire so dearly—this has been the richness of my life.
Chick Corea was widely considered to be one of the most influential jazz musicians of the second half of the 20th century. He helped pioneer the concept of “jazz fusion” as a member of Miles Davis‘s band in the late 1960s and early 1970s. From there, he formed Return to Forever, a foundational group in the jazz fusion pantheon.
A lauded composer, Corea wrote several pieces that have come to be considered “jazz standards,” from “500 Miles High” to “Spain”, “Armando’s Rhumba” to “La Fiesta” and beyond. An intrepid improviser, he could move and react and fall in with any player, bringing out the best in them in the process. A creator of countless groups and assorted collaborations, he continued to record and tour throughout the ensuing decades and up until the pandemic brought live events to a halt.
Among the most decorated recording artists of his time, he won twenty-three Grammy Awards and was nominated more than sixty total times.
Rest easy, Chick, and thank you.
Return to Forever – Live, 1973
Chick Corea and his Vigilette Trio – Jazz Night In America
[Video: Jazz Night in America]
Chick Corea – “500 Miles High” – Rochester Jazz Festival 2016
[Video: The Public]
Chick Corea & Gary Burton – NPR Tiny Desk Concert
[Video: NPR Music]
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