American jazz composer, keyboardist and bandleader Chick Corea passed away on Tuesday, according to a post on his Facebook page. He was 79 years old. The Facebook statement says Corea died from “a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently.”
Corea was the fourth-most-nominated artist in the history of the Grammys, with 65 nominations, winning 23 times. He also earned 3 Latin Grammy Awards, the most of any artist in the Best Instrumental Album category.
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 had an astonishing number of musical bases in his illustrious career.
His compositions “Spain,” “500 Miles High,” “La Fiesta,” “Armando’s Rhumba” and “Windows” are jazz standards. He was a member of Miles Davis’s band in the late 1960s, participating in the birth of jazz fusion. Corea played on several classic Miles Davis albums, including “Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West” and “Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East.”
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In the 1970s Corea formed Return to Forever, one of the core groups of the jazz-fusion movement. Along with Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett, and Bill Evans, he is considered one of the major piano voices to emerge in jazz during the post-John Coltrane era.
Corea continued to pursue multiple collaborations and to explore different musical styles throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He was also known for promoting and fundraising for a number of social issues.
His music was featured in Fernando Meirelles’ 2019 The Two Popes for Netflix.
In the 2012 doc Return to Forever: Inside the Music, which Corea exec-produced, Corea brought together a union of jazz/rock’s founding fathers.
Here is the entire post from his Facebook page:
It is with great sadness we announce that on February 9th, Chick Corea passed away at the age of 79, from a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently.
Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do.
He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.
Though he would be the first to say that his music said more than words ever could, he nevertheless had this message for all those he knew and loved, and for all those who loved him:
“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’s family will of course appreciate their privacy during this difficult time of loss.
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