Chick Corea is now one of the grand old men of American jazz. He has been recording his own music since the mid-1960s. In addition, he appeared as a sideman to such giants as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Herbie Mann, and many more.
His early career found him in the forefront of the developing avant-garde jazz movement. During the early 1970s, he formed the innovative and influential fusion group, Return To Forever, which over time has featured an array of modern jazz’s elite, including Stanley Clarke, Lenny White, Jean-Luc Ponty, Flora Purim, Earl Klugh, and Al DiMeola. During the last couple of decades Corea has explored the many sides of traditional jazz.
Chick Corea will turn 70 on June 12. The Concord Music group is issuing two new albums in celebration of his milestone. Forever is a reunion of Return To Forever members Corea, drummer Lenny White, and bassist Stanley Clarke.
Also being released is the latest volume in Concord’s ongoing Definitive Series. The Definitive Chick Corea on Stretch and Concord is a two-disc, 21-track compilation that spans the last three decades of the legend’s career. While his 1970s material is missed, there are more than enough treats to keep both old fans as well as new acquaintances happy and content.
The early 1980s found Corea joining forces with saxophonist Michael Brecker, drummer Roy Haynes, vibraphonist Gary Burton, and bassist Gary Peacock. In the 2000s he collaborated with the likes of vocalist Bobby McFerrin and guitarist John McLaughlin. The music with these artists and others cover a lot of ground, as Corea pushes the boundaries of not only jazz but of music itself. Tracks such as “Quartet No. 1,” “Armando’s Rhumba,” “Bud Powell,” “Blue Monk,” “Crystal Silence,” “Fingerprints,” and the previously unreleased “La Fiesta” all provide a nice taste of his sound and style through the latter part of his career.
Corea has been a part of over 100 studio albums to date and has received 51 Grammy nominations. The music contained on The Definitive Chick Corea only begins to scratch the surface of his vast catalogue. Yet it is a good introduction that will hopefully lead the listener toward exploring some of his studio albums, which were built around a cohesive theme and concept.
When definitive and Corea appear in the same album title, you can’t go wrong.