On Tuesday, February 9, jazz musician Chick Corea died due to cancer in Florida. Corea had a career spanning upwards of half-a-century. He is the recipient of 23 Grammy Awards. And he was even named a Jazz Master for the Arts in 2006. His credentials include, but aren’t limited to, playing with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew, forming the legendary fusion band, Return to Forever, and starting the group Circle. He is also the composer of numerous jazz standards, including “Spain,” “Windows,” and “500 Miles High.”
Born on June 12, 1941, in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Corea started playing music at the age of four, and by the 60s, had developed a reputation as a top-tier pianist playing with other noteworthy musicians such as saxophonist Sam Getz and flute player Herbie Mann. In 1968, he linked up with Miles Davis’ band and replaced Herbie Hancock. The music Chick created has been sampled by many Hip-Hop artists, such as Busta Rhymes, Rakim, Cypress Hill, The Game, and The Freestyle Fellowship.
In a final statement, which his team shared on social media, he said, “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.”
At the March 14 Grammy Awards ceremony, Corea could posthumously win two more trophies as he is nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo (“All Blues”) and Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Trilogy 2).
Chick Corea is survived by Gayle Moran, his wife, and a son named Thaddeus.