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Chick Corea: “Alice in Wonderland” and “No Mystery”

Chick Corea – Amando Anthony Corea, to be precise – was born in Chelsea, MA in 1941. He is of southern Italian and Spanish descent. Corea is considered one of the major jazz influences of the 20th century. His signature band, Return to Forever, featured Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner and Keith Jarrett.

It’s always interesting to look at musician’s influences and early gigs of musicians. Scott Yanow at AllMusic writes that Bud Powell and Horace Silver were influences. Wikipedia notes that Corea’s first major gig was with Cab Calloway. He also played with Herbie Mann, Mongo Santamaría and others.

Corea’s career seemed to hit high gear when he replaced Herbie Hancock on piano in Miles Davis’ band. He appeared on the landmark albums “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew.” He was known as an avante garde player from 1968 to 1971. For the balance of the balance of the decade he helped pioneer the jazz fusion style that is associated with Return to Forever. The band used both acoustic and electric instruments and leaned away from rock and toward Latin rhythms, according to Wikipedia. Yanow does his usual thorough job of tracing the peripatetic Corea’s career, which still is going strong.

It is interesting to note that Corea is a Scientologist and had a long standing relationship with Scientologist founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Above is “Alice in Wonderland” (with Esperanza Spalding – who has a great smile – on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums). Below is “No Mystery,” with Stanley Clarke.

Wikipedia and AllMusic were used to write this post. Homepage image: PeterTea.