Jazz

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.

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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