Chick Corea was one of the most influential and prolific jazz pianists, composers and bandleaders of his generation. He passed away on February 9, 2021, leaving behind a legacy of more than 80 albums and 4 box sets spanning over five decades. His discography covers a wide range of styles, from bebop to fusion, from Latin jazz to classical, from solo piano to large ensembles. Here are some highlights of his remarkable career.
1968: Now He Sings, Now He Sobs
This was Corea's second album as a leader and his first trio recording, featuring bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes. The album showcases Corea's virtuosic and expressive piano playing, as well as his original compositions that blend jazz improvisation with classical forms and structures. The title track is a masterpiece of rhythmic and harmonic complexity, while "Matrix" is a fast-paced bop tune that became a jazz standard. The album is widely regarded as one of the best piano trio albums of all time[^1^].
1972: Return to Forever
This was the debut album of Corea's fusion band Return to Forever, featuring saxophonist Joe Farrell, bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Airto Moreira and vocalist Flora Purim. The album blends jazz with Brazilian music, rock and funk, creating a fresh and innovative sound that would influence many fusion bands to come. The title track is a beautiful ballad that showcases Corea's lyrical keyboard playing and Purim's ethereal vocals, while "Spain" is a fiery Latin jazz tune that incorporates elements of flamenco and classical music[^2^].
1976: My Spanish Heart
This was Corea's first solo album after leaving Return to Forever, and it reflects his deep connection with his Spanish heritage. The album features a large ensemble of musicians, including Clarke, Farrell, Moreira, Purim, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, guitarist Paco de Lucia and vocalist Gayle Moran (Corea's wife). The album explores various aspects of Spanish music and culture, from flamenco to bolero, from folk songs to symphonic works. The album is a rich and diverse musical journey that showcases Corea's versatility and creativity[^3^].
1981: Three Quartets
This was Corea's tribute to saxophonist John Coltrane, one of his main influences and inspirations. The album features a quartet of Corea on piano, Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone, Eddie Gomez on bass and Steve Gadd on drums. The album consists of four long compositions that are based on Coltrane's harmonic concepts and modal improvisation. The quartet plays with intensity and passion, creating a powerful and dynamic sound that honors Coltrane's legacy[^4^].
1997: Remembering Bud Powell
This was Corea's homage to another jazz piano legend, Bud Powell, who was one of the pioneers of bebop in the 1940s and 1950s. The album features a quintet of Corea on piano, Wallace Roney on trumpet, Kenny Garrett on alto saxophone, Christian McBride on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. The album revisits some of Powell's classic compositions, such as "Tempus Fugit", "Bouncin' with Bud" and "Celia", as well as some standards that Powell recorded or performed, such as "Oblivion", "I'll Keep Loving You" and "Parisian Thoroughfare". The quintet plays with swing and finesse, capturing the spirit and essence of Powell's music.
2007: The Enchantment
This was Corea's first duet album with vibraphonist Gary Burton, who was his longtime collaborator since the 1970s. The album features original compositions by both Corea and Burton, as well as some covers of songs by Bela Fleck, Keith Jarrett and Stevie Wonder. The album showcases the chemistry and interplay between the two musicians, who create a delicate and enchanting sound with their instruments. The album is a testament to their friendship and musical affinity. 061ffe29dd