Jazz legend Chick Corea leaves behind a legacy at age 79

Courtesy of NBCNews

Courtesy of NBCNews

Benjaman Raeburn, Copy-Editor

February 9 marks the day famous jazz legend and pianist Chick Corea passed away from rare cancer at 79 years of age. The legacy he leaves behind includes 23 Grammy Awards, a pioneering career mixing rock and electronic funk with traditional jazz, and the creation of multiple bands. 

Born in 1941 to a father who led a jazz band as a trumpeter, Corea was introduced to the piano at the early age of four and found himself admiring composers and soloists like Charlie Parker soon after. The upbeat, fast tempo of these composers combined with his drumming lessons that began at age eight inspired him to later revolutionize jazz. Throughout high school, the young musician performed at several local jazz clubs, introduced to him by his father. He went to New York to attend Columbia University, studying music, but later dropped out when decided this experience was not what he needed or wanted. Corea then went on to playing and composing music. 

In 1965, Corea partnered with several other jazz musicians to release his debut album Tones for Joan’s Bones. In the early 70s Corea toured with the Davis band, the first of many groups he would join, but later departed to form his own group. During this decade, Corea focused on exploring atonal, Latin-American style music that bound acoustic and electronic instruments together in a novel genre of jazz- fusion. In the early 80s and onwards, the versatile composer ventured into contemporary classical music recording pieces with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara, and another pianist Freidrich Gulda. 

Corea won his first out of his 23 Grammys in 1976 for the jazz album No Mystery. He was his last in the hectic year that was 2020 for “Antidote,” a Latin-style song. His signature piece “Spain” draws on Latin music and jazz in an eccentric, uptempo sort of way- a hallmark of his work.