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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released January 1, 1972 | Polydor

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Always tied to a confusing time line, the first released recording from the original configuration of Return to Forever was actually their second session. An initial studio date from the ECM label done in February of 1972 wasn't issued until after the band had changed in 1975. The Polydor/Verve recording from October of 1972 is indeed this 1973 release, featuring the same band with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Airto Moreira, Joe Farrell, and Flora Purim. There's no need splitting hairs, as both are five-star albums, showcasing many of the keyboardist's long enduring, immediately recognizable, and highly melodic compositions. Farrell's happy flute, Purim's in-the-clouds wordless vocals, the electrifying percussion of Airto, and Clarke's deft and loping electric bass guitar lines are all wrapped in a stew of Brazilian samba and Corea's Fender Rhodes electric piano, certainly setting a tone and the highest bar for the music of peer groups to follow. "Captain Marvel" -- the seed for the band sans Farrell and Purim that was expanded into a full concept album with Stan Getz -- is here as a steamy fusion samba with Corea dancing on the keys. By now the beautiful "500 Miles High" has become Purim's signature song with Neville Potter's lyrics and Corea's stabbing chords, and unfortunately became a hippie drug anthem. Perhaps Corea's definitive song of all time, and covered ad infinitum by professional and school bands, "Spain" retains the quirky melody, handclapped interlude, up-and-down dynamics, exciting jam section, and variation in time, tempo, and colorations that always command interest despite a running time of near ten minutes. "You're Everything" is a romantic classic that surely has been heard at many weddings, with another lyric by Potter sung in heaven by Purim, while the title track is Purim's lyric in a looser musical framework with Clarke's chart coalescing with Corea and Farrell's pungent flute work. As much as the others have become icons, the extraordinary sound of Farrell on this date should never be trivialized or underestimated. The final track, "Children's Song," was a springboard for several of Corea's full-length album projects, and is heard here for the first time via a trio setting in a slow, birthlike motif. The expanded version of this recording includes many alternate takes of four of these selections, but also includes "Matrix," which was not on any RTF albums, and there are four versions of "What Game Shall We Play Today?," which was only available on the ECM release. From a historical perspective, this is the most important effort of Corea's career, quite different than his prior previous progressive or improvising efforts, and the pivotal beginning of his career as the most popular contemporary jazz keyboardist in history. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 19, 2012 | Concord Jazz

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - The Absolute Sound: Best New Releases Of The Year
Hot House is the seventh recording by the duo of pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton. This time out, Corea and Burton picked pieces by some of their favorite composers -- mostly from the jazz world, of course -- yet chose compositions that were less than obvious. A shining example is "Can't We Be Friends," an obscure standard closely associated with Art Tatum. Though it's a pop song, Tatum completely reinvented it in his image. In Corea's arrangement, the duo walks a balanced line between classic American pop, jazz modernism, and the legendary pianist's swinging take on stride. The reading of "Eleanor Rigby" commences with an elliptical piano intro; it's clean, graceful, and gives way to Burton's statement of the melody before the pair moves into a more uptempo engagement with the tune's harmonics. Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" is a conscious nod to the flurried exchanges between Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and is nearly pointillistic in its focus; there are gorgeous arpeggios and striking solos -- particularly Burton's. The inclusion of Thelonious Monk's "Light Blue" is wonderful. One of the most under-performed of all Monk's compositions, its solemn yet tender emotive tone and brief minor lyric statements are extrapolated upon by Corea to add another melodic statement onto the second chorus. Other standouts include a gracious version of Bill Evans' "Time Remembered," a haunting rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Chega de Saudade," and a lengthy, massively improvisatory version of Kurt Weill's "My Ship." The set closer, "Mozart Goes Dancing," is the only original included on the set. Written by Corea, it features the pair in the company of the Harlem String Quartet and reflects Corea's dexterity as a composer who uses rhythmic and lyric interplay to extend the reach of classical harmony toward jazz's realm of immediacy. It also contains a healthy dose of his playful sense of humor. The duo's approach in wedding mainstream and modern jazz (often inside the same tune) will appeal mostly to fans of the duo's previous six recordings. That said, Hot House is a further example of the nearly symbiotic language they've developed over the past 40 years, and is a stellar example of masterful dialogic articulation and execution. This is collaboration in its purest and and most elegant form. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
This two-CD set is a bit of a mixed bag. It serves as a retrospective of the first two versions of Chick Corea's Return to Forever, with three selections from Light as a Feather (featuring saxophonist Joe Farrell and singer Flora Purim), three from Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (which has guitarist Bill Connors), five selections from Where Have I Known You Before and four taken from No Mystery; the latter two dates match keyboardist Corea with guitarist Al DiMeola, electric bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White. However, the real reason for serious collectors to acquire this double-CD set is for the four previously unreleased selections (totaling 39 minutes), including three taken from 1973 and matching Corea and Clarke with guitarist Connors, drummer Steve Gadd and percussionist Mingo Lewis (highlighted by a 14-minute rendition of "Spain"). Whether RTF fans will want to duplicate the other performances to get these four is a bit debatable, making one wish that the "new" material had been released separately. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1972 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Jazz-fusion has spawned plenty of rather distressing albums but also, fortunately, many masterpieces. Like this album, recorded on the 2nd and 3rd of February 1972 in New York. Return to Forever sees the pianist Chick Corea, who had just left Miles Davis's outfit, alongside electric bass god Stanley Clarke, the underrated flautist and saxophonist Joe Farrell and the Brazilian duo of singer Flora Purim and her husband, the drummer and percussionist Airto Moreira. This light "Brazilian touch" is one of the interesting elements in this fusion, which offers an alternative to the music offered by Miles or John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, which had much more of a rock sound. At his electric keyboard, Corea remains attached to the melodic framework of his compositions and the mystical atmosphere, which was so popular in its day, is never over-done. Most importantly, the incontinent splurging of notes that has clogged up so many electronic projects is absent here. On Crystal Silence, Farrell's sax solo is to die for, and Corea's playing, light as a feather, will take some beating. Derided as a circus animal by his detractors, Stanley Clarke is also strikingly subtle and his performance on Sometime Ago - La Fiesta is among his most moving. In the end, Return to Forever is perhaps considered one of the greatest jazz-fusion albums because it sweeps away the clichés. Thereafter, despite a regularly changing line-up, the band proved a colossal success (six studio albums followed in five years), undoubtedly because of its distinctly 'rockier' formula, which was a major departure from the style of this first chapter. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz
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Jazz - Released February 8, 2019 | Blue Note

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Jazz - Released April 1, 1984 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
When one thinks of children's songs, "Old McDonald," "Mary Had a Little Lamb," "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Frere Jacques" come immediately to mind, but not for Chick Corea. These solo piano works are sophisticated instead of simplistic and cute, exhibiting the playful, innocent, wide-eyed aspect of our universal childhoods. Infusing his at times devilish, often bouncy and ultra-melodic sense of wonder and discovery, Corea's distinctive style and virtuosic techniques are hard to mistake for anyone else. Nineteen solo piano excursions comprise 20 separate ideas from Corea's fertile imagination, childlike in essence but mature in execution. It is as if he is wandering through various stages of birth, self-awareness, discovery, adolescence, and early teen pre-pubescence. There's a real sense of learning, growth, and true understanding progressively strewn through these pieces. Fans of Corea and Return to Forever will readily recognize three of these themes; the repeated, slightly dark construct of "No. 1," the quick waltz melody of "No. 3," and the playful, circular motif on "No. 6." They all have been previously employed by the pianist in his most famous melodic songs of the '70s. Offering the most contrast aside from his signature sounds is the Steve Reich minimalism of "No. 4," the one-note based "No. 14" parallel to the Christmas tune "Joy to the World," and the ominous suggestions in the waltz of "No. 15." Corea mixes up every piece stylistically, whether in a lilting, two fisted, stoic, delicate, spastic, quirky, ascending and descending or rumbling and rambling mood. The lone combo track "No. 16/17" progresses from one-note chords to dramatic rumination and impressive arpeggios, then merges into an eyelash winking, pretty innocence. He's surprisingly muted, quiet, and restrained during "No. 18," then flashes fast and furious on the utterly ingenious "No. 19." The finale, "No. 20," is set in a Baroque chamber trio with the great classical violinist Ida Kavafian leading the way, with Corea and cellist Fred Sherry blissfully following along. Very few pianists can carry off the original solo piano program that Corea tenders on this delightful collection that reminds all of us not only of our best moments of childhood, but those days that still reflect the inner child in our grown-up years. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 23, 2014 | Universal Music Group International

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Jazz - Released October 4, 1982 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released March 26, 2010 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This 2010 ECM collection Solo Piano Improvisations/Children's Songs brings together three of pianist Chick Corea's '70s solo piano recordings. Included are 1971's Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1, 1972's Piano Improvisations, Vol. 2, and 1984's Children's Songs. These reflective, atmospheric, but quite technically agile recordings found Corea exploring and discovering new ways of expressing himself alone at the piano. In that sense, Corea was bucking the electric fusion and avant-garde "free" jazz of the time with these ruminative acoustic sets that influenced much of what was to become the defining sound of ECM. This is a typically well-crafted set from ECM and features new liner notes and period black-and-white photographs of Corea. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 1, 1971 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1978 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Although this set contains eight lesser-known Chick Corea compositions, it is in reality a fine blowing date. Corea, on both acoustic and electric pianos, is joined by his old friend Joe Farrell on reeds, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Steve Gadd for some fine straightahead jazz. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Stretch Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This encounter between Chick Corea (sticking to acoustic piano), tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Eddie Gomez, and drummer Steve Gadd lives up to expectations. The program features three lengthy "Quartet" pieces, including sections dedicated to Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. This blowing date is highly recommended for true jazz fans. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 1, 1985 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | GRP

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Always tied to a confusing time line, the first released recording from the original configuration of Return to Forever was actually their second session. An initial studio date from the ECM label done in February of 1972 wasn't issued until after the band had changed in 1975. The Polydor/Verve recording from October of 1972 is indeed this 1973 release, featuring the same band with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Airto Moreira, Joe Farrell, and Flora Purim. There's no need splitting hairs, as both are five-star albums, showcasing many of the keyboardist's long enduring, immediately recognizable, and highly melodic compositions. Farrell's happy flute, Purim's in-the-clouds wordless vocals, the electrifying percussion of Airto, and Clarke's deft and loping electric bass guitar lines are all wrapped in a stew of Brazilian samba and Corea's Fender Rhodes electric piano, certainly setting a tone and the highest bar for the music of peer groups to follow. "Captain Marvel" -- the seed for the band sans Farrell and Purim that was expanded into a full concept album with Stan Getz -- is here as a steamy fusion samba with Corea dancing on the keys. By now the beautiful "500 Miles High" has become Purim's signature song with Neville Potter's lyrics and Corea's stabbing chords, and unfortunately became a hippie drug anthem. Perhaps Corea's definitive song of all time, and covered ad infinitum by professional and school bands, "Spain" retains the quirky melody, handclapped interlude, up-and-down dynamics, exciting jam section, and variation in time, tempo, and colorations that always command interest despite a running time of near ten minutes. "You're Everything" is a romantic classic that surely has been heard at many weddings, with another lyric by Potter sung in heaven by Purim, while the title track is Purim's lyric in a looser musical framework with Clarke's chart coalescing with Corea and Farrell's pungent flute work. As much as the others have become icons, the extraordinary sound of Farrell on this date should never be trivialized or underestimated. The final track, "Children's Song," was a springboard for several of Corea's full-length album projects, and is heard here for the first time via a trio setting in a slow, birthlike motif. The expanded version of this recording includes many alternate takes of four of these selections, but also includes "Matrix," which was not on any RTF albums, and there are four versions of "What Game Shall We Play Today?," which was only available on the ECM release. From a historical perspective, this is the most important effort of Corea's career, quite different than his prior previous progressive or improvising efforts, and the pivotal beginning of his career as the most popular contemporary jazz keyboardist in history. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 24, 2013 | Concord Jazz

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Chick Corea may have formed a new band, but still has ghosts from the Return to Forever reunion on his mind. Just check out the cover of The Vigil (named for this group) with its obviously L. Ron-inspired theme and track list ("Galaxy 32 Star 4"?). What year is this? That's not to make light of the music. Corea's international ensemble includes drummer Marcus Gilmore, French bassist Hadrien Feraud, Britain's Tim Garland on reeds and winds, and guitarist Charles Altura. While this is an electric band, it's not just a fusion group. These seven tunes (five are over ten minutes) reflect some of Corea's richest writing and arranging in years. While "Galaxy 32 Star 4" indulges fusion, Gilmore's Latin-tinged kit work and guest Pernell Saturnino's hand drums root this seemingly sprawling jam in the earth. Corea's solo moves toward the edges, but his melodic vamping on Feraud's bumping bass solo and Garland's gorgeous soprano arpeggios break it out of the genre lock. "Royalty," dedicated to mentor and friend Roy Haynes, features acute, crystalline melody lines exchanged between the pianist, Altura, and Garland. Gilmore -- Haynes' grandson -- swings deftly and physically to kick it into overdrive and bring it home. Samba flavors the melody and pace of "Portals to Forever," but Feraud's chunky, angular bass playing propels the rhythm outward, shifting tempi, yet Gilmore and Saturnino counter and keep it rooted in Brazil. When Garland's tenor enters to trade lines with Altura, post-bop enters to bring it to a close. "Pledge for Peace," with Ravi Coltrane guesting on tenor, commences speculatively with a spacy, imaginative frame that pays tribute to John Coltrane's early modal explorations and follows a line of transformation as the band engages modern creative post-bop through the middle before returning it to its Eastern-tinged mode in the extended outro. "Legacy," the album's final cut, is also its best. Garland's full-throated tenor and Altura's angular six-string ride atop popping snare and kick drum and guest Stanley Clarke's ebullient bass playing. Corea's solos engage and complement each player, while remaining the centerpiece. The colors, textures, and expansive rhythmic palette that surround him eventually create a maze-like melody that inserts itself into individual solos and falls away unexpectedly, bringing The Vigil to a close with intense clarity and focus. As a band, the Vigil is exciting as much for its potential as for the multifaceted talent the group members put on display here. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Part two of Corea's solo piano series features standard tunes. There is a preponderance of Thelonious Monk music: "Monk's Dream," "Blue Monk," "Ask Me Now," and "'Round Midnight." Bud Powell, another piano legend whose music Corea has recorded and studied closely over the years, is represented by "Dusk in Sandi" and "Oblivion." The more universally familiar selections are "But Beautiful," "Thinking of You," "Yesterdays," "It Could Happen to You," "So in Love," "How Deep Is the Ocean," and "Brazil." Corea knows this music intimately and is uniquely able to mine each selection for fresh insights and possibilities. There are few pianists alive who equal Corea in stature and influence, and this beautiful concert recording reminds us of his continuing importance as an interpreter of jazz tradition. © David R. Adler /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Stretch Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This interesting collection finds Chick Corea playing seven then-new originals with a variety of musicians including flutist Hubert Laws, tenor saxophonist Joe Farrell, trumpeter Al Vizzutti, bassist Stanley Clarke and, on "Flamenco," tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. The music is pleasing and spirited if not all that memorable; an average release from a hugely talented jazzman. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Stretch Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Chick Corea was involved in a wide variety of projects during the early 1980s, some acoustic, others electric, and everything from solos and duets to orchestral projects. Touchstone really displays quite a bit of diversity with features for flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia, a one-song ("Compadres") reunion of Return to Forever (with guitarist Al DiMeola, bassist Stanley Clarke, and drummer Lenny White), a spot for alto-great Lee Konitz ("Duende"), and a conventional sextet outing on "Dance of Chance." A bit uneven but with its interesting moments, Touchstone is worth checking out. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

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Chick Corea in the magazine
  • Chick Corea Forever!
    Chick Corea Forever! A huge and influential pianist, the American succumbed to cancer at the age of 79...
  • Chick Corea: three's a crowd pleaser
    Chick Corea: three's a crowd pleaser With "Trilogy 2", the American jazz pianist returns with a second project featuring Christian McBride on the double bass and Brian Blade on drums.
  • ECM turns 50!
    ECM turns 50! Manfred Eicher’s Munich-born music label celebrates half a century of jazz different from the norms, bringing the traditionally African-American genre to Europe and beyond…
  • Corea and Gadd in fusion
    Corea and Gadd in fusion A reunion for the pianist Chick Corea and the drummer Steve Gadd...