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Jazz - Released February 8, 2019 | Blue Note

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1972 | ECM

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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 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 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 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 January 1, 1993 | Verve Reissues

This post-Return to Forever Chick Corea LP is a bit of a mixed bag. Corea is heard on his many keyboards during an atmospheric "The Woods," interacts with a string section on "Tweedle Dee," features a larger band plus singer Gayle Moran on a few other songs and even welcomes fellow keyboardist Herbie Hancock for the "Mad Hatter Rhapsody." The most interesting selection, a quartet rendition of "Humpty Dumpty" with tenorman Joe Farrell set the stage for his next project, Friends. Overall, this is an interesting and generally enjoyable release. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Classical - Released October 4, 1999 | Sony Classical

"Spain" is probably Chick Corea's best-known composition. Written in 1971, it was first introduced by his Return to Forever band and played frequently by many other Corea-led groups, including his 1988 Akoustic Band trio. Here it appears again -- and arguably, for all time -- in a powerful, extended form through the efforts of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Steven Mercurio, Corea, and five other members of the group Origin. Combining the sounds of Spain, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, and New York with a whiff of Gershwin and Ravel full of whispers and thunder, Corea's arrangement won the 2000 Grammy. "Spain" is divided into a nine-minute introduction, 11 minutes of theme statement and improvisation, and a magnificent conclusion, weaving classical and jazz elements together in the tune's ultimate fulfillment. The second Corea composition on this CD, his "Piano Concerto No. 1," was supposedly modeled after the style of Mozart, although Wolfgang never had this much fire and passion. With Corea on piano, Origin veterans Avishai Cohen on double bass and Jeff Ballard on drums fronting the Philharmonic, the concerto contains over 30 minutes of musical textures, with beautifully melodic piano interludes and a recurring Latin pulse. This is the kind of intricate, multi-layered CD that sparkles brighter with each hearing; the "Spain" arrangement alone is worth the price of admission. All told, it's more evidence of Corea's restless and brilliant talent; fans who've followed his winding artistic path for decades may well see this CD as a clear monument, if not a peak. © TiVo
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Bebop - Released April 20, 1968 | Rhino Atlantic

Tones for Joan's Bones, Chick Corea's first session as a leader, is a blazing, advanced hard bop set from late 1966, with writing that reveals an affinity with McCoy Tyner's seminal hard bop structures from this period. Tenor player Joe Farrell and trumpeter Woody Shaw are ideal for this music. They deliver virtuoso performances that are both visceral and cerebral. Steve Swallow, while later focusing exclusively on electric bass, often with a melodic, impressionistic approach, is pure thunder here. In a blindfold test his acoustic bass could be mistaken for Buster Williams'. Drummer Joe Chambers is all relentless, propulsive energy, but subtle too. Corea is a torrent of harmonic and melodic imagination, couched in unerring rhythm. Anybody with an interest in this vital and exciting period will find this session indispensable. © Jim Todd /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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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Pop - 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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Bebop - Released March 29, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

This double album reissues Chick Corea's first album as a leader, Tones for Joan's Bones, adding two previously unissued tracks from the same session plus a pair of performances from a Hubert Laws date of the period that feature Corea's piano and writing. With such players as Joe Farrell on tenor and flute, trumpeter Woody Shaw, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joe Chambers on this Corea date, the pianist performs five of his originals plus "This Is New" while The Laws cuts include Corea's "Windows." Throughout, this advanced hard bop music, which keeps an open attitude toward the avant-garde innovations of the period, is consistently stimulating. Even at this early stage, Chick Corea's playing is quite recognizable. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 1, 1971 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Stretch Records

4 stars out of 5 - "Playing to the strengths of the Elektric Band, the musicians show how technically versatile they all are, that complex charts and variations of one sort or another can continue to dazzle." © TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 1, 1983 | ECM

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Jazz - Released November 1, 1985 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released April 22, 2016 | Concord Records

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Classical - Released December 4, 2009 | Stockfisch Records

A word of warning: the notes to this CD may detract from the lovely music it contains. German ensemble Blue Chamber Quartet commissioned journalist Cathrin Kahlweit to write a brief essay for each of the work's 20 movements, first-person vignettes describing the lives of children in 20 countries that seemingly have no discernable relationship to Corea's gentle, sophisticated miniatures. Corea wrote this suite of pieces for piano in the 1970s and '80s, and it has been recorded both in the original version and in various arrangements numerous times. The pieces are delightful -- playful, lively, graceful, and inventive -- and there is nothing about them that marks them as entertainment only for children. This is music that can be savored by anyone with a taste for directly communicative new music. The music works beautifully in this arrangement by group member Thomas Schindl, scored for piano, harp, vibraphone, and double bass, along with a part for guest percussionist Sven von Samson. The colorful and unusual instrumentation creates an even broader expressive palette than the piano version, and the evocative percussion atmospherics that surround some of the pieces add about 10 minutes to the total duration of the suite. The playing is delicate and spirited throughout, and the sound quality of the SACD is balanced and detailed. © Stephen Eddins /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 5, 2016 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Concord Records

For the second time in two years, Chick Corea has assembled a band to give aural illustration to the fantasy writings of L. Ron Hubbard. For those who have trouble with Hubbard and his teachings, this may be a red flag to avoid the record altogether. The Ultimate Adventure is a tale that draws on characters from the Arabian Nights -- there is an ad for the book in the back of the CD booklet. With that out of the way, one has to deal with the music entirely on its own terms. Corea has spent decades playing both electric and acoustic jazz. This is the first time since 1976's My Spanish Heart that he has woven his love of both so completely into a single album. There are more than a few echoes here that call upon the ghosts of the earliest Return to Forever band -- primarily in the gorgeous flute playing of Hubert Laws and Jorge Pardo, in the saxophone artistry of Tim Garland, the drumming of Steve Gadd, and the percussion wizardry of not only Airto Moreira, but also of Hossam Ramzy -- just to name a few of this album's players. But as always, it's Corea's compositions and playing that make or break any of his outings. This one is complex, knotty, and contains nuevo flamenco sketches and exotic melodic grooves and rhythms from "North Africa" and the Middle East. The second part of the opening suite "Three Ghouls" -- which makes it ghoul number two, apparently -- showcases Corea on the electric piano and electronic percussion with Laws playing soulful and slightly funky. His flute gets double-tracked as it floats above Moreira and bassist Carles Benavent. It's spacey, airy groove is intoxicating. It morphs into the knotty percussive and slightly "out" part three, where palmas -- handclapped rhythms -- by Corea, Gadd, and Benavent are contrasted to the dissonant acoustic piano and funky Rhodes woven side by side in counterpoint. This stands in contrast to the electric, short, fused-out, three-part suite entitled "Moseb the Executioner." The first part is a tangled mix up of Garland and Corea's Rhodes. It ends in a percussion orgy by Moreira and Ruben Dantas with palmas by the entire band. There are gorgeous melodic interludes in "North Africa" courtesy of Pardo and Corea. "Flight from Karoof" is simply a fusion gem. Ultimately, Ultimate Adventure works extremely well; it's inspired, takes chances, and is compositionally a small wonder. Above all, it sounds like Corea and his band had a ball making it. Recommended for fusion-heads. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Composer

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...