Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Chick Corea

Mark Sabbatini By

Sign in to view read count
The best purchase for first-timers may be the 2003 double CD Rendezvous In New York. This live performance celebrating Corea's 60th birthday is not his most acclaimed album, but is an upper-rung title featuring him in a series of reunion concerts with various ensembles from throughout his career. Other potential first or early purchases include Chick Corea: Jazz Masters 3 for a good overview of his early days, Return To The Seventh Galaxy for his 1970s fusion, Remembering Bud Powell for traditional jazz and Inside Out for his 1980s and '90s fusion.

Tunes For Joan's Bones (aka Inner Space ) (1966)

Corea's debut album as a leader is largely a hard-bop session with a McCoy Tyner presence to it, but nonetheless is an enjoyable performance—especially for fans interested in Corea's development. The original album is hard to find and Inner Space is missing some songs (with others featuring flutist Hubert Laws added), but a reissue CD combining Bones with bassist Miroslav Vitous' Mountains In The Clouds is available.

Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1967)

Corea's breakthrough album contains only five songs, but eight additional tracks are on the reissued CD currently available. The trio session features bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes, and all but two of the compositions are originals by the pianist. Corea possesses a distinctive voice on this blend of hard bop and free jazz, but is still developing his eventual signature style. Among the more notable moments are his solo on the opening "Steps—What Was," which contains the foundation of his subsequent famous song "Spain," and his one-at-a-time free-form exchanges with Vitous on "Gemini."

A.R.C. (1971)

This trio album featuring bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul isn't as avant-garde as the recordings they issued as the group Circle (which also includes saxophonist Anthony Braxton), but is a solid jazz outing—some argue the last for several years as he entered his Return To Forever phase.

Piano Improvisations (Vol. 1 and 2) (1971)

These solo performances of originals and standards are Corea's attempt to reach a wider audience, with both albums earning mixed critical and commercial success. One or both are worthwhile for collectors in particular, since they are markedly different in character than his other recordings of the period.

Crystal Silence (1972)

This collaboration with vibraphonist Gary Burton, one of several such pairings, is an upper-echelon choice among both fans and criticis. It features a strong modern chamber presence and is generally low-key in tempo, but has an intensity and depth missing from many of Corea's fusion recordings. Highlights include the nine-minute title track, reinterpreted from the first Return To Forever album, and the opening "Senor Mouse."

Return To Forever (1972)

The group's first album is generally considered its best, although as with a lot of other Corea's work this is sometimes (heatedly) debated. The music is Latin rather than the fusion and critics say a poor performance by Flora Purim on vocals distracts from what otherwise would be strong compositions. A definite buy for collectors; others should compare it to latter RTF albums such to see which incarnation they favor most.

Light As Feather (1972)

This actually ended up being the first album by Return To Forever available to the public, as the group's self-titled debut wasn't released until 1975. It shares many of the same strengths and weaknesses, but is less improvisational and finds Clarke providing a more commanding presence on bass. It is also, true to its name, lighter in spirit than its predecessor. Some complain this album is indeed "light," sacrificing the artistry of earlier Corea albums in an attempt to be commercially appealing. A double-CD reissue adds more than an hour of previously unreleased music.

Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy (1973)

Guitarist Bill Conners and drummer Lennie White became the new accompanying players and the focus shifted to rock-oriented fusion with this release. Some consider this RTF's best fusion, others lean toward 1974's Where Have I Known You Before , 1975's No Mystery or 1976's Romantic Warrior where Al DiMeola replaces Conners on guitar. All are quirky and dated, and the names of many popular tracks in themselves hint at their eclectic dance-like nature: "Captain Sensor Mouse," "Theme To The Mothership" and "Captain Marvel," among others. Still, the musiciansmanship is hard to deny, even if certain themes turn off some listeners, and these rank along with Weather Report's albums as must-have items for anyone following fusion from the 1970s onward.

My Spanish Heart (1976)


comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Date Detail Price
8:00 pm
Chick Corea
Cape May Convention Hall
Cape May, NJ
8:00 pm
Chick Corea & Béla Fleck Duet
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts (University of Connecticut)
Storrs, CT
8:00 pm
Chick Corea And Bela Fleck
Tilles Center Concert Hall
Brookville, NY
8:00 pm
Chick Corea, Béla Fleck
Keswick Theatre
Glenside, PA
8:00 pm
Chick Corea, Béla Fleck
Majestic Theatre
Dallas, TX
8:00 pm
Chick Corea
Music Center At Strathmore
North Bethesda, MD
8:00 pm
Chick Corea
Amp By Strathmore
North Bethesda, MD

Related Articles

Read The Complete Jan Akkerman: Focusing on a Life's Work Profiles
The Complete Jan Akkerman: Focusing on a Life's Work
by John Kelman
Published: November 24, 2018
Read Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool Profiles
Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool
by Arthur R George
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland Profiles
Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland
by Charles Suhor
Published: September 2, 2018
Read Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018 Profiles
Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Remembering Tomasz Stanko Profiles
Remembering Tomasz Stanko
by AAJ Staff
Published: July 29, 2018
Read SFJAZZ: Decades After, Five Years In Profiles
SFJAZZ: Decades After, Five Years In
by Arthur R George
Published: July 19, 2018
Read "Rebecca Parris: 1951-2018" Profiles Rebecca Parris: 1951-2018
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Bob Dorough: 1923-2018" Profiles Bob Dorough: 1923-2018
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "The Jazz Corner's Lois Masteller Makes It Happen" Profiles The Jazz Corner's Lois Masteller Makes It Happen
by Gloria Krolak
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool" Profiles Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool
by Arthur R George
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Ranky Tanky: African Rhythms Preserved" Profiles Ranky Tanky: African Rhythms Preserved
by Martin McFie
Published: January 18, 2018