Chick Corea, pioneer of jazz fusion, dead at 79

Chick Corea, a keyboardist and composer who pioneered the jazz fusion genre of music, died Tuesday from a rare form of cancer. He was 79.

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Corea’s death was confirmed on his Facebook page.

“Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do,” the Facebook post said. “Though he would be the first to say that his music said more than words ever could, he nevertheless had this message for all those he knew and loved, and for all those who loved him.”

It is with great sadness we announce that on February 9th, Chick Corea passed away at the age of 79, from a rare form of...

Posted by Chick Corea on Thursday, February 11, 2021

During the early 1960s, Corea played piano with Stan Getz, Herbie Mann and others, Rolling Stone reported. Later in the decade he joined Miles Davis’ band.

Corea co-founded the avant-garde group Circle before creating the fusion group Return to Forever in 1972. Variety reported.

Corea was born June 12, 1941, in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and grew up near Boston. His father, who was a Dixieland-style jazz trumpeter, taught him how to play the piano, Rolling Stone reported.

After forming Return to Forever, the second incarnation of the band -- featuring bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Lenny White, and guitarist Bill Connors, later replaced by Al Di Meola — became a leading group in the jazz-rock movement, according to Rolling Stone.

Corea’s work includes jazz albums including “The Song of Singing,” “Return to Forever” and “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy.” Corea was nominated for 60 Grammy awards and won 23 times, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Corea’s last album, the 2020 live “Plays,” showed off his wildly diverse skill set and influences, including classical music and bebop, Rolling Stone reported.


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