Chick Corea Trio graces Cinci

By Tim Walker

Photo: Eddie Gomez, Chick Corea (back), and Brian Blade; photos: Andrew Elliott

To jazz lovers, Chick Corea is a man who truly needs no introduction. The pianist and composer released his first album, Tones for Joan’s Bones, 50 years ago, and he has been writing, performing, and recording some of the finest jazz on the planet ever since, both by himself and with a variety of groups and sidemen—recently, he reunited the much-loved Chick Corea Elektric Band, which he first formed in 1986. His recordings and songs have been nominated for 63 Grammy Awards, of which he has won 22. At 75, he is the very definition of a music industry icon.

The Chick Corea Trio will grace Gallagher Theatre in Cincinnati Saturday, Oct. 8 as part of the Xavier University Jazz Series. The show, which starts at 7 p.m., will feature the jazz legend playing with Brian Blade on bass and Eddie Gomez on drums. Chick Corea recently spoke with the Dayton City Paper about his life, work, and love for performing.

As you look back over your career in music, what do you feel has brought you the most enjoyment—composing, recording, or performing live?

Chick Corea: To be truthful, I really love it all. I love the amazing variety that presents itself in music and the arts in general. It’s the world of the imagination, which is limitless.

Do you have a particular favorite “type” of performance—I mean, do you enjoy working within a trio framework more than with the Elektric Band? Or is performing solo more interesting to you?

CC: I think my answer to your first question is the same answer for this one.

How did it feel to be going back out on the road with the classic lineup of the Elektric Band?

CC: The band came together again in a burst of joyful camaraderie and communication. We had a blast on our first outing in Los Angeles at Catalina’s Jazz Club and are looking forward to more this year and next.

With the band’s 2004 album being the most recent effort from the group, are there any plans for the band to record new material?

CC: We all began to talk about it. I would love to compose new music for the band. The band is a joy to write for.

Mr. Corea, are you still an admirer of L. Ron Hubbard and his work? Do you consider yourself a follower of Scientology, and if so, how has that influenced your creative life?

CC: I continue to be inspired by L. Ron Hubbard’s work since I first discovered it through the book “Dianetics – The Modern Science Of Mental Health” in 1968. In addition to his writings on the spirit of man, I’m also a huge fan of his science fiction writing. In fact, I composed two albums of music which are tone poems based on two of his wonderful fiction books, “To The Stars” and “The Ultimate Adventure.”

You spent years playing with Miles Davis back when the jazz fusion movement was in its infancy. Have you seen Don Cheadle’s movie “Miles Ahead”? If so, any opinions on the film?

CC: I enjoyed it. Interesting to see Don’s characterization of Miles. He even got Miles’ trumpet fingering right—a detail that I’m sure took some work and practice on his part. I loved Robert
Glasper’s score!

At 75, with your status as an icon in the jazz world, do you have any particular venues where you enjoy playing the most?

CC: There are so many venues that I enjoy, both large and small indoors and outdoors. I love Carnegie Hall for the vibe, and I love the New York Blue Note also for the vibe—two very different venues. The Tokyo Blue Note is one of my favorite jazz clubs to play. But then again, I love everything about Japan.

George Martin passed away in March, and music lovers felt his loss worldwide. Do you have any comments on his passing you might want to relate?

CC: George became a dear friend through the years that I got to know him. He was a big admirer of my wife Gayle Moran Corea’s vocal talents. That was when she sang on John McLaughlin’s “Apocalypse,” the beautiful recording with Mahavishnu and the London Philharmonic that George produced. George and I had some wonderful exchanges about art and artists. I once told him naïvely and truthfully that I had finally “discovered” the Beatles—this was mid ’90s—he loved me being straightforward and immediately sent me the new Love album that he produced for Cirque du Soleil—commenting that he was “happy for my discovery.” He certainly helped make the Beatles the tremendous success they became. He was just a beautiful being through and through.

The Chick Corea Trio performs as part of the Xavier University Jazz Series Saturday, Oct. 8 at Gallagher Theater, 800 Victory Pkwy. in Cincinnati. Show starts at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact the Gallagher Box Office at 513.745.3939 or GSCBoxOffice@Xavier.edu or visit ChickCorea.com.

Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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