An Interview with Chick Corea

Feb 12, 2021

Legendary Jazz pianist Chick Corea has died, according to a post on his official Facebook post on Thursday. Corea passed away on February 9th. He was 79. The cause was a rare form of cancer.

To remember the acclaimed keyboardist, composer, bandleader, here is an interview and article about him from our KIOS jazz archives:


Chick Corea is one of the major pioneers of fusion. "No musician has used the fusion concept with more variety, intelligence and unimpeachable taste than Chick Corea," wrote Len Lyons, a longtime jazz author and critic, in his book "The 101 Best Jazz Albums." Corea worked with the Miles Davis Ensemble during the sessions that produced the legendary recordings In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, in addition to birthing several successful fusion bands including Corea's Return to Forever.

Return to Forever's classic lineup of keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Al Di Meola and drummer Lenny White returned to the Holland Performing Arts Center's Kiewit Concert Hall Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 7:30 PM taking full advantage of the hall's acoustics. Corea appeared at the Holland Center in March 2006 and was anxious to return. "I thoroughly enjoyed performing in this hall; the room is an exceptional one for all kinds of music, but especially so for our flavor of jazz," Corea said.

The second version of Return to Forever, fueled by Chick Corea's intention to explore a harder-edged rock-jazz fusion, converged in 1974. The arrival of hard-rocking guitarist Al Di Meola, in addition to funk-fueled drummer Lenny White with original RTF members bassist Stanley Clarke and founder Chick Corea completed the lineup. The golden RTF quartet recorded three popular crossover albums: 1974's Where Have I Known You Before (Di Meola's debut), 1975's Grammy-winning No Mystery and 1976's studio finale, Romantic Warrior, which became the best selling of all RTF recordings. It was RIP for RTF in 1977, but the group was resurrected once for a quartet concert in 1983, and fully returned for the 2008 exciting reunion.

The performance at the Holland was one of the most astonishing shows Last Call host Chris Cooke has ever witnessed. "In every way", he said "this concert was the essence of jazz rock at its best, with brilliant improvisations from all band members as well as mesmerizing group interplay". The concert, two sets of sustained artistic brilliance, was an unforgettable evening.

Last Call host Chris Cooke caught up with Chick Corea via phone before the concert. Click on the link to listen to the interview. (Recording Engineer: Mike Hansen)