In Memoriam: Chick Corea

Josh Smith comments on the tragic passing of jazz legend Chick Corea.

Josh Smith
15th February 2021
The passing of legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea, announced on the February 11, 2021, and occurring two days prior, shook the music industry.

He died of a recently diagnosed, rare cancer, aged 79, leaving around 60 years of work as his legacy. Aware of his nearing end, he wrote the following, to be released post-mortem:

“I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.

And to my amazing musician friends who have been like family to me as long as I’ve known you: It has been a blessing and an honor learning from and playing with all of you. My mission has always been to bring the joy of creating anywhere I could, and to have done so with all the artists that I admire so dearly — this has been the richness of my life.”

Although his passing is tragic, his life compensates for it. He has left beautiful music of a wider scope than any other artist I know of, from the Bill Evans style rhythm playing, the electric fusion keyboard, the classical releases and the Samba/Latin directions. As a reminder of his life, work and death, no song seems more suitable than ‘Crystal Silence’ from Return to Forever. Let it be a seven-minute meditation, not on the musician or his death, but on where the song brings you and why he will be immortalised as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. His “journey” may be gone, as are so many of his “friends”, yet his impact shows no signs of falling in the coming years.

Rest in peace, Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea (1941-2021).

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