Chick Corea


http://www.chickcorea.com
That same year, Chick released a recording with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Bobby McFerrin as conductor. This was their 2nd recording for Sony Classical, entitled The Mozart Sessions. Their first duet recording, Play, was honored with a Grammy Award.

Also, in 1997 Chick teamed up with Gary Burton. It had been over 20 years since their Crystal Silence duet recording and the two thought it was time to do another. Native Sense - The New Duets was released on Stretch Records and gave Chick his 9th Grammy Award in 1998.

Moving forward is something at which Chick is well adept. Toward the end of 1997, Chick decided to once again form a new group - a base in which he could once again perform on acoustic piano. The band's self titled debut release was a live recording at the Blue Note club in New York city. Chick's strategy behind the recording was to try to capture the band's sound and feel as it is in a live performance. "When we play to an audience, as opposed to playing in a recording studio, there's never a thought of playing perfectly or making no mistakes," Chick comments, "so the music flows more freely and there comes a comfort in stretching out. So what you hear on that recording is the unedited performances."

Those shows generated so much enthusiasm that the veteran bandleader took another leap, after the initial release of Origin - Live at the Blue Note. In 1998, Chick released the six-disc set A Week at the Blue Note. The boxed set, featuring music played during three of the four evenings that heralded the debut of "Origin," caught the band in all its spontaneously combustible glory.

The sextet took on Miles Davis' "Four", Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser" and "Four in One", Bud Powell's "Tempus Fugit", Charlie Parker's "Bird Feathers", the Rodgers-Hart standard "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered" and Corea's "Matrix", "Hand Me Down" and "Sifu", not to mention alternate versions of tunes heard on the first album.

In the summer of 1999, Chick released Origin's 3rd recording, Change. This was recorded within the relaxed confines of the home Chick shares with singer and wife Gayle Moran in Florida. Chick and the band went to work on a set of material written specifically for Origin since the release of the debut.

"The first record was a mishmash of all kind of stuff; old tunes, standards, jam-session tunes and new written music, whereas Change is focused on music specifically written for a known group that has become an entity. With this record, I wanted to try more thorough writing with the band. Everyone responded to it very well."

Change brings Origin one step closer to Chick's conception of a dream ensemble, a group of musicians unusually attuned to each other's playing, united under the like-minded goal of bringing to life the music of a leader able to compose and arrange challenging material with specific instrumental voices in mind.

Chick completed a recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Corea.Concerto, for Sony Classical released October 1999. Back in the early '80s Chick was introduced to Mozart's music by Friedrich Gulda. Since then, Chick was determined to write a Piano Concerto of his own. This was completed in 1984. Over a 10 year period, Chick performed the piece with various orchestras in New York, Japan and Italy but had not had the opportunity to record it. In 1998, Chick was invited to perform in Vienna with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for a special 1999 Easter event. This concert opened up an opportunity to record the Concerto. After a successful evening in Vienna, Chick, group members from Origin and the London Philharmonic Orchestra went back to London to do the recording.

The recording features Piano Concerto No.1 - (dedicated to the spirit of religious freedom) and a new version of Chick's tune Spain (arrangement for Sextet & Orchestra).

"I chose almost the exact same instrumentation as the Mozart piano concerto orchestrations for my concerto. I figured that I could perform the Mozart and my own piece with the same size orchestra, and that would be a good practical start for me. So, with the spirit and sound of Mozart's piano concerto music, I wrote this piece and dedicated it to the spirit of religious freedom which, for me, is on the same level as the creative freedom that is the basic right of all people."

Chick also speaks about why he chose to do a new version of Spain "If there is any one song that listeners seem to know me best by, I guess that song is "Spain," as I get the most requests for it and hear it mentioned more than any of the others. I wrote the song in 1971 and played it frequently with RTF and many other bands of mine. I reharmonized the theme and made a brand new arrangement of it for the Akoustic Band trio in 1988, and have generally turned the song inside out through the years. This is a final visit to "Spain" in grand fashion and with a tip of the hat to the art cultures of Spain, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina and New York."

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