Jazz legend Chick Corea has died of a rare form of cancer. He was 79.
A statement on Corea’s website reads, “He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.” He was 79.
“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,” it continues.
Born in Chelsea, Massachussetts, Corea developed an early interest in jazz and began playing piano at age four and drums at eight. He began first playing gigs in high school and later studied at both Columbia University and Juilliard School after he moved to New York City, though he didn’t remain at either institution for long.
After working with musicians such as Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria and Stan Getz in the early ’60s, Corea released his debut album, Tones for Joan’s Bones in 1966. From the late ’60s, Corea played on a long list of significant jazz albums, including over a dozen Miles Davis albums, plus records by Herbie Mann, Stanley Clarke, Wayne Shorter, Blue Mitchell, Joe Farrell and others. Corea was also a pioneer in jazz fusion, including with his group Return to Forever.
During his career, Corea won 23 Grammy Awards and has been nominated over 60 times, most recently winning the Best Latin Jazz Award in 2020 for Antidote.