Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Jazz piano master Chick Corea is now in Japan for concerts and performances in Shizuoka, Tokyo and Hibiya before he travels on to South Korea next week. The trips are part of a “World Tour” by the gifted composer, who has 110 CDs under his belt. Corea is touring with members of his new group RTF-IV or Return To Forever IV. RTF-IV is Corea’s 4th incarnation of his original 1972 jazz-fusion electric band known as Return To Forever (RTF). The group will release a DVD chronicling this six-month long World Tour, which is its longest and biggest tour of the year in jazz.
The original RTF has cycled through a number of different members, but the only consistent band member since its inception is the multi-talented bass guitarist and composer Stanley Clarke. In addition to Corea and Clarke, the group currently includes drummer Lenny White, virtuoso violinist and composer Jean-Luc Ponty and Australian jazz fusion guitarist Frank Gambale. My colleague, Russ Davis, recently met the group and blogged about his experience with them in Austin, Texas.
Before adding Ponty and Gambale to the group, Corea (together with Clarke and White) released a two-CD album earlier this year titled Forever . The album included special guests like, singer Chaka Khan and original Return To Forever guitarist Bill Connors.
In the mid-1990s, I profiled Chick Corea twice on my Jazz Club USA show in Arabic. I included two back-to-back shows for you to enjoy four songs from his album, Time Warp. On the “Down Memory Lane” segment, you will listen to the “Maple Leaf Rag” an 1899 masterpiece by Ragtime icon and pianist Scott Joplin. You will also hear Duke Ellington’s Take The A Train. Music follows Arabic narration:
The 15-time Grammy Award winner was born Armando Anthony Corea in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1941. At the age of four, Corea began studying piano, hoping to become a famous musician like his father – who was a bassist and bandleader. Early on as he grew up, he was influenced by jazz greats and pianists Horace Silver and Bud Powell. The music of Beethoven and Mozart also inspired his compositional instincts at an early stage. Corea’s first major professional gig was with singer, performer and bandleader Cab Calloway. He also worked with Latin bands led by Afro-Cuban Latin jazz percussionist Mongo Santamaría and American jazz percussionist Willie Bobo. One of Corea’s great strengths is his ability to play most genres of jazz piano and a variety of fusion, Latin, orchestral and chamber music.
In mid-1960s in New York, Corea worked with trumpeter Blue Mitchell and saxophonist Stan Getz. In 1968, he joined legendary trumpeter Miles Davis, and then left him in 1970 to work with the free, avant garde jazz group Circle, with saxophonist Anthony Braxton and bassist Dave Holland.
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