Legendary jazz musician Chick Corea has died at the age of 79. A statement on his Facebook (opens in new tab) page confirmed that he had been suffering from a rare form of cancer that was only discovered very recently.
Corea left a message “for all those he knew and loved,” which reads: “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.”
A pioneer of jazz fusion, Chick Corea got his first big gig playing with Cab Calloway before collaborating with the likes of Bill Mitchell, Herbie Mann and Stan Getz. He stepped into the spot previously held by Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’s group and played on such classics as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.
Corea’s own fusion group Return To Forever saw him embracing the Moog in addition to his usual Rhodes.
A composer of several pieces that have come to be regarded as jazz standards, Corea will be remembered first and foremost as a keyboard player, but he was also a band leader and percussionist. Tributes to him have been pouring in since news of his death was announced.
To my mentor and dear friend, the master @ChickCorea — I will always cherish and admire your music and our musical conversations forever. You are one of my musical heroes sir, may you rest in rhythm and god bless you. pic.twitter.com/KMRbzuNUC5February 11, 2021
I’m devastated to hear of the legendary @ChickCorea’s passing. This man changed my life thru his music and we were able to play together many times. I was very fortunate to call him my family. Chick, you are missed dearly, your music and brilliant light will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/YR0n0fb4gHFebruary 11, 2021
Oh no!!!! 😥 So sad to hear of the passing of @ChickCorea One of the pioneers of jazz/fusion keyboards. Return To Forever was one of the first real Supergroups and such a huge influence. #RIPChickCorea pic.twitter.com/r49F8rVOB2February 11, 2021