Chick Corea

ChickCoreaby Sally Zarafonetis

Chick Corea is coming to Grand Rapids.

The 20-time Grammy winner and brilliant pianist will be playing with his band, The Vigil, at St. Cecilia Music Center. The evening will be a night of sublime acoustic to scintillating electric jazz within the Royce Auditorium, a performance hall that has been proclaimed as “one of the finest halls in the world” by world-renowned artists who have performed there.

Corea has attained living-legend status after five decades of unparalleled creativity and staggering keyboard performance. He is the fourth-most-nominated artist in the history of the Grammys with 61 nominations. In addition, he has garnered three Latin Grammy Awards. Corea will be joined by The Vigil band members, bass phenomena Hadrien Feraud, creative force Marcus Gilmore on drums (carrying on the lineage of jazz from his grandfather, Roy Haynes), dazzling sax, flute, bass clarinet artist Tim Garland, and rising guitarist sensation Charles Altura.

Corea began his career with apprenticeships with the likes of Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis’s band, where he participated in such landmark sessions as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Embarking on a solo career in 1966, Chick has been at the forefront of jazz, both as a renowned pianist forging new ground with his acoustic jazz bands and as an innovative electric keyboardist with Return to Forever and the Elektric Band and now the electro/acoustic Vigil. His extensive discography boasts numerous albums, beginning with his 1968 classic, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs.

He is performing for the largest fundraiser for St. Cecilia Music Center, the Great Artist Gala event on September 18, 2014. Visit www.scmc-online.org for tickets and more information.


Straight Talk from Chick Corea

Q: All About Jazz says The Vigil CD release is the “best electric album in decades, blending acoustic and electric music and allowed you to consolidate many of your eclectic musical interests. What are your eclectic musical interests and who inspired these interests?
A: If eclectic means without boundaries, then it’s true, my musical interests are pretty wide. I enjoy all kinds of music and art. I like to hear something or see something when it’s fresh and uninhibited. Experiencing other people being creative always inspires me.

Q: You’ve played in the Midwest before, but have only two stops on your current tour. What are your thoughts about the Midwest and is the reception here different than what you find in other places?
A: My sweet wife Gayle Moran Corea is from a little town called Spring Arbor in Michigan. The great jazz drummer Elvin Jones is from Michigan – also the legendary bassist Paul Chambers. I have always had a good time playing anywhere in the Midwest–but I find creative music is appreciated anywhere I go.

Q: When you take home a Grammy now, is it less exciting than the first time?
A: It’s always inspiring to me to be recognized by my peers especially. It confirms that I’m creating musical effects that are pleasant enough to be acknowledged with an award. I continued to have a lot of fun creating music–but there’s extra fulfillment in knowing that it gives pleasure to others.

Q: For this concert tour with The Vigil, will listeners be surprised by the music?
A: I’m not sure. I never try to second-guess how an audience will respond. Each night is new and different– each audience is new and different. That’s the adventure that I love.

Q: What is your overall passion in life?
A: Well, I love to give other people static experiences, especially if it encourages them to be creative themselves. But I am as well pleased to just provide some diversion and entertainment for others. If we could live our lives, more and more artistically and encourage others to do the same, I see that life can become much more pleasant and fun.

Q: Where do you escape to reset and relax so you can keep the creative fires burning?
A: I love to drive to Clearwater Beach with Gayle, sometimes late at night, and walk under the moon next to the Gulf of Mexico. I try to grab a free moment here and there to sketch and draw. In fact I recently published a book of my “Doodles.”

Q: People know and love your work and the music that you’ve created. However, what don’t most people know about you as a person?
A: Just for fun I’ll, make the shortlist for you: One of my favorite dishes is spaghetti, scarpariello Napolitan style. I enjoy listening and studying the music of Arnold Schoenburg and Henri Dutilleux. My aunt Marie gave me the name “Chick” when she used to pinch my cheeks as a newborn baby and say “chickie chickie chickie” – this is the story my mother Anna told me, later confirmed by Auntie Marie herself.


Sally is the owner of SallyZara PR and writes for Women’s LifeStyle on subjects ranging from music, food and entertainment, to women’s issues. 

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