In gratitude: For Chick Corea (1941-2021)

Music is our witness, and our ally. The ‘beat’ is the confession which recognises, changes, and conquers time. Then, history becomes a garment we can wear, and share, and not a cloak in which to hide; and time becomes a friend.

James Baldwin, Of the Sorrow Songs: The Cross of Redemption

To be a jazz freedom fighter is to attempt to galvanize and energize world-weary people into forms of organization with accountable leadership that promote critical exchange and broad reflection. The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist in a jazz quartet, quintet or band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase the creative tension with the group–a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project. This kind of critical and democratic sensibility flies in the face of any policing of borders and boundaries of “blackness”, “maleness”, “femaleness”, or “whiteness”.

Cornel West, Race Matters

It was the music. […] It made you do unwise disorderly things. Just hearing it was like violating the law.

Toni Morrison, Jazz

Chick Corea’s music speaks for itself. We can only humbly celebrate its beauty. Often described as “jazz fusion”, its improvisational freedom resonates – or can we say, should resonate -, with the same improvisational freedom that is anarchism as a form of life.

The concept of “jazz fusion” perhaps masks more than it reveals, especially with Corea. He was part of a generation of jazz musicians who borrowed freely from other popular musics of his time (rock, r&b, soul, funk, and so on). But Corea always “borrowed”, because as he so often said, he was an permanent student of other musicians and diverse musical traditions, and his almost child-like joy in sharing what he learned and created is every in his music and his playing.

Without any pretense to sharing a “best of” Corea’s music, what follows is a personal choice among so much more.

From Circulus 1970
From Return to Forever – No Mystery 1975
From corea.concerto 1999
The Vigil 2013
Trilogy 2014

Cornel West describes his manner of living philosophy as a form of blues and jazz. Chick Corea’s music has been in some way a part of our lives for many years.

A Chick Corea website offers a vast collection of information about the artist.

This entry was posted in News blog, Poiesis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.