Five Decades of Music In a One-Hour Interview

Chick Corea and Russ Davis

Chick and Russ Davis

When I was told that Chick Corea would be given the Richard J. Bogomolny
National Service Award for his many contributions in virtually every style of ensemble music imaginable by Chamber Music America at their 2010 conference here in New York and that one of the various events celebrating Chick would be a one hour interview that they wanted me to conduct, well needless to say I was just thrilled.

After thinking about the fact that I would be required to do the impossible, cover almost 5 decades of Chick¹s masterful work in all its many facets and weave in references to classical and chamber music, I was maybe a little less thrilled but no less excited.
After all, I’ve known Chick for three of those decades and interviewed him for the record many, many times in Europe, Canada and all over the USA and each time found him to be ready with complete, lively answers and prepared to make the conversation meaningful and fun.

My conversation with him at the CMA, which I invite you to listen to now as well as in the various special programs that will include segments of this interview on my online Modern Jazz Radio channel MOJA Radio and on my weekly show JAZZ AMERICA heard worldwide on Voice Of America, covers everything from who gave him that lasting nickname “Chick” to how he and Herbie Hancock learned to avoid stepping on each other’s toes while playing in a duo setting to how he got “roped into” projects as diverse as doing Mozart duets with vocalist Bobby McFerrin and playing live on the Grammy Awards show with rock band The Foo Fighters and so much more. In short, it’s meaningful, lively, fun stuff.

Before you go to listen, I¹d like to add some personal thoughts about Chick. This guy is as accomplished, world famous and decorated as any musician I’ve ever known (An NEA Jazz Master, 55 Grammy nominations with 14 awards and growing by my current count) and never have I met someone as “real” and down to earth as he is.

Not only that, but Chick has been ready, willing and able to not only give me the best answers to my questions but to impart some very deep, personal and valuable philosophy that would help anyone who listens closely, and I count myself among the recipients.

I remember a time in Atlanta, where I spent a wonderful decade programming and presenting my first jazz program JAZZ FLAVOURS, when I was to introduce The Elektric Band in concert. Backstage, about 15 minutes before show time, I was standing with Chick and confided in him the fact that I was struggling with some personal issues. Looking back I would imagine that most artists would have turned away thinking they were in the presence of a very unstable person to be avoided, especially just as one is preparing to take the stage. I suppose that since Chick and I had enjoyed a great interview session earlier that day, my first with him, he must have realized that I was sincere and imparted some deep, meaningful advice that sticks with me even today.

This is the kind of person Chick is. Armando Anthony Corea is one of the world¹s great artists and a man who possesses that childlike wonder that keeps his work creative and makes his life fun. He has as an abundance of creativity and positivity and plenty enough to spare to share with everyone. Listen to his music, and his words, and be ready to enjoy and learn.