Jackson Hole News & Guide

I would very much like to know about what you have planned for us here in Jackson Hole.

The Akoustic Band is having a fantastic time! We just finished a five-week tour through Europe and just had a blast of a time playing together as an acoustic trio once more.

This trio was the first Elektric Band back in the ’80s. We played a bunch of gigs and made recordings as an electric trio, then added the guitar and saxophone and became the Elektric Band for many years. But we started getting requests to do acoustic trio gigs – so I asked Dave and John if they would like to play acoustically, and the Akoustic Band was formed.

We got together last January and played one concert, which we recorded and have recently released as a double CD.

Jackson Hole will be the Second concert on our US tour.

We have a combination of material from some of the older things we used to do, some jam things, and some brand-new songs and arrangements.

I’ll now peek through your questions and see what I can come up with 🙂

All those different kinds of music you have played — bebop, free jazz, acoustic trio, electronic fusion, classical … — what have you gotten out of each one and how does it manifest in your music today? What’s it all add up to for you?

It’s hard to analyze an answer to something like that. I make music all the time in different ways and don’t think about what “kind” of music it is.

Over 50 years, you have developed all kinds of connections with other artists, and you keep going back to the well to play with Patitucci and Weckl, for instance, or Herbie Hancock or Stanley Clark or Gary Burton. What happens each time you return to these artists or these projects? How does the music change? How do the musical relationships change? And what’s consistent, too?

It’s true, my life is rich in musical friendships. Each one is unique and incomparable. Every time I get together with my old friends it’s like we never stopped getting together and making music. Time becomes a big lie 🙂

That tendency of prolific collaboration reminds me of Herbie, too. Do you share his approach to music-making as a way of bridging the gaps that divide us? What, at the age of 75, do you hope to accomplish or try to communicate with music that maybe you didn’t realize you could do when you were in your 20s and 30s and 40s?

Herbie and I have been the best of friends since we met back in the day. We still have our collaboration going from time to time and it’s always glorious. He’s not only a dear friend and collaborator but also a very big inspiration to me, growing up in music.

I’ve heard a lot of different origin stories about the birth of fusion — who supposedly “invented” it and when. What’s your take on the story? Or what were your own motivations for going in that direction (and returning to it over and over)?

The development of music in the culture of art on this earth is a very very interesting story, and one which I plan to add a few comments to in a documentary I’m now making. You will see it when it’s done 🙂

Sorry, but I can’t resist asking what it was like working with Miles. What were those crazy “Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew” sessions like? And the live sets — totally spontaneous and full of mad energy? Did Miles (or anyone) have a firm idea of what was going to happen, what the music was going to sound like? The result always seemed to me like something whipped up in a mad scientist’s lab that maybe was startling even to the creators — “IT’S ALIVE!”

Miles was the master of the moment. He loved trying new ideas and new musicians in new combinations and so set a precedent for myself and many other musicians in that way. He was actually a great leader by allowing his side men to just be themselves. He encouraged them to try new things. The Bitches Brew sessions were very exciting and new to everyone.

Finally, I guess, what’s next for Chick Corea? Any projects in the works? What’s on the horizon and what do you think is over the horizon?

I’ve got a ton of projects in the fire. At the end of this tour, for instance, the Akoustic Band trio will be one of three concerts I’m playing at the Detroit Jazz Festival as artist in residence this year. The Elektric Band will be the second night, and on the third night I will perform the first two movements of Joachim Rodrigo’s Concerto De Aranjuez, plus my Spain For Sextet & Orch. – Corea.Concerto. That’s a program I plan to take around and play with some other orchestras around the world. Plus, I have an electronica project going that you’ll hear about I’m sure. And lots of other fun stuff.

Thanks for your questions and interest. See you in Wyoming.