Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do.
He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions. “
Before his death, Chick penned an emotional message to his fans and loved ones.
He said: “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.”
During a career spanning more than five decades, Chick was honoured with 23 Grammy Awards and nominated 65 times, while he composed the likes of ‘Spain’, ‘500 Miles High’, and ‘La Fiesta’, which are widely considered jazz standards.
The Massachusetts-born musician replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ group in the late 1960s, and played on his classic albums ‘In a Silent Way’ and ‘Bitches Brew’.
He then formed his own avant-garde group, Circle, before he founded Return to Forever in 1971, and the latter quickly became hugely influential in the jazz-fusion movement of the 1970s.
John Mayer, who shared a stage with Chick, has led tributes to the music legend.
The 43-year-old singer-songwriter hailed Chick as “the single greatest improvisational musician” he’s ever played with.
He wrote alongside a picture of Chick and another of him performing with him on Instagram: “Chick Corea was the single greatest improvisational musician I have ever played with. Nobody was more open, more finely tuned to the moment, changing his approach with every new offering by the musicians around him. If you hit a wrong note, he’d immediately pick it up and play it as a motif so as to say “all of this has value, whether you see it or not.” What an immeasurable loss in so many ways. My love to Gayle, his family, and the countless musicians and fans he inspired and will continue to inspire. Thank you, Chick, for the invaluable scholarship of getting to know and make music with you. May you rest as peacefully as you lived. (sic)”
While Sheila E. wrote: “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. (sic)”