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Chick Corea looking forward to his return to live performance

Bill DeYoung

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Chick Corea has 23 Grammy Awards to his credit, the most recent for his 99th career album The Spanish Heart Band: Antidote, released in 2019.

His legend, therefore, is secure. During these times of Covid and isolation, however, the jazz pianist still hasn’t found what he’s looking for: A live audience.

“When you’re in front of an audience, to me, that is the ultimate goal of being a performer,” the Clearwater resident said Wednesday on The Catalyst Sessions. “Being able to deliver to an audience. I mean, I can practice forever at home, but the fulfilling moment is being in front of an audience and getting that feeling across and having an audience experience it.”

He’ll get his chance Oct. 23 and 24 with a pair of solo piano concerts (From Mozart to Monk) in the Ruth Eckerd Hall lobby cabaret. These shows feature limited, spaced table seating (tickets and info here).

Wednesday’s interview was freewheeling, fast-moving and fun. The musical icon discussed everything from his theories on improvisation and collaboration to his esteemed history with Miles Davis (in the groundbreaking Bitches Brew band) and the pioneering fusion group Return to Forever.

The Davis era (1968-70) was pivotal in introducing jazz to a new generation of listeners, by incorporating heavier, electric sounds and beats.

“That kind of opened things up for us to see that it’s not just a musical change, but it’s a communication change,” Corea recalled.

“We put a rock beat in the music, but kept all of our other notes and harmonies on top. And that was what we created.”

Thursday on The Catalyst Sessions: St. Petersburg potter Charlie Parker.

Streaming weekdays at 7 p.m. on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube channel.

 

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