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Born Armando Anthony Corea in Chelsea Massachusetts on June 12 1941 Chick was studying piano by age four After moving to New York at age seventeen Chick began performing with many prominent musicians of the era including Maynard Ferguson Kenny Dorham Stan Getz and Thad JonesMel Lewis Big Band His budding compositional skills were first brought to light in the three years 1964-1966 he spent with Blue Mitchell and soon after on Chicks first recording as a leader Tones For Joans Bones Outings with Willie Bobo Mongo Santamaria Cal Tjader and Herbie Mann instilled a lifetime affection for Latin rhythms that can be heard in Corea compositions like Spain La Fiesta and Armandos Rhumba By the late 1960s after a year of playing piano for Stan Getz then Sarah Vaughan Chick Corea joined the Miles Davis band playing electric piano on the landmark albums In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew This period planted the seeds for Chicks extensive exploration of free improvisation but he had a different approach in mind leading to the formation of Circle along with Dave Holland Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul Although this group was very influential on the avant-garde scene Corea soon felt a need to explore his more lyrical side The two albums Piano Improvisations Vols I 11 recorded in 1971 shortly before Circle disbanded clearly reflect this desire Chick Coreas communication with audiences increased with his creation of the first Return To Forever The initial grouping included Stanley Clarke on bass Flora Purim on vocals Airto on drums and reedman Joe Farrell The Latin sounds explored on the first recording gave way to an aggressive rock approach with drummer Lenny White bassist Stanley Clarke guitarist Bill Connors and later Al Di Meola along with Corea playing a dazzling array of electronic keyboards helping to pave the path for what would become known as jazz fusion The late 1970s saw yet
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