World reknowned jazz painist dead at 79

1941-2021

Chick Corea at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in 2018. (Photo by Tore Saetre/Creatvie Commons)

Mulitple Grammy Award winner, musical giant, winner had strong Everett tie

By JOSH RESNEK

World-famous jazz pianist Chick Corea succumbed to cancer over the weekend.

He grew up in Chelsea, where a street has been named after him. But he spent his high school years in Everett, where his parents moved.

His father was a musician in a band. Son Chick was brought up in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

He attended Chelsea Public Schools.

When Corea was 16, the family moved to another Woodlawn home on Abbott Street.

Corea had strong Everett connections.

In fact, he graduated from Everett’s Vocational High School in 1958 and left to embark on a lifelong rendezvous with destiny as one of the world’s most renowned and accomplished jazz composers and pianist.

This writer interviewed Corea in 1992 for a lengthy and personal piece that appeared in the Improper Bostonian Magazine.

In that piece Corea recalled his childhood and told of how both his parents nurtured his interest in music.

“My Chelsea friends who I grew up with – Leo Robinson, Minna Marino and Woodlawn kids I hung out with remain my friends after all these years,” he recalled.

Indeed.

At every concert he performed in and headlined in Boston, his Chelsea buddies were always given front row tickets.

They cheered for him like the hometown boy when he took the stage.

“Chickie! Chickie!,” they would shout.

Always, he would note their presence and give them a bow. After the concerts, they would go out for a drink and to perpetuate the friendship.

In the Improper Bostonian Magazine feature, Corea described his devotion to and belief in Scientology.

Scientology, he believed, gave him a new outlook on his mu sic and the challenge of achieving musical greatness.

He was nominated 67 times for Grammy Awards.

He won 23.

He is up for two Grammys this year which he is likely to receive posthumously.

When already a name in his own right, Corea played with the legendary Miles Davis.

He also played with other jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Mann.

Little did he know his fame would rise to the level of a Miles Davis in the rarefied world of modern jazz.

Corea grew up in a tight Italian family.

He was very proud of his Italian heritage.

His father and mother were born in Italy.

His real name was Armando Anthony Corea. At their small home in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chelsea, the Corea’s kept a notable vegetable garden during the summer months.

Corea toured the world.

He inspired millions.

He left these words on his Facebook site before he died.

“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, but 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.”

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