Chick Corea
Photo: Wolfgang Wesner
Dear Friend,

The jazz world lost a towering figure last week; legendary pianist Chick Corea died at the age of 79. State of the Arts had the great privilege of working with Chick two years ago when he gave a concert at NJPAC with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade.

Chick's musical genius was extraordinary. In an interview for our story, Christian McBride called him the jazz equivalent of Mozart or Beethoven.
Chick Corea
Chick arrived at NJPAC on a winter Sunday afternoon, after having just landed at Newark Airport from a month-long tour in Japan. Although he'd hardly slept, he was energized to play the concert. I was scheduled to interview him right off the bat. Instead, he suggested we tape his warm-up on stage, and then he invited me to share a dinner with him in the green room. What a pleasure!

Over dinner he shared stories about performing with Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis, and other jazz greats. He talked about his love for Japanese culture and about his new healthy diet without salt, sugar, or oil. He also discussed "jazz fusion," a style associated with his hits from the 1960s. Chick was also keen to find out about me, a public television producer he'd never met before. When I mentioned how much I liked to play the cello, his face lit up with excitement. Imagine that! Later when we sat down to film the interview he told me, "More and more, I delight in how music lifts up audiences and how important music and art are." 

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the world of the great Chick Corea.

Eric Schultz
State of the Arts
Co-Series Producer
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