Life-Changing Recordings: Chick Corea

GRAMMY winner reveals the recording that had an incredible impact on him
  • Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
    Chick Corea
February 12, 2013 -- 3:18 pm PST
By As told to Paul Zollo /

(Every artist has a soundtrack that reveals their musical journey. But what is the one recording that proved to be a transformative moment? In this ongoing series, GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists will reveal their answer to the deceptively difficult question: What recording changed your life?)

Miles Davis
"Someday My Prince Will Come"
Someday My Prince Will Come (1961)

"One track that made an incredible impact on me when I first heard it is Miles Davis' recording of 'Someday My Prince Will Come,' which features a guest appearance by John Coltrane with Miles' regular band at that time with Wynton Kelly on piano, Jimmy Cobb on drums, Hank Mobley on tenor sax, and Paul Chambers on the bass. 

"It was/is the beauty — the musical mastery, emotional freedom, spontaneous creativity, smoothness of the internal communication amongst the band members, instrumental virtuosity, freedom of expression — [and] the way the melodies and the groove intertwined to take me to a place outside of time and space. Very, very inspiring. [It] still is.

"Miles Davis was a part of my life from 1947 on. I was born in 1941 and I first heard him in 1947 on a 78 rpm. And then I followed his career, starting with his first solo album in 1951. He was an icon and inspiration and a mentor to me. Then I got to meet him in 1964 in New York City, and then in '68 he invited me to join the band. It was memorable [and] an important period for me."

(A 21-time GRAMMY winner, Chick Corea won three GRAMMYs at the 55th GRAMMY Awards, including Best Instrumental Composition for "Mozart Goes Dancing" and Best Improvised Jazz Solo for "Hot House" with Gary Burton. Both tracks are featured on his 2012 album collaboration with Burton, Hot House.)

(Paul Zollo is the senior editor of American Songwriter and the author of several books, including Songwriters On Songwriting, Conversations With Tom Petty and Hollywood Remembered. He's also a songwriter and Trough Records artist whose songs have been recorded by many artists, including Art Garfunkel, Severin Browne and Darryl Purpose.)


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