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Learning Until The Very End: An Archival Interview with Chick Corea on The Checkout

Jonathan Chimene

Back in 2014, Chick Corea visited The Checkout to promote Portraits, an solo album celebrating artists he admired. Instead, the pianist gave us a clear picture of himself.

The conversation, hosted by Josh Jackson, turns poignantly autobiographical from the very beginning — when Josh asks: “What’s still a mystery for you when you approach the instrument?” And later:  “What’s the earliest melody that you can recall?” This leads to Chick telling a vivid story involving a piano, his father (who was also a musician), and a crane.

Listen to Chick Corea talking to The Checkout's former host Josh Jackson.

Corea also opens up about his influences – many of whose compositions are featured in Portraits -- and shares some personal anecdotes: his love for Alexander Scribian “the melodist,” how Paco De Lucia introduced him to the world of flamenco, and, how in the 60s, he briefly attended what he describes as “Thelonious Monk University.”

In between short musical interludes, there are many of nuggets of wisdom here, and insights into Corea and his creation. His love affair with music, the piano, and improvisation never waned.

Join us in celebrating #ChickForever at WBGO — including his Latin Side with Bobby Sanabria, and anthology of recordings curated by our announcers.Subscribe to The Checkout on SpotifyStitcher, and Apple Music.

Copyright 2021 WBGO

For more than 15 years, Simon Rentner has worked as a host, producer, broadcaster, web journalist, and music presenter in New York City. His career gives him the opportunity to cover a wide spectrum of topics including, history, culture, and, most importantly, his true passion of music from faraway places such as Europe, South America, and Africa.