On February 9, the world of jazz bid a tearful goodbye to iconic jazz composer, keyboardist, bandleader and occasional percussionist Chick Corea, who died of cancer at his home in Tampa Bay, Florida, at age 79.
Born Armando Anthony Corea, the legend’s father (also Armando) was a jazz trumpeter. Corea grew up surrounded by various jazz styles, ranging from Dixieland to bebop. But like so many great musicians across genres, his initial solid foundation was in classical music, and that remained an influence for the rest of his life.
Corea was first introduced to the piano by his father at age four, although the initial years were exploratory. At age eight he began taking formal lessons with concert pianist Salvatore Sullo, who opened the world of classical music to him.