Chick Corea at SOPAC in 2011: ‘We get the future that we create’

chick corea nj

RICHARD CONDE

Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Jazz House Kids students at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in June 2011.

In June 2011, Chick Corea — who died Feb. 9, at the age of 79 — participated in an “Inside the Jazz Note” benefit for the Montclair-based Jazz House Kids organization at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. He spent the afternoon with Jazz House Kids students and, at night, he performed, answered questions, and was interviewed by the event’s host, Christian McBride. The wonderful video embedded below includes highlights from the event.

At one point, someone asks Corea about the future of jazz, and he responds: “The future of jazz is in everybody’s mind. If you answered it, that would be the future of jazz. If Christian answered it, that would be the future of jazz. I mean, there’s (points to the Jazz House Big Band) the future of jazz, in one way to look at it … we get the future that we create.”

In a Jazz House Kids mass email, founder and president Melissa Walker wrote that on that day, “Our entire mission came in to view — music, mentoring, education and leadership. Chick’s life embodied all of these qualities of the highest order and (he) relished the freedom and the fun in creating something new.”

She also wrote that “few artists have reached the zenith and have contributed more than our dear friend and musical genius, Check Corea. We are deeply saddened over the sudden loss of Chick on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. Chick was one of our greatest composers and improvisers of this music, and a compassionate human being.”

McBride — who is Walker’s husband, and who formed a Grammy-winning trio with Corea and drummer Brian Blade — hosted an online Zoom tribute to Corea, Feb. 16. That is also embedded below.

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