Chick Corea’s “Children’s Songs”: Simplicity as Beauty

The late jazz pianist Chick Corea began writing the solo piano collection, Children’s Songs, in 1971. The set of twenty short songs follows the model of Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. In the preface, Corea wrote that the music was intended “to convey simplicity as beauty, as represented in the Spirit of a child.”  Each of the twenty songs opens up a magical new vignette, each with its distinct atmosphere. At the same time, a sense of motivic …

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Remembering Chick Corea

Chick Corea, the American jazz composer, keyboardist, bandleader and occasional percussionist, passed away on Tuesday following a brief battle with a rare form of cancer. He was 79. In the 1960s, Corea was a member of Miles Davis’ band. Following a brief collaboration with the avant-garde jazz ensemble, Circle, Corea founded the band Return to Forever in 1971. The group went on to pioneer the jazz fusion movement in the 1970s, opening the door to …

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Bartók’s Surprising Influence on Jazz

There are some fascinating connections between jazz and the music of Béla Bartók. Both have a pristine, highly-ordered sense of structure. Both are built on complex rhythmic grooves which grow out of a folk tradition. Jazz pianist Dániel Szabó delves into this subject in a recent article where he writes, Whenever I hear the second movement of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, the extraordinarily tight rhythm, the shifts in emphasis, inserting 3/8 phrases …

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