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 unity runs through the collection. Jazz and pentatonic harmony meets vibrant cross-rhythms and irregular meters. As the set progresses, the music becomes increasingly adventurous and complex. Allusions to the Gymnopédies of Satie, Steve Reich, “Joy to the World,” and Corea’s earlier music blend together to form a jubilant musical romp.
Here is Leon Bates’ recording:
Chick Corea concluded the set with a brief Addendum for violin, cello, and piano. The music provides a fitting close to the collection, soaring with sunny, jazz-infused optimism. Here is a recording by Trío Arbós: