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Chick Corea’s gadget bag and all that jazz

Chick Corea’s gadget bag and all that jazz


Chick Corea's gadget bag and all that jazz


HOLLYWOOD — Jazz legend Chick Corea has been touring non-stop since March. He's just returned from Peru, and this week he'll be in New York City with his band, the Vigil. The pianist/composer is a long-time gadget geek and early adopter of infusing tech into music. And as a road warrior, he knows how to pack his tech to make every moment count in the skies.


Corea packs an iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air Retina, Bose noise canceling headphones, Amazon Kindle, Zoom H6 audio recorder and tiny Akai keyboard in his bag. When people are boarding the plane, "I pull out my iPhone and start reading." It would be easier on the eyes to grab the iPad, he says, "but the phone's in my pocket."

Once the plane takes off, he goes for the iPad, where he likes to doodle using a paint program.

"You don't have to be Picasso or Rembrandt to create something. The fun of it, the joy of creating is way high above anything else to do with the art form."

The keyboard gets pulled out, usually in the hotel room, to write or to transcribe notes into his Sibelius music notation software to pass on to other musicians. "I try and use the downtime on the road to keep enhanced."

Jazz legend Chick Corea(Photo: Jefferson Graham)


Corea recently began a new podcasting series, Music Magic, offering backstage chats with musicians while on tour. Guests have included rocker John Mayer, banjo master and Corea collaborator Bela Fleck and Marcus Gilmore, the drummer for the Vigil. Stanley Clarke, Corea's long-time bassist from Return to Forever, also will be a guest, with new episodes beginning in October.

The conversations are "what we talk about, what we are interested in…because these are the questions asked a lot."


He started a series of online webinars, the Chick Corea Music Workshop, to interact with musicians. The next one is scheduled for October.

"My basic intention for doing this is make myself available to the music community….I'm a perennial student. I call myself a teacher because they want me to call myself a teacher, but actually what I'm doing is I'm studying."


Jazz has historically been beloved by enthusiasts but often overlooked by pop culture. But with social media, jazz gets a more vocal following.

"It's made music more accessible with YouTube and the ability to trade audio files. But it hasn't made it more popular." What has changed is interaction with fans. They want instant photos when he meets them after shows. "I love the interest but personally I'd rather just chat with a fan. The ability that we have to recall experiences just mentally is a world full of pictures if you wanna do it that way." Corea isn't anti-photography. He himself snaps away on his iPhone when he's in concert, taking photos of some of the historical halls where he performs.

"I love to do that. I also love to walk out onto the stage when the audience is applauding, say hello and grab a photo. It's fun."

Follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter.



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