We are all blindsided and deeply saddened by the passing of Chick Corea. One of his longtime collaborators, from his early fusion years up until the very end, is drummer Steve Gadd. He pays tribute to his friend on The Checkout podcast.
Back in 2019 at the Montreal Jazz Festival, I briefly interviewed Gadd about the time he briefly played in Return to Forever. We listen to that bootleg, along with his reflection on Corea not as a pianist, but as a drummer. He says hearing Chick play the drums in the late 1960s unlocked his own playing on one particular night. “His approach and what he did was so free. Here’s a piano player playing the drums in a way that I never thought of. My playing changed that night. Overnight. It sort of cleared some things up for me.”