The Troy Street Observer

May 20, 2001: A Block Party on Chick Corea Way

On May 20, 2001, the City of Chelsea honored Chick Corea, the home town boy made good, by renaming the block of Everett Avenue between Arlington and Walnut Streets to Chick Corea Way. Chick was there, with family and friends…but I don’t know if he played. I mean, he must have played, right? They were naming a street after him.

Photo of Chick Corea
The Chick Corea Way

Pianist, composer, and bandleader Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea was born in Chelsea on June 12, 1941, and his trumpet-playing father sat him down at the piano at about age five. Corea always knew he was going to be a musician. While still in high school, he gigged with trumpeter Phil Edmunds, and he had his own groups—a sextet where he first tried his hand at arranging, and a trio with drummer Tony Williams, who was even younger, and Don Alias, then playing bass. His second trio, with drummer Joe Locatelli, played at the Stable. Though underaged, that’s where Corea spent his free time, picking up gigs and soaking up the wisdom of Herb Pomeroy and his men.

Corea entered Columbia University in 1959 but dropped out after a few months, then tried the Juilliard School and wasn’t happy there either. Back in Boston with Al Natale’s band at the Mayfair, Corea worked with his first big name, Cab Calloway. Then he went on the road in the early 1960s, working across the jazz spectrum, from Billy May to Mongo Santamaria to Blue Mitchell to Sarah Vaughan. In March 1968 he made the classic trio recording of Now He Sings, Now He Sobs with Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes, and Corea jumped to the front of the line among the young piano players.

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