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Chick Corea, Jazz great with 23 Grammy Awards, dies at 79

Corea, a towering jazz pianist, pushed the boundaries of the genre and worked alongside Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.

NEW YORK — Chick Corea, a towering jazz pianist with a staggering 23 Grammy Awards who pushed the boundaries of the genre and worked alongside Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, has died. He was 79.

Corea died Tuesday of a rare form of cancer, his team posted on his website. His death was confirmed by Corea's web and marketing manager, Dan Muse.

“Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do,” said a statement on his website.

In 1968, Corea replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ group, playing on the landmark albums “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew.”

He formed his own avant-garde group, Circle, and then founded Return to Forever. He’s worked on many other projects, including duos with Hancock and vibraphonist Gary Burton. He recorded and performed classical music, standards, solo originals, Latin jazz and tributes to great jazz pianists.

Last year, Corea released the double album “Plays,” which captured him at various concerts armed simply with his piano.

“Like a runner loves to run because it just feels good, I like to play the piano just because it feels good,” he told The Associated Press at the time. “I can just switch gears and go to another direction or go to another song or whatever I want to do. So it’s a constant experiment.”

Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
FILE - Chick Corea performs at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles.

The double album was a peek into Corea’s musical heart, containing songs he wrote about children decades ago as well as tunes by Mozart, Thelonious Monk and Stevie Wonder, among others.

Corea is the artist with the most jazz Grammys in the show’s 63-year history, and he has a chance to posthumously win at the March 14 show, where he’s nominated for best improvised jazz solo for “All Blues” and best jazz instrumental album for “Trilogy 2.”

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AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report.

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
FILE - Chick Corea poses in the press room with the awards for best improvised jazz solo for "Fingerprints" and best jazz instrumental album for "Trilogy" at the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles.

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