The story behind a modern jazz standard
The son of a trumpeter in a Dixieland band, the virtuosic keyboardist Chick Corea is revered as one of the principal alchemists in the fusion of jazz with rock, funk, and Latin music. After recording his seminal 1968 album, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, he replaced Herbie Hancock as the piano chair in Miles Davis's band—the band that recorded such classic albums as Bitches Brew. Throughout his eclectic career, Corea has collaborated with vibraphonist Gary Burton and banjoist Bela Fleck, pioneered the use of the Fender Rhodes electric piano, and won 16 Grammys. In 1972 he founded the jazz fusion group Return to Forever, which he's steered through several lives—including Return to Forever IV, which recently concluded its 2011 World Tour. Here, Corea shares the original sheet music for "Spain," a composition for the group's 1972 sophomore album, Light as a Feather.
THE FIRST RECORDING took about three hours at a New York studio. This was in 1972, within the first year or two of Return to Forever's inception. We were on the road continually, and we were adding music to our repertoire and preparing our second record. Our rhythm was pretty developed by then-Stanley [Clarke] on bass, Airto [Moreira] playing the trap drums, bringing his Brazilian touch to everything, plus my writing.
At the time I was in love with Miles's "Sketches of Spain," with Gil Evans. I still am. On that record Gil has this fantastic arrangement-it's the second movement of Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez." I fooled around with that theme, extended it and composed some melodies, which turned out to be the main themes of "Spain." I always play Rodrigo's second movement as a keyboard intro.