by Sybille Forster-Rentmeister
I have been a Chick Corea fan for a very long time, dating back to my years as a student and freshly married wife in Germany, but did not meet him until a few years ago when he played the Music Palace in Toronto. In the audience I was surrounded by nearly all musicians. I wondered why they all turned out and asked as many as I could for a reason. I was told: "Are you kidding? He IS the master, the Beethoven of our times! We come to listen learn and steal!" And I thought to myself: and obviously to admireÖ!!!!!
Yes, that is what it was that was standing in the room, permeating every nook and cranny, admiration. That is all I could do too. I was almost in awe when someone took me backstage to meet him in his dressing room.
I do not get star struck easily, but was smitten by his unassuming nature, his total disinterest in being interesting. All he cared about was the communication of what had caught his attention and he wanted to share it to his best ability with other musicians and with an audience. He lets others into his universe through his music, and the inner sanctum is amazing to those that can understand what he is all about.
He was recently back in Toronto on tour for his newest album To the Stars, written by way of inspiration through an L. Ron Hubbard book by the same name, which tells a science fiction story with a unique relevance, even today.
Both book and CD are fabulous, each for its own reason. The realization of this project "is a dream come true" for him, he said. And I believe him. He has never been better in his interpretation of the spiritual nature of man and his conquest of all there is to know and create. To me it appeared as though he was playing, even toying with the keyboards with more ease than ever before. The melodies soared and wove their way through galaxies of time, transporting an adoring audience into unknown quarters of their own personal universes.
This certainly was true for a group of young students from Rosedale Heights School Of The Arts, an inner city high school that was transformed largely by music, as David Hayes, the Head of the Performing Arts Department explained to me, when I visited him in his school.
The school was well known for loosing a lot of kids too early and too fast to drugs, crime and violence. Transforming the school into something these kids would like to hang around in long enough to make a better-informed decision became his lifeís passion. Starting with a revamped music program, that turned a fairly average curriculum with 6 kids participating into a jazzy affair he could catch their interest with and hold it long enough to play a few cords: If you want out of the vicious circle you can take advantage of the school and its program, use and develop your talents, make something out of yourself, become a somebody, butÖ butÖ well, but you can only be in my program if you do NOT do drugs!
Needless to say the program is now packed with kids who have had some extraordinary experiences due to the imaginative support from an extraordinary teacher. There has not been any violence in 15 years in the school, and walking through the halls one does not feel hallowed at all, but rather in the middle of life, creative and exciting. There is art everywhere, expressive, innovative, some of it extraordinary!
As the only of now 4 schools in Toronto for artistically talented children, Rosedale Heights is truly an equalizer and the only school that does not require the kids to audition. All a kid has to have is a dream, a dream strong enough to be willing to hang tough and stick around, and be willing to work hard. The focus is on the performing and visual arts. Being in that school is a most interesting experience.
The concert was sponsored for a bunch of jazz interested students by the "Inner City Angels". Mr. Hayes had the students write to the organization about their experience in regards to the concert. They describe what happened better than I could. Here are their letters:
Chick Corea...What a Show
When I heard I was getting free Chick Corea tickets, I didnít really know what to expect. I mean, I had heard the name, I knew he was a big piano player, but I had never really Heard any of his music, other than a live recording with him and Herbie Hancock. That didnít give me a real taste though. Little did I know I was about to see one of the best Shows I had ever seen. I am a huge music fan, and my interests range from playing to listening to writing and everything in between. I am heavily influenced by many artists, constantly looking for new things to incorporate in music that I play, or new bands to listen. I love going to concerts, and have been to many jazz concerts in Toronto. I am especially interested in jazz piano. I have seen Herbie Hancock, John Arpin, and Bill Charlap. I walked into the theatre and was amazed at the seats we had, we even got a mini-workshop from John Arpin and free drinks, I was blown away. Then we went in, and the show just got me. All of these musicians were so good, and they were all major influences on me. When I see musicians with that talent, it just makes me crave to play music and to play like them. I would like to thank the inner city angels for allowing me to see that show. Without the organization I would have never been able to see it, and it really changed my views on music. It also introduced me to John Arpin, who I saw a couple weeks later at the St. Lawrence Center, courtesy of the inner city angels. I am a total supporter of the organization and I believe it is an extremely generous and kind idea.
Id like to thank the inner city angels for getting me tickets to a concert where I walked out speechless, not able to say anything, not able to describe how amazing it was, and changing my views on jazz music.
My name is Hayley Bums, Iím in grade 11, and I recently went to go see the Chick Corea Concert at Massey Hall. I was so impressed by the concert and so grateful that I had the chance to experience it. I love Massey as a venue, and we had such great seats that allowed us to see every aspect of the concert. Each musician was incredibly talented as individuals, and when they came together it was phenomenal. Each solo inspired me and by the end I was speechless, please continue this program that you am running because without it I would not have had this chance. The Chick Corea concert was the best concert I have ever been to. It was unforgettable!
Dear Inner-city Angles, my name is Tedros Wosik and I am a student of David Hayes who received one of the tickets to see Chick Corea at Massey Hall. I would like to express y personal thanks for allowing me to see that amazing concert which changed my view of musicianship and allowed me to experience the music of these incredibly skilled musicians.
The show began with John Arpinís introduction and piano playing which was very good and an introduction to Chick Coreaís music. The show was about to begin. Chick Corea is someone whose music I have followed for many years and continue to enjoy to this day. The combination of his piano, the bass, guitar and drums together blew the audience away, myself included. After a standing ovation, Chick Corea returned to play a final song.
I thank you for allowing me to view this show as well as providing tickets for John Arpinís concert soon after. I would also like to express my thanks to your organization for allowing many other young people to experience other high quality performances out of your gratuity.
My name is Simone Zucker and I am fortunate to receive a concert ticket for Chick Corea. This concert was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. I had never heard this genre of music before and it blew me away. Chick Corea and the Elektric Band are very talented musicians and they inspired me to continue playing music and trumpet. I was amazed how well the group played together and how tight they were. I am very thankful for this experience and I hope to have many more in the future.
Chickís Electric Band performs at Massey Hall
On Wednesday, Nov 3, I was lucky enough to have the privilege of seeing 12 time Grammy award winner Chick Corea and Ďs band play my favorite venue in Toronto Massey Hall. The band was unbelievable they put on a show like nothing else. To open they performed their new album which is full of technical rampages and deep, solid grooves that put everybody who attended in a state of shock. The set up was Chick Corea on keyboards, Frank Gambale on guitars, Eric Marienthal on sax, John Patitucci on bass and Dave Weckl on drums. They are some of the top musicians in the world today.
The concert blew us away. The group I went with were all musicians who look up to players like these guys all the time. We all caught different things about the performance; there was so much talent and great playing to watch. There was a connection between the musicians and the communication was beyond words. It proved they could play whatever they wanted to and make it sound great. When the concert was over we all found ourselves thinking how is it possible to be that good, we couldnít come up with an answer. We are all were grateful for the experience this concert gave us, we enjoyed immensely.
By Lowell Whitty
Zak ĎHummusí Miller
Chick Corea and the Elektric band
Send mail to email@example.com
questions or comments about this web site.