Corea competes against himself at Grammys
FILE - This Feb. 12, 2012 file photo shows Chick Corea poses backstage with the awards for best improvised jazz solo for "500 Miles High" and best jazz instrumental album for "Forever" at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Last year, the 71-year-old jazz pianist and composer released four major recordings covering a wide gamut of music _ electric and acoustic, originals and standards, everything from solo piano improvisations to a concerto for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)
NEW YORK (AP) — Chick Corea took the unusual step of releasing four major recordings last year covering a wide gamut of music — everything from solo piano improvisations to a concerto for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra.
Now, the 71-year-old jazz pianist and composer is in the unusual position of competing against himself in two categories at the Feb. 10 awards show in Los Angeles.
"People in the music business say don't make too many records because they'll compete against one another," Corea said in a phone interview. "Well, it's exactly what's happening, but I'm very happy about it because what I love to do is making a lot of music."
His album "Hot House," the latest chapter in his 40-year partnership with vibraphonist Gary Burton, has three nominations — best jazz instrumental album, improvised jazz solo for the title track and instrumental composition for "Mozart Goes Dancing."
"Further Explorations," on which he pays tribute to major influence Bill Evans and is joined by Evans trio alumni drummer Paul Motian and bassist Eddie Gomez, was nominated for best jazz instrumental album and improvised jazz solo for "Alice in Wonderland."
The five Grammy nominations bring Corea's career total to 62, tying him for fourth place with composer John Williams for most nominations. He trails only Quincy Jones (79), Georg Solti (74) and Henry Mancini (71). Corea has won 18 Grammys, including two last year for "Forever," an electric-acoustic album on which the pianist, bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White explored the roots of their groundbreaking 1970s jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever.
Corea appreciated the Grammy recognition for "Further Explorations," one of the last recordings by Motian, who died two months before the album's release in January 2012.
The two-CD set was recorded over two weeks at the Blue Note jazz club nearly 50 years after the release of Evans' landmark "Explorations" LP. Those early Evans recordings with Motian and bassist Scott LaFaro expanded the vocabulary for modern piano-trio jazz, Corea says, by introducing "a conversational approach to playing" in which the drums and bass interacted with the piano as equals.
FILE - In this July 1, 2012 file photo, U.S. pianist Chick Corea during the 46th Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland. Last year, the 71-year-old jazz pianist and composer released four major recordings covering a wide gamut of music _ electric and acoustic, originals and standards, everything from solo piano improvisations to a concerto for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra. (AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron, file)
The album includes originals by each trio member, Evans' own compositions and standards that Evans made his own, such as "Alice in Wonderland" from the Disney film.