Louis Clark (27 February 1947 – 13 February 2021) was an English music arranger and keyboard player. He trained at Leeds College of Music. Clark was the conductor and arranger of the orchestra and choir hired to back Electric Light Orchestra’s sound, introduced on their album Eldorado in 1974. He assisted Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy in writing the string arrangements for the studio albums Eldorado, Face the Music, A New World Record, Out of the Blue, Discovery and Xanadu. He later played synthesizers for ELO during their Time tour. In 1983 he returned to arranging and conducting the strings on the Secret Messages album, and in 1986 he played keyboards again with the band on their small number of live dates.
Later he also joined the tour for ELO Part II in celebration of the band’s 25th anniversary. He continued to work with ELO successor group The Orchestra.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
In 1977, Clark arranged the music of Renaissance for their Albert Hall concert with the RPO.
In the early 1980s, he conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on a series of records under the title Hooked on Classics. In 1985, he again worked with Renaissance singer Annie Haslam and the band’s lyricist Betty Thatcher with the RPO to produce the album “Still Life”. In 1982, he released the album “The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays the Queen Collection”, recorded by the Solid Rock Foundation. In 1983, he released the album “The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Beatles Collection”, recorded by the Solid Rock Foundation, at the 20th Concerto Anniversary of The Beatles, having as guest artists Joan Collins, Elena Duran, Honor Hefferman and Roy Wood.
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Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea (June 12, 1941 – February 9, 2021) was an American jazz composer, keyboardist, bandleader, and occasional percussionist. His compositions “Spain”, “500 Miles High”, “La Fiesta”, “Armando’s Rhumba” and “Windows” are widely considered jazz standards. As a member of Miles Davis’s band in the late 1960s, he participated in the birth of jazz fusion. In the 1970s he formed Return to Forever. Along with Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, he is considered one of the foremost jazz pianists of the post-John Coltrane era.
Corea continued to collaborate frequently while exploring different musical styles throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He won 23 Grammy Awards and was nominated over 60 times.
Early life and education
Armando Corea was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, to parents Anna (née Zaccone) and Armando J. Corea. He was of southern Italian descent, his father having been born to an immigrant from Albi comune, in the Province of Catanzaro in the Calabria region. His father, a jazz trumpeter who led a Dixieland band in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s, introduced him to the piano at the age of four. Surrounded by jazz, he was influenced at an early age by bebop and Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Horace Silver, and Lester Young. When he was eight, he took up drums, which would influence his use of the piano as a percussion instrument.
Corea developed his piano skills by exploring music on his own. A notable influence was concert pianist Salvatore Sullo, from whom Corea started taking lessons at age eight and who introduced him to classical music, helping spark his interest in musical composition. He also spent several years as a performer and soloist for the St. Rose Scarlet Lancers, a drum and bugle corps based in Chelsea.
Given a black tuxedo by his father, he started playing gigs when in high school. He enjoyed listening to Herb Pomeroy’s band at the time and had a trio that played Horace Silver’s music at a local jazz club. He moved to New York City, where he studied music at Columbia University, then transferred to the Juilliard School. He quit after finding both disappointing, but remained in New York City.
Corea began his professional career in the early 1960s with Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Blue Mitchell, Herbie Mann, and Stan Getz. He recorded his debut album, Tones for Joan’s Bones, in 1966 (released in 1968). Two years later he released a trio album, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, with Roy Haynes and Miroslav Vitous.
In live performance he frequently processed the output of his electric piano with a device called a ring modulator. Using this style, he appeared on multiple Miles Davis albums, including Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West, and Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East. His live performances with the Davis band continued into 1970, with the final touring band he was part of consisting of saxophonist Steve Grossman, electric organist Keith Jarrett, bassist Dave Holland, percussionist Airto Moreira, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and, of course, Davis on trumpet.
Holland and Corea departed the Davis band at the same time to form their own free jazz group, Circle, also featuring multi-reed player Anthony Braxton and drummer Barry Altschul. This band was active from 1970 to 1971, and recorded on Blue Note and ECM. Aside from exploring an atonal style, Corea sometimes reached into the body of the piano and plucked the strings. In 1971, Corea decided to work in a solo context, recording the sessions that became Piano Improvisations Vol. 1 and Piano Improvisations Vol. 2 for ECM in April of that year.
“The concept of communication with an audience became a big thing for me at the time. The reason I was using that concept so much at that point in my life – in 1968, 1969 or so – was because it was a discovery for me. I grew up kind of only thinking how much fun it was to tinkle on the piano and not noticing that what I did had an effect on others. I did not even think about a relationship to an audience, really, until way later.”
Corea died of cancer at his home in the Tampa Bay area of Florida on February 9, 2021, at age 79. He had only recently been diagnosed.
Awards and honors
Corea won 23 Grammy Awards and was nominated over 60 times.
1976 Best Jazz Performance by a Group – No Mystery (with Return to Forever)
1977 Best Instrumental Arrangement – “Leprechaun’s Dream”
1977 Best Jazz Performance by a Group – The Leprechaun
1979 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group – Friends
1980 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group/Duet (with Gary Burton)
1982 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance , Group – In Concert, Zürich (with Gary Burton)
1989 Best R&B Instrumental Performance – “Light Years”
1990 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group – Chick Corea Akoustic Band
1999 Best instrumental Solo – “Rhumbata” with Gary Burton
2000 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group – Like Minds
2001 Best Instrumental Arrangement – “Spain for Sextet & Orchestra”
2004 Best Jazz Instrumental Solo – “Matrix”
2007 Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group – The Ultimate Adventure
2007 Best Instrumental Arrangement – “Three Ghouls”
2008 Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group – The New Crystal Silence (with Gary Burton)
2010 Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group – Five Peace Band Live
2012 Best Improvised Jazz Solo – “500 Miles High”
2012 Best Jazz Instrumental Album – Forever
2013 Best Improvised Jazz Solo – “Hot House”
2013 Best Instrumental Composition – “Mozart Goes Dancing”
2015 Best Improvised Jazz Solo – “Fingerprints”
2015 Best Jazz Instrumental Album – Trilogy
2020 Best Latin Jazz Album – “Antidote” (with The Spanish Heart Band)
2007 Best Instrumental Album – The Enchantment (with Béla Fleck)
2011 Best Instrumental Album – Forever (with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White)
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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
17: Françoise Cactus, 57, French musician (Stereo Total) and author, breast cancer; Ali Hossain, 80, Bangladeshi composer; Andrea Lo Vecchio, 78, Italian composer, songwriter and record producer, COVID-19; Omar Moreno Palacios, 82, Argentine folk singer-songwriter, guitarist and gaucho, encephalitis.
16: Ludmila Aliocina, 90, Moldovan opera singer; Carman, 65, American Christian singer, complications from hiatal hernia surgery; Soul Jah Love, 31, Zimbabwean reggae singer; Tonton David, 53, French reggae singer, stroke.
15: Steuart Bedford, 81, English conductor and pianist; Florence Birdwell, 96, American educator, musician, and singer; Lucien Gourong, 77, French writer, singer, and storyteller, COVID-19; Andréa Guiot, 93, French operatic soprano, COVID-19; Golnoush Khaleghi, 80, Iranian music researcher, composer, and arranger; Raymond Lévesque, 92, Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and actor (Bernie and the Gang), COVID-19; Johnny Pacheco, 85, Dominican-American musician (Fania All-Stars) and label executive (Fania Records), complications from pneumonia.
14: Erriquez, 60, Italian singer and guitarist (Bandabardò), cancer; Ari Gold, 47, American singer-songwriter, leukemia.
13: Louis Clark, 73, English musical arranger (Electric Light Orchestra, Hooked on Classics), conductor, and keyboardist; Peter G. Davis, 84, American music critic; Sydney Devine, 81, Scottish singer.
12: Milford Graves, 79, American jazz drummer (New York Art Quartet), heart failure; Paolo Isotta, 70, Italian musicologist and writer: Russ Thyret, 76, American music executive, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records (1995–2001).
11: Antonis Kalogiannis, 80, Greek singer, heart attack.
10: Bruce Berger, 82, American writer, poet and pianist, lung disease; Jorge Morel, 89, Argentine classical guitarist and composer; Lee Sexton, 92, American banjo player.
9: Richie Albright, 81, American drummer (Waymore’s Outlaws); Chick Corea, 79, American jazz keyboardist (Return to Forever) and songwriter (“Spain”, “50 Miles High”), 23-time Grammy winner, cancer; Cedrick Cotton, 46, American R&B singer (Ideal), stabbed; Ghédalia Tazartès, 73, French musician.