8 Consecutive Weeks, 80 Shows,  
15 Legendary Bands, 60 Iconic Musicians
October 19 through December 12, 2016 in New York City
Aaron Meekcoms, courtesy of Chick Corea Productions
New York, NY - June 6, 2016 - This fall, 22-time GRAMMY® Award-winning keyboardist and composer Chick Corea will make history with an unprecedented two-month 75th birthday celebration at The Blue Note, his musical home in New York City

Running October 19 through December 12, 2016, the 80-show engagement will feature Corea leading 15 legendary bands comprised of 60 musical friends from over half a century, marking a birthday celebration groundbreaking in scale, artistry and sheer musical power.

The full residency schedule can be found at the bottom of this press release.

Select highlights include:
  • "The Music of Return to Forever & More"
    The premiere of two unique ensembles playing the music of Return to Forever over the course of two respective weeks: Acoustic featuring Ravi Coltrane (sax), Hubert Laws (flute), Avishai Cohen (bass), and Lenny White (drums); and Electric featuring John McLaughlin (guitar), Victor Wooten (bass), and Lenny White (drums).
  • "For Miles"
    A celebration of the music of Miles Davis, featuring Kenny Garrett (saxophone) Wallace Roney (trumpet), Mike Stern (guitar), Marcus Miller (bass) and Brian Blade (drums).
  • Steve Gadd Week
    A deep dive into Corea's longtime musical partnership with drummer Steve Gadd through two different ensembles:  Three Quartets featuring bassist Eddie Gomez (bass) and Ben Solomon (saxo) and The Leprechaun Band.
  • "Experiments in Electronica"
    Since the 1960s, Corea's pioneering work on electronic keyboards (spanning Miles Davis, Return to Forever and the Elektric Band) has inspired generations of electronic musical innovators. This special two-night run will offer Chick's latest take on all things electronic, joined by Marcus Gilmore (drums) and leading genre-defying electronic explorers (TBA).
Corea's first Blue Note birthday run, marking his 60th anniversary in the fall of 2001, was a cathartic two-week engagement for a city just beginning to heal following the 9/11 attacks. The run produced the GRAMMY®-winning album Rendezvous in New York. In November 2011, he returned to The Blue Note with a month-long 70th birthday residency featuring countless artistic giants. This year's 75th birthday celebration marks his most ambitious Blue Note residency ever.

"From the level of talent that will be presented to the number of shows to the overall duration, this is an unrivaled residency in so many ways," says Steven BensusanPresident of Blue Note Entertainment Group. "You never see an artist take residency in a venue for this amount of time consecutively, and on this scale."

"Though most importantly, the fact that it commemorates our longtime friend and legend Chick Corea's 75th birthday makes this truly special, especially given Blue Note's deep relationship with Chick over the past 30 years," adds Bensusan. "We're looking forward to making history with Chick this fall."

Ticketing Information:
American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets in select markets before the general public beginning Wednesday, June 8 at 1pm EDT through Thursday, June 23 at 12:59pm EDT. Tickets will be available to the general public beginning on Thursday, June 23 at 1pm EDT. All tickets can be purchased at www.bluenotejazz.com or call 212-475-8592.
Chick Corea's 75th Birthday Celebration will feature two shows nightly, at 8pm and 10:30pm.

What We're Listening To ** May 2016

Nia - Nia (2015)
Nagashima Tomoko is Nia. Her self titled debut album was composed, arranged, and produced by jazz trumpet player Takuya Kuroda. It was recorded in NYC and delivers neo soul with quirky and very jazzy vocals, the music has strong jazz undercurrents and employs real instruments, there are several nice solos by all involved. Check it out!

Arno Haas - Back To You (2015)
German saxophone player Arno Haas delivered another picture perfect smooth jazz album, recorded in the US with a long list of top-notch players. Groovy and catchy tracks with lots of great playing by all involved. Very recommended!

Donald Hayes - Front Ground (2016)
Sax player Donald Hayes delivers a really nice smooth album that pushes all the right buttons, guests include Wayman Tisdale, John Stoddart and many more. Thumbs up!

Snarky Puppy - Cucha Vulcha (2016)
This band is on a roll, their latest release is a really spirited and decidedly groovy affair, this band of master players continues to evolve and deliver gem after gem. Don't miss it!

The Atlantic Family - Live At Montreux (1978)
My nod to the past goes to his classic 2LP set which was recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival and features AWB, Klaus Doldinger, Don Ellis, Sonny Fortune, Ben E. King, Herbie Mann, Luther Vandross and many more. Long extended versions with tons of solos, especially notable is their rendition of "Pick Up The Pieces" clocking in at over 21 minutes. Pure mayhem!

Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival 2016

The 5th annual Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival took place like every year at the Protur Biomar Hotel in Mallorca, Spain over the first weekend in May, featuring a top-notch lineup of smooth jazz players, backed by two local bands of professional players from Germany and England. Smooth jazz fans from all over Europe and the US gathered on this Mediterranean island to have fun, meet like-minded music aficionados and mingle with the artists who stay at the same hotel, often with their spouses. This 5 star hotel provides the perfect setting for this event, with the hotel director being a big supporter of the event.

For the early birds, the festival started already on Tuesday with the gala diner with all the artists and musicians present, plus a concert by the local jazz-funk band Saxophobia Funk Project, followed by excursions and other activities the next days for people wanting to experience the island. This year, a local Bodega was visited, enhanced by a concert of Team Harmony, a sax and harmonica duo from Holland.

Wednesday night, the festival opened officially with the Smooth Jazz Allstars, a great jam session with all artist of the festival together which was held open-air at the unfinished church Església Nova in Son Servera, featuring Gerald Albright, Nathan East, Paul Taylor, Steve Cole, Gerald Veasley, Eric Darius, Gail Jhonson, Nils, Joey Sommerville and more.

Thursday night bassist Gerald Veasley did a well received performance, while saxophonist Eric Darius brought the house down with his high energy playing. After this concert, there was the nightly after show chillout party with DJ Richard Edwards, having people partying till the wee hours.

I joined the festivities a little later on Friday with the show of keyboardist Gail Jhonson doing her own music, mainly featuring material from her last two albums Her Story and New Beginnings, with special guest Steve Cole on sax, followed by saxophonist extraordinaire Gerald Albright, who was vowing the crowd with his flawless playing and tight show. A funny thing happened when the Soul Train line he initiated ended up right on the stage, having Gerald jump onto the occasion, inviting everybody to get up on the stage and dance.

Saturday provided four shows, two in the afternoon and two in the evening. Saxophonist Steve Cole kicked it off in style with his soulful playing, being a crowd favorite, his song "Curtis" gave me goosebumps. Next were Peet Project from Hungary, a great band of young players led by violinist Péter Ferencz delivering an upbeat show with lots of catchy songs, entertaining us to the fullest. After the dinner break, world class bassist Nathan East, supported by keyboardist Gail Jhonson who served as musical director, performed material from his current solo release plus a few well selected covers, especially memorable was his rendition of Stevie's "Overjoyed", featuring the sweet sax of Paul Taylor. This was a very sophisticated and varied set. After that, trumpet player Joey Sommerville wrapped up the night with a funky show of instrumentals and vocals as well, he was supported by the great local saxophonist Ramon Miguel, who provided several outstanding solos.

Sunday, the festival came to a close with the shows of saxophonist Paul Taylor, mesmerizing the crowd with his beautiful playing on the alto and soprano saxophones, drawing from his vast catalog, before guitarist Nils provided the last concert, doing material from his current release Alley Cat, plus some of his biggest hits, Paul Taylor guested on two tracks. As an encore, he played a beautiful rendition of "Europa", which ended the festival in style.

Once again, this edition of the Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival was a memorable experience with many exciting musical moments, enjoyable time with friends and artists, and some relaxation in the facilities of the hotel. Mark your calendar for next year's Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival which will take place over the first weekend in May 2017.

Sunday night, the festival came to a close with the gospel show which was ably hosted by saxophonist Kirk Whalum, his Gospel According To Jazz Celebration featured a string of guests and his band, the lineup consisted of Kevin Turner on guitar, Marcus Finnie on drums, Braylon Lacy on bass and John Stoddart on keyboards, plus the great Doxa Gospel Ensemble giving the music a boost with their powerful voices. Kirk Whalum started the show playing solo, entering the hall from the rear and wandering around in the audience. The first guest was Jonathan Butler doing "I Am That I Am", before Kirk Whalum did his instrumental "Nannette" that featured bassist Gerald Veasley, while Kirk Whalum played his flute beautifully, followed by "Madiba", an extended instrumental that allowed the band to solo in several spots. Singer Shelea came to the stage to do a heartfelt vocal, before brother Kevin Whalum did his "Somebody Somewhere" with a sparse acoustic accompaniment and some great vocal artistry, having the audience sing along. The Doxa Gospel Ensemble was featured doing their current song "Summertime" which was very nice. Jonathan Butler did "Be Encouraged" and "I Need You Lord", with the gospel choir lifting those songs to a whole other level. John Stoddard sang the moving "My Tree" just accompanied by his piano, then special guest Donnie McClurkin came to the stage, doing his thing of preaching and singing, he did "Search Me Lord", providing a highlight together with singers Shelea and Kevin Whalum by improvising and scatting, before he did the great "We Fall Down" and "Falling In Love", wrapping up this entertaining show that has become a festival tradition.

Berks Jazz Fest 2016: Keiko Matsui

The Sunday morning brunch was held at the Crowne Plaza ballroom, after a nice breakfast, we were entertained by the lovely Keiko Matsui on the grand piano. She had a new band and a new show. The lineup consisted of Jimmy Branly on drums, Carlitos Del Duerto on acoustic bass (both hailing from Cuba) and J.P. Mourão on acoustic guitar, hailing from Brazil. With this international band in an acoustic setting, Keiko Matsui delivered her unique brand of music, starting with "Night Waltz", followed by "Kappa", later she played the beautiful "Forever, Forever", the band supported her always nicely in a restricted and still effective manner, each band member had his solo spots during the show. She also did a nice instrumental version of "A Drop Of Water" from her first US release that featured Carl Anderson, before the last few songs were done. She was called back for an encore and did one more in a trio setting, wrapping up a varied a special show, starting a new chapter of her career.

Saturday night at 10pm, saxophonist Gerald Albright and guitarist Jonathan Butler appeared at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom. They opened as a duo with Gerald Albright playing the bass and Jonathan Butler playing guitar, singing the Bill Withers' classic "Lovely Day", before the rest of the band joined in. They were backed by a killer band (J.J. Williams on the drums) that played just perfectly. After the guitar led instrumental "African Breeze" providing an African flavor, followed by some of Gerald Albright's early tracks like "G & Lee" featuring his sharp sax playing, then it was time for a few songs, among them "Lies", one of Jonathan Butler's biggest hits. Then Gerald Albright did "Champagne Life" from his 24/7 album and my highlight of the show, JB's "It's A Man's Man's World", killing it. Then it was Jonathan Butler's turn for two more of his songs, among them "Free" from his current album of the same name, and "Living My Dream", before Gerald Albright dug deeply into his catalog with Luther's "So Amazing" and Johnny Gil's "My, My, My", then Jonathan Butler took us back to Africa with the great guitar led instrumental "Catembe", then Gerald Albright did his lengthy rendition of the bluesy "Georgia On My Mind" with turned into a funk party in the end having people get up and dance. This was really great show on the highest level of musicianship.

Berks Jazz Fest 2016: Jazz Funk Soul

Saturday night, I opted to see Jazz Funk Soul featuring Jeff Lorber on keys, Everette Harp on sax and Chuck Loeb on guitar, they were backed by Lionel Cordew on drums and Ron Jenkins on bass, the band sounded beautifully. They did "Speed Of Light" with great playing by all involved, followed by "Connection" featuring Everette Harp on sax, and "Hacienda", the title track of Jeff Lorber's release. Things slowed down with "Going Through Changes", a song dedicated to George Duke that gave Everette Harp the opportunity to stretch out on the sax, before they did their current single from the More Serious Business album, "You'll Know When You Know" and a track from the first album, "Serious Business" complete with some audience participation. They wrapped up their show with another funky track featuring all players, as expected they were called back for an encore and gave us one more head nodding track, finishing a truly great show, one of the best of the whole festival.

After the intermission, The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman took over the stage. The lineup consisted of Bill Heller on keyboards, Dave Karasony on drums, Rico Belled on bass and the great Brandon Fields on saxophone. Russ Freeman led the band through a string of their greatest songs soloing on guitar, they also played several tracks from their upcoming new CD True Stories, kicking off the show with "Wild Tales", followed by their classic "Welcome To The St. James Club", then "Golden Child" from the upcoming album featuring Brandon Fields, a great funky track that went down well with the crowd. Then they did a ballad medley of their most cherished tracks, before they did "Sundance" from the upcoming release and several more songs from their vast catalog. The band played beautifully like clockwork, each one is an accomplished player and it is always a pleasure to hear this seminal band.

Saturday afternoon, we got another double bill, first appeared saxophonist Jackiem Joyner with special guest Selina Albright on vocals. The two are touring together. Jackiem Joyner started the show with two great instrumentals featuring his special brand of saxophone, then Selina Albright joined the stage to do "Don't Shake It Up", "You And I" (co-written with her father, saxophonist Gerald Albright), before Jackiem Joyner continued with his own "Free". Selina Albright came back to do her heartfelt rendition of Beyoncé's "If I Were A Boy", this lady definitely can sing! Next was Floetry's "Say Yes" with some beautiful sax work and a hot guitar solo by J.J. Sanseverino, and "Brighter", a song Selina Albright wrote for her husband. The show was finished with "I'm Waiting For You", one of Jackiem Joyner's biggest hits, bringing a great show to an end.

Berks Jazz Fest 2016: Jazz meets James

Friday night at 10pm the highly anticipated Jazz Meets James show led by Nick Colionne was due. The 3 piece Berks Horns were with the band adding additional fuel to the music. Trombonist Jeff Bradshaw walked all over the stage playing like Fred Wesley, bringing us right up to speed, then saxophonists Kim Waters, Marion Meadows, Jeanette Harris, Eric Darius and Gerald Albright contributed some hot playing, while guitarist J.J. Sanseverino propelled things with a funky rhythm guitar. Jay Rowe played the keys, the rest of the players were from Nick Colionne's band. The selection of material was first rate, they went through their renditions of "Gonna Have A Funky Good Time", "Make It Funky", before things slowed down with a great rendition of "It's A Man's Man's World" featuring saxophonists Kim Water and Jeanette Harris, both putting all their hearts into the performance, this was a highlight of the show for me. J.J. Sanseverino was the featured player on "Cold Sweat" with some burning guitar, complete with some audience participation. The show continued with "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "Pass The Peas" with some great trombone by Jeff Bradshaw and the inevitable "Sex Machine". They finished their show with Nick Colionne going out into the audience doing his "Whatta 'Bout You" having people get up and dance, this was a riot as usual. This was a fun and entertaining show by a great bunch of players that did the legacy of JB ample justice.