As usual Ethan Iverson gets his subject to talk about music at an accessible but still sophisticated level and also to open up about some really interesting stuff.
FH: There were many more of them. And then there were some Chick Corea clones — the big three. But the Herbie clone thing lasted longer. I was listening on the radio on WBGO the other day, and it was some singer, and the piano player sounded so much like Herbie. It was like, he lifted all of Herbie’s greatest licks, and I thought, “Oh, that’s sad, just sad.”
Chick: I happened by Now He Sings Now He Sobs; I had never heard of it, and that was another “Jesus, what was that?” record. Like, “whoa.” I mean, I heard Light as a Featherand I heard that, and that was like, “That was the same guy?” And I got one calledInner Space, a two CD set, which is a really nice set and on there is a piece for flute, bassoon and piano, like a classical piece, which is really kind of nice. And you know, I certainly followed him a lot for a while, but certainly only to the point that he started going into the Elektric band and the Akoustic band, and “Captain Marvel” and “Leprechaun” whatever… and I haven’t bought a Chick record in 30 years.
He’s in there somewhere. But I hear Chick’s influence more in, like you said, Richie Beirach, or Joanne Brackeen, than myself.
EI: It’s funny. Chick’s lines are thornier than McCoy’s, but paradoxically squarer than McCoy’s, do you know what I mean?
FH: Chick is basically early McCoy, a bit of Bud Powell and a lot of Latin music, if you have to reduce it.
EI: He has this truly incredible facility at the instrument.
FH: Oh, he does.
EI: Unbelievable facility. But even when he plays out, I hear the grids going along in a way that I don’t hear when I hear McCoy.
FH: He’s never had a touch or a sound that invited me in. Some people’s sounds I just connect with, and I find him more admirable than enjoyable, whereas Herbie I can really enjoy, and early McCoy I can really enjoy, and a lot of Keith, if I put aside who he is, I can really enjoy it. But other than those first early records that I bought, I don’t find Chick particularly enjoyable.
EI: There’s something off-putting there, I agree. But he’s one of those guys who is the quintessential jam musician, who can show up and play with anybody.
FH: And sound great.
EI: And sound great. Despite the Akoustic band and everything else, he has something where he could show up anywhere in the world at a jam session, and not only would he play incredible, everyone else would play better too.