Chick Corea - piano; Herbie Hancock - piano
1978 was a year that included a flurry of activity for Chick Corea, one of the most important jazz keyboardists and composers of the modern era. During 1978, he released no less than five albums on three labels and toured as a solo pianist. He also performed as part of a duo with Herbie Hancock and with his first post-Return To Forever band, which included Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, and former RTF member, Joe Farrell. Corea had come off a 1976 Grammy win for Return To Forever's Romantic Warrior LP, and eclipsed contemporaries such as Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson as the most in-demand jazz pianist.
After the fury of the rock-jazz fusion quartet version of Return To Forever, Corea was eager to return to an acoustic format that allowed him greater musical flexibility and improvisation; hence this recording from a tour done with his friend and mentor, Herbie Hancock.
Corea had taken piano lessons as a child, encouraged by a musical family. His biggest influences in his early years were Bud Powell and Horace Silver. He worked with Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo (1962-1963), Blue Mitchell (1964 -1966), Herbie Mann, and Stan Getz. He made his recording debut in 1966's with an LP called Tones for Joan's Bones featuring his first trio (with Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes).
He worked with Sarah Vaughan and then Corea joined Miles Davis' band filling in for Herbie Hancock when he was unable to do a Davis gig. Eventually, he replaced Hancock. While with Davis, he performed on several landmark LPs, including In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Miles Davis at the Fillmore. It was after the Davis experience that Corea came into his own as a jazz pianist.
By the time 1973 had rolled around, he formed the first version of Return To Forever, mainly as an acoustic-driven Latin jazz ensemble. The following year, with the addition of 19-year-old Berkeley Music graduate, Al Di Meola, Return To Forever (featuring Stanley Clarke on bass and Lenny White on drums) had become one of the premier jazz-rock fusion bands.
But after RTF disbanded in 1977, Corea was eager to return to a more acoustic sound. This recording, although only two songs, is from his legendary 1978 tour with Herbie Hancock, where both pianists performed as a duo. The two would eventually release both a studio and live album before each returned to their various solo projects. Corea would continue to work as a solo act and with various combination bands, both electric and acoustic.