Award winning jazz pianist Chick Corea and renowned session drummer Steve Gadd are bringing their band to Providence Sunday for a special show kicking off the FirstWorks Artistic Icons 2017-18  season. The show at The Vets in Providence is a rare chance to see 22-Time Grammy-Winning Jazz legend Corea, who has performed with everyone from Miles Davis to Bobby McFerrin to Cab Calloway, who he played his first professional gig with in 1966.

Chick Corea/Steve Gadd Band (Photo: Taylor Crothers)

Corea is excited about coming to Providence this weekend, in advance of a South American tour which begins next week. “Steve and I have been talking about putting a project together for years. It’s finally come to fruition and it’s been a real blast playing together with this great new band,” he noted in a WhatsUpNewp interview.

The band is made up of respected international players from around the Jazz world. “Steve Gadd is from Rochester, NY, Steve Wilson is from Hampton, VA, Luisito Quintero is from Caracas, Venezuela – Carlitos Del Puerto is from Cuba, and Lionel Loueke is from Benin, Africa. I grew up in Chelsea, Massachusetts” explained Corea.

Drummer Gadd is one of the most highly regarded session and studio drummers in the industry. The percussion genius played on Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” as well as the unforgettable disco sensation “The Hustle.” Gadd also played with Return to Forever, Corea’s band that helped usher in the jazz fusion movement in the 1970’s.

Chick Corea (Photo: Taylor Crothers)

Their new album, Chinese Butterfly, due out in early 2018, is an up-tempo funky brew with an international flavor. It includes all new compositions except for the classic “Return to Forever,” which was re-made for the album. Corea shared some thoughts on the modern recording process …

“The technical aspect of making recordings these days is totally changed, in that recording studios are more and more going out of use and recordings are being done in home studios – as this one was. The recording technology has improved in many ways but the sound quality of the recordings of the ‘50s and ‘60s are still yet to be matched.”

As mentioned, the band is off on a tour of South America next week. We wondered if audiences were different there. Corea responded …

“Music lovers are pretty much spiritually the same everywhere. It’s something good human beings hold in common. I guess that’s where we use the phrase ‘Music is the universal language.’ I think the South Americans will particularly enjoy this band because of the rhythm section and the type of grooves the band gets into.”

No doubt, so will the Rhode Island audience. As part of the education mission of FirstWorks, Sunday’s concert will be preceded by a special afternoon “Conversation with Chick Corea and Steve Gadd” moderated by WGBH’s Eric Jackson at the Moses Brown School in Providence. Details here.

Seats are still available for the evening concert at The Vets. Tickets start at $35. Full details here.

More about FirstWorks

FirstWorks is a non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island whose purpose is to build the cultural, educational and economic vitality of its community by engaging audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs. Since 2004, FirstWorks festivals, performances and programs have attracted more than 400,000 participants. The FirstWorks Arts Learning Program reaches over 4,000 students from public and charter schools across Rhode Island with transformative arts-based learning experiences. FirstWorks is Founding Creative Partner for PVDFest, partnering with the City of Providence to produce an international arts celebration held each June that draws tens of thousands of visitors to Providence to experience music, art and spectacular performances. Visit to learn more.

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