Steve Vai Recalls The Story Of His Collaboration With Chick Corea

The guitar master Steve Vai posted a picture of himself posing with the recently deceased jazz legend, Chick Corea, on his Instagram account to bid him farewell and opened up about their collaboration for the song titled ‘The Rumble’ within a record called ‘The Songs of West Side Story.’

As you may know, three-time Grammy Award winner Steve Vai started his career at a very young age when he was hired as a transcriptionist for Frank Zappa and played in his band for three years. Since the beginning of his career, Vai has released eight solo albums and collaborated with various iconic musicians including David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, and Alcatrazz.

Recently, Steve Vai had to say goodbye to one of the legendary musicians he has worked with, the well-known jazz composer Chick Corea. Vai shared a picture with Corea in his official Instagram account and wrote an open letter to bid his friend and fellow musician farewell. In the caption of his post, Steve wrote about the time he found an opportunity to work with ‘the great Chick Corea.’

Apparently, the two legends collaborated on the song named ‘The Rumble’ for a record called ‘The Songs of West Side Story.’ Referring to it as ‘one of the highlight studio experiences for him,’ Vai stated that he was so impressed by Corea’s improvised solo on piano for the intro of the song that he could hardly start to play his part. Steve also thanked Chick for the first real taste of rich fusion music that he created with his jazz fusion band, Return to Forever.

Here is how Steve Vai bid farewell to Chick Corea in the caption of his post:

“I was very fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with the great Chick Corea. It was on the song ‘The Rumble’ for a record called ‘The Songs of West Side Story.’
This is a brilliant piece of music that was arranged by the phenomenal David Pack in which he created this rumble battle feel between ‘Chick Corea’s Elektrik Band vs. Steve Vai’s Monsters.’ It was recorded live at Ocean Way Studios & I recall that between both bands we had perhaps 15 musicians in the studio. It remains one of the highlight studio experiences for me.

One of the things that I remember so vividly was the intro. It was meant to start with about a minute of Chick playing an improvised solo on piano, and then we would all come in. After Chick did the intro, we were stunned into silence. I could hardly start the song being so absolutely blown away by the immense genius of this man’s performance. We did perhaps 3 takes of the entire song @ each time Chick took to the piano to do his intro, something completely different but completely blow-away came out of him. It was remarkable.

But perhaps the most fun came when Chick came up to my Mothership Studio with his electric piano that was slung over his body like a guitar, and we really dueled. So much fun.

You can listen to ‘The Rumble’ through the link in my bio.

You can hear Chick’s Elektrik band panned somewhat left, and my ‘Monsters’ panned right. It really is quite cool and has such intense energy to it. Absolutely brilliant arrangement by David Pack & it was so so so so fantastic to be in that room with all those musicians and have that opportunity. It’s all one take and we were reading the music, but it retains that high energy live feel.

Chick was brilliant beyond beyond. He brought us the first real taste of rich fusion music with the historic ‘Return to Forever.’ I was 15 years old when I saw this band at Hofstra Playhouse and it had a tremendous impact on me. This is where I first heard one of my most powerful sources of inspiration, the great Al Di Meola. I highly recommend checking out the music of ‘Return to Forever.’ It’s a gift to music lovers.

Rest In Peace Dear Chick, and thank you for all you gave us.”

The legendary jazz composer, keyboardist, and bandleader, Chick Corea passed away on February 9, 2021. The iconic musician died at the age of 79 at his home in Florida sadly losing his battle with cancer.

Click here to see the Instagram post.