The Story behind my First Meeting with Chick Corea

It took me some days, before I’m able to talk about my souvenirs about and “with” Chick Corea. I unfortunatly never had the chance to know him personnally, but i had some meeting with him, mainly during or after one of his concert, and some connection, here tonight one of my “story” about Chick , as he completly changed my life and moved the “didier which was planning to be a computer engineer” to “Didier, the Jazz Pianist who want to spend the rest of his life to play jazz gigs !”.

Inside Out is my fav chick’s album, not only my fav Elektric Band Album, but my Fav Album of Chick too, but people never talk about it, it’s usually about return to forever, Spain, The first elektric band, The collaboration with Paco De Lucia (Touchstone), or the album Spanish Heart with Steve Gadd and with French’s violonist Jean Luc ponty as guest.
it’s what usually come to the mind to everybody, not this album.

by Didier Martini

Inside out is a masterpiece, or what i’ll call “The Masterpiece”. The 4 part tunes Tale from the Daring, is for me one of the most amazing piece of music ever recorded.

I listened this album so much that in my memory each notes, from the solos to the tunes, to each notes hit by Dave (Weckl) on drums, each sweeping line from Gambale (Guitar), each piano / synth harmonies, each sound out of the Alto sax from Eric Marienthal and each Bass line from John Patitucci is graved for life in my memory… I can litterally sing each notes from the first one of the record to the last one 1 hour later.

This album was litterally Bartok meeting Jazz Fusion. one of the most amazing piece of Art and music which came in my life at this moment.

I remember litterally running from the highschool to the CD music store in my town to buy the “new release” of the Chick Corea Elektric Band, like if santa told me “run !! there is a gift who wait you there !”

I remember coming back at home with the record, like i’m wearing some piece out of an indiana Jones movie, turning on my Sony CD player. We were in 1990, i was 16 years old, and i was not yet able to play Chick’s music on piano in the “right” or “good” way, and didn’t meet yet, my second “Musical Master”, Pianist Robert Persi.

I remember to put the disc into the CD player, and hit “Play” listening to the opening title from the record, “Inside Out”. Remembering telling “Shut up !” to my mum who wanted to talk to me while i was listening to the record… “Shut up, it’s the new chick’s album !! i’m listening !” ! lol..

what’s for sure, is that what i was listening was absolutly and totally unexpected. I didn’t know what to think about the album or the music at this moment, it was totally different than anything i listened so far, not only from chick , but from everybody else !

This is the kind of album that you discover at each listening, and on the first listening, you don’t know what to think or to tell, kind of “What IS THAT ?” lol…

I was hearing in it some influences from Masterplan, a piece that Chick wrote for the first album solo of drummer Dave Weckl, and so “ok, I see the connection in the writing !! it make sense !”
It was litterally Modern classical music meeting Jazz, Rock all this written and connected in a Progressive Rock way ! it became one if not my favorite album of all time.
The first time of my life i could have the chance to talk privatly to Chick was backstage during the Beneath the Mask Tour in 1992.
I’ll hear for the first time, live, the tune “Blue Miles”, that will be played during the concert in “avant premiere”, a tune that will be recorded for the next Elektric Band Record after this tour, the “Elektric Band II”.
The Concert opened with an amazing version of Medieval Overture, that i’ll never forget.
I was kind of chocked to see that the Concert Hall, the “Theatre de verdure”, which is not very far from where i’m writing this text, was not “full”. maybe the hall had only a 2/3 of his audience.
Then, We’re in the midle of the concert, the band does a pause, and i’m invited by someone i know to come backstage, as this person was kind of part of the production team of the concert this night,
“hey didier, come on, let’s met chick !”.
I have my songbook of Inside Out with me, my heart is beating hard, “i’ll meet “My Musical Master” !! There was no words to describe this moment.
i’m Climbing the security Metal protections around the stage, a security guard watch us in a weird way “no no, the kid is with me , it’s ok !” and the first person I met is dave weckl on the road to the backstage.
He has been so kind this night, I was so excited and at the same time so frightened, meeting my musical Heroes… I didn’t know how to spell my name correctly, so he waited until we find a way so he could write the autograph to my name correctly, thank you Dave for your patience and your kindness !
Then, we continue to the backstage and Chick is there. I’m introduced to him “here is the kid i talked you about !”
“hoooo, nice to meet you Didier !!” and we started to talk…
My english was awful (and still is !) so the person who was with me help a bit and they start to talk about Mozart, because this person was one of Mozart’s specialist in my town, and so Chick tell me that he will release soon a recording of some Mozart’s Concerto.
I ask him (we’re in 1992) if he plans to record one day his own Piano concerto and he told me “yes, but before i’ll release a new piano solo album”. He was talking about “Expressions” released one year later.
What is great with meeting people backstage not at the end of a concert is that everybody is pretty calm, not tired yet by the full concert lenght, they were doing a pause, driking something, resting a bit, talking with some persons, in the audience or backstage and it was the perfect moment to meet them..
I leave Chick to shake the hand of Jimmy Earl, who replaced john patitucci on this tour, and i tell him how much i loved his recording and Solo on Truth in Shreeding, a record that Frank Gambale did with Allan Holdsworth, Tommy Bretchlein on drums and Freddy Ravel on Keyboards. Then, it was time to meet Frank Gambale, i tell him the story that one of my best friend, was his english – french translator for one of his masterclass which happened one year ago, he remember my friend, Tomi, and we talked a bit about this, and frank autographed my inside out book as well. The only one i couldn’t talk to was Eric Marienthal, who stayed on the stage to talk with some fans in the audience, but if you would have told me this night, that i’ll get the chance to “talk” to Eric 20 years later because he will record, with Dave Weckl, some of my own tunes, I would have never beleived you.
At the end of the concert, I came back at home with my Inside Out book autographied by Chick, Jimmy, Frank and Dave, and 31 years later, this book is still on my piano next to me.
Thank you Chick for Everything and for all the dreams you put in the head of this 16 years old kid that night, A night and a moment that i’ll remember Forever.

(Pictures taken by me, sorry for the blurry effect on them, but we were not allowed to use or own any Flash lighting gear, fortunatly I was aware of that and I had a High sensitive Film with me to take the pictures, but at 16 years old, I was not “that good” to take pictures with a Camera which, back then , didn’t had any stabilisation effect, with such a film sensitive !)

Didier Martini,  16th February 2021.