Chick Corea: My Spanish Heart (1976)

Quintessential Corea. My Spanish Heart displays the duality of Chick Corea’s music: the Romantic classicist on one hand, the mad Moogician on the other. Though born in New England, the Latin music of Corea’s home has followed him throughout his career. On My Spanish Heart, we follow Corea as he paints the brilliant nightsky, sheltered gardens, proud hilltops and street festivals of a Spain remembered. Featuring only a handful of carefully chosen collaborators, these songs become a showcase for Corea’s articulate playing garnished with graceful flourishes, a style that draws comparison to past Romantic composers Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin. (Incidentally, I don’t invoke these titans of the tinkling ivory lightly; to my mind, Corea earns their esteemed company on this outing.) Of the songs and cycles featured here, “Armando’s Rhumba” deserves first mention. It is one of the few Corea originals to become a classic in his lifetime. Joined by violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, the pair blend their sympathetic styles into a timeless celebration of sound. Also notable is Corea’s transposing of the flamenco for keyboards, exhibited in “Day Danse” and the opening of the four-part “Spanish Fantasy.” These pieces, and to a large extent the entire effort, are forcibly stamped with a Spanish mood. Not that you wouldn’t find the same themes at work on many Corea albums; the airy vocals of Gayle Moran on “Love Castle” or the intellectual pursuits of “Day Danse” and sections of “Spanish Fantasy” are hybrids that Corea has revisited many times over his career. What separates My Spanish Heart from the horde of also-rans is the consistent twisting of the diamond to illuminate a different and yet related facet of Corea’s Spanish fancy. Throwing the listener in the midst of the party on “Night Streets,” then painting a peaceful scene with Stanley Clarke on “The Hilltops,” keeps the audience attuned to the great variety of sounds that Spain can evoke. And Corea even finds occasion to deflate his own balloon for the humorous grotesques of “El Bozo.” At once refined and passionate, My Spanish Heart gets to the heart of Chick Corea’s appeal like no other album I own from him.

Original 2LP Version
A1. Love Castle (4:47)
A2. The Gardens (3:11)
A3. Day Danse (4:29)
A4. My Spanish Heart (1:37)
A5. Night Streets (6:02)
B1. The Hilltop (6:15)
B2. The Sky (5:01)*
Part 1: Children’s Song No. 8
Part 2: Portrait of Children’s Song No. 8
B3. Wind Danse (4:55)
C1. Armando’s Rhumba (5:19)
C2. Prelude To El Bozo (1:36)
C3. El Bozo, Part I (2:49)
C4. El Bozo, Part II (2:06)
C5. El Bozo, Part III (4:56)
D1. Spanish Fantasy, Part I (6:07)
D2. Spanish Fantasy, Part II (5:11)
D3. Spanish Fantasy, Part III (3:09)
D4. Spanish Fantasy, Part IV (5:04)

All music composed and arranged by Chick Corea.
* Does not appear on original compact disc versions because of time limitations.

CD reissue bonus track
18. The Clouds (4:33)

The Players
Chick Corea (acoustic piano, mini-moog, Moog 15, ARP Odessy (Odyssey), Yamaha organ, Polymoog, Fender piano, handclapping, foot stomping, male choir), Don Alias (percussion), Steve Gadd (drums), Gayle Moran (vocals and vocal choir) with Ariaga Quartet [Connia Kunka (second violin), Carol Mukogawa (viola), Barry Socher (first violin), David Speltz (cello)], Stuart Blumberg (trumpet), Stanley Clarke (acoustic bass), Ron Moss (trombone), Jean-Luc Ponty (violin on C1), John Rosenberg (trumpet), John Thomas (lead trumpet), Narada Michael Walden (handclapping on C1). Produced by Chick Corea; engineered by Bernie Kirsh; recording manager: Ron Moss.

The Pictures
Photography by Kenneth McGowan. Art direction by Peter Corriston/MIke Doud. Photo manipulation by David Heffernan. Calligraphy by Hal Fiedler.

The Plastic
Released on 2LP and 8-track in November 1976 in the US (Polydor, PD-2/8T2-9003), the UK (Polydor, 2672 031), Germany (Polydor, 2669 034 on sleeve, 2929 031 on label) and Japan (Polydor, MPZ-8103/4) with gatefold cover; reached #55 on the US charts and #2 on the US Jazz charts.

  1. Re-issued on 2LP in 1981 in Japan (Polydor, 30MJ-9010/1) with gatefold cover.
  2. Re-released on edited compact disc in 1990 in the US (Polydor, 825 657-2) with 1 track deleted.
  3. Re-issued on edited compact disc in Japan (Polydor, UCCU-5121) with 1 track deleted.
  4. Re-released on remastered, expanded compact disc on March 7, 2000 worldwide (Polygram/Verve, 543 303) with 1 bonus track.
  5. Re-issued on compact disc on May 26, 2003 in Japan (Universal).
  6. Re-issued on compact disc on October 20, 2010 in Japan (Polydor, UCCU-9898).
  7. Re-released on super high material compact disc on November 23, 2016 in Japan (Polydor, UCCU-5779).

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