For our Jan.-Feb. 2014 keyboard issue, we asked John Medeski, the adaptable, groove-smart pianist and organist best known for his work in Medeski Martin & Wood, to interview one of his foremost influences, Chick Corea. Medeski and Corea, ages 48 and 72, respectively, had never met or corresponded before this telephone conversation in late November. But their dialogue, ethereal and practical and marked by mutual respect, demonstrates a great cross-generational kinship.
John Medeski: I was just checking out your most recent record, The Vigil (Concord Jazz), and it’s really great-so alive and vital. A lot of jazz musicians end up being sort of caricatures of themselves, or they’re playing the exact same songs they did a million years ago, but somehow it’s still your voice and you’re keeping it alive and pushing forward. Is there anything you do in your life that helps you keep vital like that?