RIP Chick Corea
As someone who views Scientology as a kind of cult, I believe at the individual level, even someone following something that is controversial can inform art-making at the individual spiritual level. Instrumental music perhaps allows more room for the transcendent because it doesn't use language, often fraught with polemics. He certainly was a "Clear" and it showed in the sense of joy that came through in every performance. (Same for Herbie Hancock)
While watching some of his instructional videos the past year I noticed weight loss and perhaps some signs of dementia. I wondered what was going on. But it didn't affect the music at all--only the discussion of it, which relates to language being a separate aspect of music entirely, or connected to music in intimate ways as being inherently melodic and rhythmic and not intellectual in the way we think and analyze music when we're not playing it.
He was "an-anhedonic":
"Previous research shows that the vast majority of people who enjoy music show an increase in heart rate or skin conductance—where a person’s skin temporarily becomes a conductor of electricity in response to something they find stimulating. Musical anhedonics, however, show no such physiological change to music." https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/03/please-dont-stop-the-music-or-do-stop-the-music-i-dont-really-mind/519099/
His passing also got me thinking about the dialectics between music and technology.
I've always thought that John Coltrane was the bridge between jazz and rock. But all musicians during the late 60s and early 70s were all on that same bridge leading to somewhere more interesting and exciting. As Rick Beato said in his tribute video, Chick Corea's Elektric Band was almost a kind of a heavy rock, and certainly Return To Forever and Al Dimeola's harder-edged humbucker guitar vibe. (The Moog synths on mid-70s records was also a way to mimic guitar leads--a bridging or blurring of the two).
You can't say that any one artist is a bridge in itself, because many people are on the same bridges. And it also applies to life in general: people have to recognize that there are bridges that are worth crossing. (Personally, I think the AI bridge isn't finished).
As it relates to musical instrument development, it's interesting to revisit performances in the early days of synthesizers. In retrospect, some of the early synths didn't actually sound that great, and it would be hard to use those sounds in new recordings because they might be too vintage. What you need to do is identify which instruments that are currently being developed, or are new, which could be used for bridging the current state of musical electronics to whatever is next. And they have to be seen as transformational or paradigmatic, i.e. actually seeing an artist using a new Roland or Korg with identifiable branding. This indicates that new ideas about musical instruments have been successfully released to the market. (As opposed to hacking new instruments).
This reminds me of the late Taro Kakehashi, founder of Roland. We need those kinds of inventors with passion and intensity to serve the creative needs of musicians as tools for new approaches to music-making.
"I believe that the area of music education, the function of which is to increase the number of people who understand the joy of music, will be the largest beneficiary of the information revolution moving forward. When approaching the use of new digital tools to disseminate educational content, it is best to do so with a blank slate. You do not need to pay admission to enter paradise. All you have to do is take your friends along." (p. 235)
See the book: An Age Without Samples