Three Quartets

Last updated
Three Quartets
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1981
RecordedJanuary/February 1981 at Mad Hatter Studios Los Angeles, California
Genre Post-bop, jazz rock
Length39:03 (original album) / 61:03 (CD reissue)
Label Stretch Records
Producer Chick Corea
Chick Corea chronology
Live in Montreux
Three Quartets
Trio Music
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [1]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [2]

Three Quartets is a jazz album released in 1981 by American jazz pianist Chick Corea, in collaboration with saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Steve Gadd. All compositions are by Corea who wanted to create an album of quartets like the many string quartets of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Impressionist periods; however, he would use jazz instrumentation.

Chick Corea American pianist, keyboardist, and composer

Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea is an American jazz pianist/electric keyboardist and composer. His compositions "Spain", "500 Miles High", "La Fiesta" and "Windows", are considered jazz standards. As a member of Miles Davis's band in the late 1960s, he participated in the birth of jazz fusion. In the 1970s he formed the fusion band Return to Forever. With Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Keith Jarrett, he has been described as one of the major jazz piano voices to emerge in the post-John Coltrane era.

Michael Brecker American musician

Michael Leonard Brecker was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. He was awarded 15 Grammy Awards as both performer and composer. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2004, and was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2007.

Steve Gadd American drummer

Stephen Kendall Gadd is an American drummer, percussionist, and session musician. Gadd is one of the most well-known and highly regarded session and studio drummers in the industry, recognized by his induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1984. Gadd's performance on Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", "Late In The Evening" and Steely Dan's "Aja" are examples of his style. He has worked with popular musicians from many genres including Simon & Garfunkel, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Kate Bush, Joe Cocker, Grover Washington Jr., Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, Paul Desmond, Chet Baker and Al Di Meola.


"Quartet No. 1" uses a 1-chord (G altered) solo vamp over a rock beat in 3/4, and a repeated theme that uses stacked fourths. The second track, "Quartet No. 2 (Part I)" is a ballad, dedicated to jazz pioneer Duke Ellington, incorporating many of the Western classical harmonies and tensions that Ellington used in much of his playing. "Quartet No. 2 (Part II)" is dedicated to jazz saxophone legend John Coltrane.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Ballad form of verse, often a narrative set to music

A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, which were originally "danced songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and song of Ireland and Britain from the later medieval period until the 19th century. They were widely used across Europe, and later in Australia, North Africa, North America and South America. Ballads are often 13 lines with an ABABBCBC form, consisting of couplets of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables. Another common form is ABAB or ABCB repeated, in alternating 8 and 6 syllable lines.

Duke Ellington American jazz musician, composer and band leader

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.

Track listing

All compositions by Chick Corea except as noted.

  1. "Quartet No. 1" – (10:16)
  2. "Quartet No. 3" – (9:41)
  3. "Quartet No. 2" - Part I (Dedicated to Duke Ellington)" – (7:09)
  4. "Quartet No. 2" - Part II (Dedicated to John Coltrane)" – (12:01)

The CD reissue contains several tracks that were recorded during the same sessions as the original album but not released at the time. These are:

  1. "Folk Song" – (5:51)
  2. "Hairy Canary" – (3:43)
  3. "Slippery When Wet" – (6:02)
  4. "Confirmation" (Charlie Parker) – (6:17)

Corea plays drums on "Confirmation" instead of Steve Gadd.


Piano musical instrument

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.

Tenor saxophone type of saxophone

The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. The tenor and the alto are the two most commonly used saxophones. The tenor is pitched in the key of B (while the Alto is pitched in the key of E), and written as a transposing instrument in the treble clef, sounding an octave and a major second lower than the written pitch. Modern tenor saxophones which have a high F key have a range from A2 to E5 (concert) and are therefore pitched one octave below the soprano saxophone. People who play the tenor saxophone are known as "tenor saxophonists", "tenor sax players", or "saxophonists".

Double bass Acoustic stringed instrument of the violin family

The double bass, or simply the bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra.

Chart performance

1981 Billboard 200 179 [3]
1981Billboard Jazz Albums17 [3]

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  1. Yanow, Scott. "Chick Corea - Three Quartets (1981) album review | AllMusic". Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  2. Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 51. ISBN   0-394-72643-X.
  3. 1 2 "Chick Corea - Three Quartets (1981) | Awards | AllMusic". Retrieved 27 October 2013.
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