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Right before beginning classes at Berklee, Fall of 1978, I was walking near the studio when I saw a bunch of folks moving equipment in for a recording session. Figuring I would get kicked out in about 10 seconds, but still wanting to see the inside of the studio, I slipped in behind them.
Sitting at the piano was Chick Corea, and Big Band great Woody Herman was coming down the steps from the control room. I went over and introduced myself to the drummer, mentioning that I, too, played Gretsch drums. He looked at me with excited surprise, telling me that Chick had written a big band piece for them, they were playing a Boston club, he had an exclusive contract with Gretsch, and might not be able to get his drums back to Berklee the next day due to some logistics.
Of course I said “my set is your set!” and I suddenly had a new friend!
The Road Manager, who I am convinced was initially walking towards me to kick me out, heard this conversation, and immediately I was his friend, too. They invited me to stick around, so I introduced myself to Chick and watched a two hour rehearsal sitting right next to his piano!
The funny thing about it was later, at dinner with my fellow Berklee friends. Everyone went around the table telling what they had done that day, and when my turn came, I said, “oh, not much, I spent the afternoon in the studio with Chick Corea and Woody Herman!!
Of course, they laughed and said, “yeah, right, that’s funny! No, seriously, what did you do today!” I’ll never forget that day.
R.I.P., Chick, and thanks for all the music.