Listen to Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea Duel on Pianos in 1978

Forty years ago on this date, the two legends joined forces in San Francisco for a masterclass in jazz piano.

Music Features Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea
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Listen to Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea Duel on Pianos in 1978

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Chick Corea was a busy man in 1978, releasing no fewer than five albums on three labels and touring as a solo pianist. He also performed as part of a duo with Herbie Hancock and with his first post-Return To Forever band, which included drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Eddie Gomez, and saxophonist Joe Farrell, a former RTF member. Corea was coming off a 1976 Grammy win for Return To Forever’s Romantic Warrior LP, and had eclipsed contemporaries such as Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson as the most in-demand jazz pianist.

Read: The 30 Best Albums of 1978

After the fury of the rock-jazz fusion quartet version of Return To Forever, Corea was eager to return to an acoustic format that allowed him greater musical flexibility and improvisation; hence this recording from a tour with his friend and mentor, Herbie Hancock. This recording from March 8, 1978, comes from the legendary tour with Hancock, when the pianists performed as a duo, dancing and weaving into and around each other with virtuosic flair. The two would eventually release both a studio and live album before returning to their respective solo projects.