When tagging music for my digital collection I like to include the original date of compositions when tagging e.g. compilation or live albums. I'm trying to find the year that "La Fiesta" was originally composed or performed. In my research I've discovered that it has been performed by (among others) Stan Getz, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, and (this is the earliest I found) Elvin Jones in 1971 on this album. I've checked and double checked all albums in Chick's discography (including live albums and albums as sideman etc.) prior to 1971 and cannot find one that includes La Fiesta. There are even a few albums in his discography without Wikipedia articles, and I looked those up on discogs to no avail. I've also looked on YouTube, and really only found a subset of the information found in my other searches.

For the time being I'll assume this must have been composed in 1971, but I find it a little hard to believe that the first time this was composed, released, or performed was on that one Elvin Jones album. The Allmusic review describes that album thus:

The group mostly plays concise versions of band originals, including Corea's classic "La Fiesta."

But this may mean "classic" in the sense of "what is now a classic" instead of "what was a classic at the time." At least this does not definitively answer the question and leaves open the possibility that Corea composed it earlier. Does anyone know if this is the first time La Fiesta was released/recorded/composed?

  • This isn't your question, but is the first recording of it by Corea himself this ? : Stan Getz: Captain Marvel. He seems to be playing with various different people around 1971. discogs search
    – Angst
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 17:15
  • @Angst I don't know. It seems to go both ways: Wikipedia says Captain Marvel is "by Stan Getz" but also all the pieces are by Corea.... It almost seems like Corea came up with La Fiesta at some point and was just sort of carrying it with him to sessions. Commented May 21, 2021 at 17:37
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    Discogs credits has Corea on the Stan Getz "Captain Marvel". La fiesta as part of as a medley on 1972 Return to Forever but not released until 1975. There is a YT vid of the same medley from a Jazz festival in norway in 1972
    – Angst
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:34
  • but like you say @Mushroom Man , it looks like he carried it around and it looks like he was not the first to record it - which is unusual, unless he was leading a busy or chaotic life at that time
    – Angst
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:35
  • 2
    Unless somebody comes up with an earlier recording it looks like the tune was first recorded for "Merry-Go-Round" on 16 Dec 1971. That session seems fairly typical: all the guys bring along one of their compositions. Corea might have been working on "La Fiesta" earlier than 1971 but it's so good that he likely recorded it as soon as it was finished. He recorded it with his own band Feb 1972, and then with Stan Getz in March 1972.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


Chick Corea had played in Miles Davis's band on his albums "In a Silent Way" (1969) and "Bitches Brew" (1970) and after recording an avant-garde jazz album with a band called "Circle" and becoming a member of Scientology, he decided he wanted to communicate better with the audience and play a more accessible style of music. In late 1971 he formed his band "Return to Forever" to perform primarily latin-orientated jazz. The band included saxophonist Joe Farrell, bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Airto Moreira and singer Flora Purim, some of whom had been in Stan Getz's band together with Corea. They played their debut at the Village Vanguard, New York in November 1971 and recorded their eponymous first album in February 1972 including "La Fiesta". The album was released in 1972, but only in Europe. The US release didn't follow until 1975. Although there is no proof, it seems most likely that Corea composed "La Fiesta" specifically for "Return to Forever" in 1971, but of course it's possible that he had been working on the piece for some time before that.

In December 1971 drummer Elvin Jones recorded a session for his album "Merry-Go-Round" with a star-studded band including Corea and saxophonists Joe Farrell (also from "Return to Forever"), Steve Grossman, Dave Liebman and Pepper Adams. Several of the band members contributed compositions for the session, Corea's contribution being "La Fiesta" with the soprano saxophone of Joe Farrell. Although "Return to Forever" had presumably played the tune at their live debut a month earlier, this is probably the first recorded version.

A month after the "Return to Forever" recording, in March 1972, Corea recorded "La Fiesta" again, this time with Stan Getz for Getz's album "Captain Marvel".

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