The passing of Chick Corea took from the jazz scene one of the most successful and popular musicians of our time.

In a career of six decades, he was a solo artist, a sideman, a bandleader, a composer and a ceaseless recording artist. He recorded and released nearly 100 albums and won 23 Grammys in addition to countless other awards, nominations and honours. His warmth, humour and down-to-earth personality were pervasive in his life and his music. I never heard anyone say a bad word about him.

Corea’s musical talents went far beyond jazz: He embraced classical, fusion, orchestral and, of course, Latin music. He made music with a stunning array of collaborators and had a special affinity for bringing everyone into the music through audience participation.

A few years ago, Corea played a solo gig at the Markham Theatre, and I had the pleasure of meeting and introducing him. He dropped a load of sheet music on the piano and asked the audience what he should play. It was like being in his living room. He played his own compositions, some Scriabin (a Russian composer of a century ago) and, sure enough, his signature piece, Spain, getting the audience to sing vocal lines of ever-increasing rhythmic and melodic complexity.

There was no one like him. He had ceaseless energy, wit, talent, virtuosity and dedication to making glorious music.

Chick Corea wrote and played so much exquisite, swinging, inventive music that I urge you to explore all his recordings. From such a career, how do you pick just five essential albums? The truth is you can’t. But these are all landmarks. Whether you know them already or not, you can’t go wrong with any of them.