We need to travel far, far back in time here, to the beginnings of pianist Corea's career...
1. His trio with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes. In 1968, the group released "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs," one of the landmark jazz trio recordings of the past 50 years.
2. I'm cheating here, as this band was a collective: Circle. Along with saxophonist Anthony Braxton, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul, Corea created music that was tough-as-nails, avant-garde yet swinging, shot through with energy -- like streams of spontaneous combustion. This group was active 1970-71; it recorded for ECM. (Try "Paris-Concert.")
3. Return to Forever: Percolating like the finest samba outfit, with textures as "light as a feather" -- to draw on the title of its second album -- this group began in 1971 as a quintet with bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Airto Moreira, saxophonist/flutist Joe Farrell and vocalist Flora Purim. I enjoyed the band's second edition (when it morphed to electric fusion) with Clarke, drummer Steve Gadd (and later, more famously, Lenny White) and guitarist Bill Connors, but checked out once Al Di Meola replaced Connors.
4. The quartet with saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Steve Gadd. Its "Three Quartets," from 1981, is a classic, dipping into Coltrane's world, but with Corea's brand of tautness and control --
5. Origin, a sextet from the late '90s with which Corea expanded his palette. Also an excellent drummer (he once recorded on traps with Wayne Shorter), Corea here put together yet another super rhythm section, this time with virtuoso bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Adam Cruz (later replaced by Jeff Ballard). Three top-shelf jazz soloists were in the horn section: trombonist Steve Davis and saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Steve Wilson.
Addendum: I know, I know. No Gary Burton here. No Patitucci and Weckl. But these five bands are my favorites.