NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - For Chick Corea, creation is a way of life; from his fingertips to the eyes and ears of audiences, for nearly five decades.
"The ultimate goal to me of art and music is to communicate that and express that to the public. Someone out there,' said Corea.
We caught up with the legendary pianist -- before a concert with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra --- performing the songs of jazz icon Thelonious Monk.
"He demonstrated.. at a time when it was really needed.. and still needed today. The freedom of expression. right? Monk was free," said Corea.
This pairing of musical titans- one of countless collaborations in a career -- that's seen Corea produce or contribute to more than 100 albums from iconic records with Miles Davis to the groundbreaking sounds of Return to Forever.
He's now the 4th most Grammy nominated musician in history -- with more than 20 wins.
"I have a lot of things lined up. I love to compose."
He showed us one of the new things he's working on. "That melody.. stuck with me... a few seconds," said Corea.
Fans of his band Return to Forever. may know this one.
(plays melody…) It's the intro... to his most recognizable song... Spain... considered a jazz standard.
Nearly 50 years after it was released, he's re-imagining it.
"I plan to play it with a chamber orchestra as itself. An introduction to an orchestral piece I have of Spain so taking it a step further then? yes."
Born in Boston, it was his father - a jazz trumpeter... who first introduced Corea to the music of Miles Davis.
"I was still in Boston. I heard playing with Charlie Parker until I joined him.
1968 --- the birth of what would be known as jazz -rock fusion.. Corea replaced pianist Herbie Hancock -- in Davis' band.
"Miles in my mind was a perfect leader."
They would go on to create iconic records like Bitches Brew.
"Where he played and how he played.. musicians.. atmosphere.. of real freedom.. freedom of expression.. that's what he did. He wanted everyone else to do that," said Corea.
It's also when Davis urged him to test the Fender Rhodes electric piano.
"He didn't say much about it.. again. He just pointed at the piano and said play that.'
That sound perfected with the formation of return to forever in the 1970s.
"It was just an experiment. and it was popular."
The popular band... blending electric instruments.. and the essence of jazz.
In 2015 -- founding members Corea and bassist Stanley Clark teaming up again.. a seamless... duet.. of their second release "Light as a fFather."
Chinese Butterfly -- yet another collaboration -- this time... with drummer Steve Gadd -- described as a clinic -- of improvisation
"That's the way we operate as jazz musicians" said Corea.
" Finding out like not knowing keeps that buzz going. "It's part of the way you do it.' doing it his own way."