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Return To Forever - Where Have I Known You Before CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.14 | 255 ratings

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5 stars After Miles Davis, there were arguably three landmark jazz-rock fusion bands of the 1970s: Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Return To Forever II, all with Davis alumni. RTF I was a progressive Latin-jazz band with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Joe Farrell, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. With a series of line-up changes, RTF morphed into its classic jazz-rock fusion combo of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Al DiMeola. The first RTF II album, Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy with Bill Connors on guitar, was a smash, and appears to be a favourite among prog fans. The later Romantic Warrior was the most popular RTF II album. But Where Have I Known You Before was always my favourite. Hymn had a more aggressive sound, typified by Connor's guitar; whereas Where has a cooler more refined sound, as does DiMeola's guitar. For me, the songwriting on Where is also more memorable. Clarke's opening Vulcan Worlds sets the tone, and keeps with the space theme in most of RTF. (Clarke's eponymous solo album also incorporates the Vulcan Worlds theme.) Lenny White's Shadow Of Lo is a beautiful song; his songwriting reflects the musicality of his drumming. The album has the character of a concept album with the longer songs tied together by Corea's short acoustic piano pieces. The otherworldly cover art also adds to the conceptual theme. And the album ends with my very favourite RTF II tune, Song To The Pharoah Kings, with Corea's impeccable keyboards and a superb DiMeola guitar solo.
DocB | 5/5 |


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