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Return To Forever - Chick Corea: Return To Forever CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.04 | 265 ratings

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3 stars This is definitely a solid intro for any fusion band, but it's particularly impressive for Return to Forever, given the extent to which their style (and lineup) would change over the years. Compared to Hymn from the Seventh Galaxy, this is jazz light, though upon careful listening, it's clear that this bunch is far from the easy-listening realm. Corea on simple keys (imagine that!) is featured prominently, driven by the consistenly interesting Clarke on bass. The percussion is tasteful, but is mixed quietly and at times is an afterthought (fortunately this allows you to hear almost everything Clarke is doing clearly). You'll also find a good deal of pleasant flute, as well as the (mostly) refreshing female vocals of Purim. It all adds up to a simultaneously captivating and relaxing sound.

Return to Forever. The title track does not disappoint: a determined melody pushes through the first third of the tune, dies down, and things are kicked up a notch for the second half. Here you'll find some awesome improvisation and dueling between Corea and Clarke. There is also some rather maniacal vocals from Purim at the end that I could take or leave. It's possibly a bit overlong, but that's part of the fusion process I suppose.

Crystal Silence, What Game Shall We Play Today. The former is a melancholy, low tempo piece with some pleasant, longing sax, and the latter is a rather poppy, formulaic number featuring Purim. Neither is terribly memorable.

Sometime Ago, La Fiesta. With a decent amount of patience, you'll be well-rewarded for your time with this 23 minute gem. For me, this is jazz fusion at some of its best. The first third of the song is mostly mellow and brooding, hinting briefly at later themes. Clarke finds time for some notably tasteful double bass groans. Then the tempo picks up and is maintained through the end, with great melodies and some fantastic interplay. The lively final 8 minutes are particularly good: you'll want to get up and cha-cha yourself! Just a very solid piece overall.

There is no guitar here (particularly no di Meola), and the instrumentation is fairly simple and non-bombastic. This has an intensity and delicateness that you may need to work to appreciate and find the right mood for. You won't find comparable music many other places in prog, and for that I'm quite glad to have it in my collection.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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