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


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 244 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I don't know why I had been resistant at Return to Forever for years. I think I do, when I was younger I thought a lot of fusion was just boring technical showoffmanship. Even when I bought Romantic Warrior (used LP at a St. Vincent de Paul) in 2006, it has some nice ideas, but then I dismissed it. Years later it really grew on me, and I noticed how much prog leaning that particular album had. Then much more recently I went for Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, and really pleasantly shocked with Light as a Feather (with the Brazlian approach thanks to Flora Purim and Airto Moreira). Now it's Where Have I known You Before. This album find Chick Corea finally incorporating synthesizers along with electric piano and clavinet. Bill Connors was now out of the picture, in comes an unknown Berklee student named Al DiMeola to fill in, and this is the classic lineup that would last for two more albums (including the ever popular Romantic Warrior). The album takes a more calm, refined approach, where Hymn if the Seventh Galaxy was pretty obviously taking on to the more raw sound of Mahavishnu Orchestra (but without violin). The "Where Have I..." title variants are basically piano interludes that go with the full-band stuff. "Vulcan Worlds" is the opening cut and what a great piece this is, especially the synth passages. Stanley Clarke did a version of it on his self-entitled second album from 1974 on Nemperor. "The Shadow of Lo" is more calm and relaxed, but there are a couple of electric piano riffs that sounded like they were taken off Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds of Fire. "Beyond the Seventh Galaxy" was an obvious sequel reference to Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, this is pretty much a straight up fusion piece you come to expect from this era, a great piece nonetheless. "Earth Juice" is an interesting one. Lenny White does that disco hi-hat thing, and Al DiMeola gives a nice rock feel to the guitar. The overuse of hi-hat may turn off many, because it became such a bad disco cliche that it became one of the reasons for the bad name of disco (of course having the campy Village People in the late '70s didn't help matters any). In 1974 that hi-hat approach had luckily not been done to death, and there's too much of a rock attitude to be actually disco. You can't get Studio 54 dancing with this piece (and beside Studio 54 didn't even exist in '74). "Song to the Pharaoh Kings" is over 14 minutes and what a wonderful piece. Of the RTF albums I have, I will have to say this is by far my favorite. Great stuff that I can recommend to all fusion fans.
Progfan97402 | 4/5 |


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