Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Return To Forever - Music Magic CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.85 | 106 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
2 stars Another shakeup in the Return to Forever lineup, this time Al DiMeola and Lenny White departing. Chick Corea's wife Gayle Moran joins (she was previously with the second edition of Mahavishnu Orchestra for two albums), and Joe Farrell from the original 1972-73 lineup rejoins, as well as a horn section. Now this probably wasn't the wisest decision for Chick Corea to go this direction so hot on the heels of Romantic Warrior, which not only a highly regarded in RTF's and even Chick's career in general, but of the fusion genre to begin with. Upon listening to "The Musician" it's as if Chick was trying to meld the vocal style of Light as a Feather with a horn section. It's as if he was pretending his wife was Flora Purim as she attempts her vocal style. Unfortunately she's no Flora Purim, and thankfully she didn't touch on Brazilian styles of music (Bossa Nova, for example). Light as a Feather proves that vocals and jazz can go together, but then Flora Purim was suited for such, given her background as a Bossa Nova singer, and that influence was heavily felt in that album (as well as the 1972 RTF on ECM billed as a Chick Corea album) and those two albums were great and highly recommended. Here on MusicMagic it's a like a big mess. There are some pretty syrupy stuff here, for example "Hello Again". What on Earth? Pretty cheesy stuff. Or Stanley Clarke's "So Long Mickey Mouse". What on Earth? A bunch of "La la's" throughout with him attempting to do soulful vocals, and Gayle Moran being, well, Gayle Moran. On the other hand, there are some absolutely brilliant passages, some of the solos Chick Corea give are first rate, with that nice spacy keyboards and often proggy arrangement and even the horn section does some creative twists and turns as long as they aren't sounding like a Las Vegas lounge act. The last song, "The Endless Light" is perhaps the best thing on the album, overall, where the vocals and instrumentation work the best. I never could understand what the lyrics were about. Perhaps being a Scientologist would make more sense (Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Gayle Moran, at least, were all Scientologists). I can see why this is panned in many circles. I could have seen the potential in this album, some of those instrumental passages are as great as anything they've done before, but when the vocals kick in, it all comes crashing, and same if the horns decide to go Vegas on us. Luckily my copy is a cheap used LP, and if you need to get this, I suggest you get it cheap. It's too bad RTF ended up the way they did. I can sorta understand why Chick wanted to include vocals, since Gayle Moran already provided vocals on his two previous solo albums, My Spanish Heart and The Leprechaun, so he thought it would be great to include them on then next RTF album. For the simple fact that until this point, RTF never released a bad album (Chick Corea knew to keep the standards high on those albums) so making MusicMagic all that more disappointing. Scientology can be easy to blame. At least this was the end of RTF (although there was a live album released in 1978). So as mentioned, has its moments, but only get this on the cheap.
Progfan97402 | 2/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this RETURN TO FOREVER review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.