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Return To Forever - No Mystery CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.77 | 143 ratings

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3 stars Way back in the seventies a drumming acquaintance of mine knowing that I was also a drummer was kind enough to put together a compilation tape of some of his favourite drum moments for me. One of the tracks featured the wonderful drumming of Lenny White of Return To Forever. I knew who the band was, but he failed to list tracks and having lost touch with him spent years trying to track down the excellent piece of music he'd recorded for me. Buying Return To Forever albums at random, after much excellent listening pleasure from some of their other albums I finally found what I was looking for on my fifth purchase of the band, No Mystery.

The track in question turned out to be Celebration Suite, the highlight on this cd. Although that tape has long since gone the track was as good as I remembered it to be. It's divided into two parts, closing the album. It has a strong Spanish feel to it and the four piece line up of master musicians of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and the afore mentioned White play brilliantly; fourteen minutes of some of my favourite Fusion from the seventies when there was so much great music in this vein around. White's drumming is very dynamic, just about stealing the show here and I particularly love Corea's electric piano sound, particularly on the beautiful lull in the middle of this explosive track.

Although we're listening to Jazz Rock much of the rest of this album has a strong funk vibe, no doubt down to Clarke's influences whose solo material often has strong funk leanings. The first two tracks fit this category, Dayride and Jungle Waterfall. Neither blow me a way but Flight of the Newborn is better, still having a funk feel but at seven and a half minutes the band can stretch out a bit more and features an excellent guitar solo from DiMeola and some nice bass work from Clarke.

Sofistifunk as the title suggests is more funk though with an interesting rhythmic structure from White. Don't be fooled by the title, Excert From the First Movement of Heavy Metal is not that, but after a dramatic piano intro from Corea has quite a rocky riff from Dimeola and a more simplistic driving rhythmic structure from White and Clarke.

Title track, No Mystery is a mellower affair and leaves the funk behind. Dominated by Corea's piano with some tasteful acoustic guitar touches and acoustic bass too which is also prevalent on Interplay.

Whilst No Mystery is not my favourite Return To Forever album for the sheer brilliance of Celebration Suite it's worth buying for that alone. It's a shame that the rest of the album though some very good moments are present doesn't quite match the quality of this piece. 3 stars.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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