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Return To Forever - Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy CD (album) cover

HYMN OF THE SEVENTH GALAXY

Return To Forever

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.17 | 214 ratings

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The Owl
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Jawdroppingly beautiful, inspired, raw, fierce and singularly unique!

I could spout adjectives forever, but the point being, this 3rd RTF offering was a blast of fresh air and a radical shift of direction for Chick, Stanley and Lenny. After the airy Latin-jazz of the first two discs, Chick cranked it up to 11, made Stanley buy an electric bass and bought on board a young Bill Connors on guitar. The result is nothing less than some of the most inspired ferocious fusion this side of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Blazing unison passages otherworldly melodies and playful volleying back and forth of phrases make this a real edge of the seat listen. The frighteningly tight unison passages of the title track served notice this was a band to be reckoned with. With relatively primitive musical technology, these fearsome foursome put forth very bold musical ideas that transcended these limitations.

There';s not one weak track on here, but if I had to pick highlights, definitely the title track, "Captain Senior Mouse", a dizzyingly complex Spanish flavored piece, "Theme To The Mothership" on which Bill Conors really tears it up on guitar and Chick does a blazing ring modulated Rhodes solo that would've been right at home on a Soft Machine or National Health album.

I may ruffle a few feathers here, but for this Owl, Bill Connors was way ahead of Al DiMeola in terms of just sheer expressiveness and soulfulness in his playing. Sure, DiMeola was the total chopsmeister (and made sure that you didn't forget it), but Bill Connors had a bluesy soulfulness and emotional honesty in his Clapton-meets-Coltrane informed guitar style that I just don't hear from DiMeola at all. Bill's finest moments on this album are found on "Theme to The Mothership", Space Circus" "The Game Maker" and "Captain Senor Mouse".

Stanley Clarke is really giving it his all on these songs with mercilessly insistent bass parts. His sound here somewhat gets in the way of hearing the full extent of his brilliance, due to a less than ideal instrument (a rather muddy sounding Gibson EB-3 bass, which he shortly traded in for the crisp, clean Alembic). Even still, you can stuill feel the brilliance! And of course, Lenny White provides an equally merciless rythmic pulse that while intricate and complex, never gets in the way of the songs momentum.

THis is one of those discs that really gets the blood going, so turn it up to 11 and fall under its wonderful spell!

The Owl | 5/5 |

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