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Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior CD (album) cover

ROMANTIC WARRIOR

Return To Forever

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.23 | 397 ratings

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jrfernan
5 stars I am in my mid-40s and started listening to fusion shortly after my initial spin of ELP's Tarkus when I was 14 yrs old. I developed an insatiable hunger for EVERYTHING fusion. I scoured the bins at any and every record store in the NYC area looking for that elusive fusion "masterpiece".

Within a year or two from my initial quest I had pretty much heard them all and seen most of the artists in concert. Some of what was, and still is, considered "required listening": Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire, Heavy Weather, Black Market, JLP's Enigmatic Ocean and......Romantic Warrior.

Of all those recordings I may be one of the few prog-rockers who considers this to be the epitome of what fusion is supposed to be all about. Some say that it is cold, mechanical or not heavy enough for prog-rock fans. I say non-sense to all those notions!

This is a MONSTER recording of the highest caliber. Undoubtedly, this record would go with me to the deserted island and would make my top 20 list. A TRUE rock-jazz- fusion masterpiece. Not only is the playing stratospheric, but the compositions are so well conceived that some of the melodic passages can bring a grown man to his knees with emotion. A testimony to Chick Corea's genius as a composer and arranger.

None of the Mahavishnu Orchestra's work has had any such effect on me. I find the MO records to be exercises in soloing/blowing/shredding with very little to no compositional intrigue. In fact, I find that the MO records have not stood up well to the test of time. Those records, for the most part, are..........pretty darn UGLY! Hardly any melodic structure to speak of and very thin harmonic progressions.

On the other hand, Romantic Warrior contains enough accessible melodies and grooves that most anyone can sit and listen to it. Heck, my 86 yr old dad used to groove to this CD whenever I turned it on! He could appreciate the beauty of this record. But then again my dad was a special cat. One of his favorite DVDs was Pink Floyd's Pulse!

I will agree with those who say that this record is an example of fusion going mainstream. However, even though a large part of the record is accessible it offers up some SERIOUS arrangements and orchestration that should have the most demanding pro-rock listeners on their toes.

Here is a list of of my all-time favorite jazz-fusion CDs. All of these I rate at 5 stars and would not hesitate to include them alongside my favorite prog-rock CDs, such as: Selling England by the Pound, Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, Tarkus etc.

1. Return to Forever: Romantic Warrior 2. Jean Luc Ponty: Enigmatic Ocean, Cosmic Messenger 3. Al Dimeola: Elegant Gypsy, Splendido Hotel, Kiss My Axe 4. Weather Report: Black Market, Heavy Weather 5. Lee Ritenour: Captain Fingers, The Captain's Journey 6. Pat Metheny: American Garage, Offramp

jrfernan | 5/5 |

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