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Return To Forever - The Mothership Returns CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.52 | 47 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I guess the title of this album says it all doesn't it ? We get a double live record with a bonus DVD which features an almost classic lineup consisting of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White, along with Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Gambale. Certainly Ponty's inclusion gives this a different feel than the original sound. If there was one word to describe what's going on here for me it would be "joy". Just a look at the many pictures in the liner notes shows a group of guys who would rather be nowhere else. We get 9 tracks although there's two on the one so really 10 songs. It's cool they do one of Jean-Luc Ponty's songs from his "Aurora" album called "Renaissance", and they also do "School Days" from the album of the same name from a Stanley Clarke solo album. Also the two songs that are on one are "The Shadow Of Lo" from Lenny White's "Present Tense" album and they combine it with "Sorceress" from "Romantic Warrior" that Lenny actually composed.

So much info in the liner notes with each member talking about the project and more along with METALLICA bass player Robert Trujillo adding his praise. I like Stanley Clarke's thoughts as he talked about the early days when he and Chick were hired to play with Joe Henderson and how in Stanley's apartment Chick would passionately talk about playing a different kind of music and playing it in a different way, for different reasons. That's when Stanley knew he had found someone with the same thoughts about music that he had. And as he says "The mothership had it's first passengers". By the way these guys did over 70 shows in 2011 so I think they were on the top of their game here. This is an impressive recording.

There are so many highlights i'm not sure what to even include or exclude. They begin with "Medieval Overture" from "Romantic Warrior" and man when the full sound kicks in this sounds amazing. I love the electric piano 3 1/2 minutes in as they rip it up. "Senor Mouse" from "Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy" is next and early on this sounds fantastic with the bass, drums and electric piano. Violin before 2 minutes. So many highlights like the synths before 6 minutes and the guitar 9 1/2 minutes in. "The Shadow Of Lo / Sorceress" features some funk later on and White impresses late. "Renaissance" ends disc one with an extended version of Ponty's song to over 19 minutes. This is a ride folks.

Disc two begins with "After The Cosmic Rain" from "Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy" and they contrasts the full and laid back sections well. "The Romantic Warrior" has some outbursts of applause from the crowd on and off throughout in appreciation to what they are witnessing. "Spain" from "Light As A Feather" opens with piano then it kicks into a full sound around 2 1/2 minutes. Some audience participation later on. "School Days" might be my favourite. At least early on. Amazing sound ! When it ends a couple of the band members tell the audience how much they appreciate their love and enthusiasm. And one mentions their seventies albums by name which for some reason is an emotional thing for me. "Beyond The Seventh Galaxy" ends it and it's from "Where Have I Known You Before". Just a killer track once it gets going. Ripping guitar before 3 minutes.

A must for RETURN TO FOREVER fans and Jazz / Fusion fans in general.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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