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Return To Forever

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Return To Forever The Anthology album cover
4.52 | 21 ratings | 6 reviews | 71% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (75:41)
1. Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (3:32)
2. After the Cosmic Rain (8:30)
3. Captain Seņor Mouse (9:04)
4. Theme to the Mothership (8:50)
5. Space Circus Part I & II (5:44)
6. The Game Maker (6:50)
7. Vulcan Worlds (7:54)
8. The Shadow of Lo (7:35)
9. Beyond the Seventh Galaxy (3:17)
10. Song to the Pharaoh Kings (14:25)

CD 2 (73:35)
1. Dayride (3:30)
2. Sofistifunk (3:54)
3. No Mystery (6:13)
4. Celebration Suite Part I & II (14:03)
5. Medieval Overture (5:18)
6. Sorceress (7:38)
7. The Romantic Warrior (10:53)
8. Majestic Dance (5:05)
9. The Magician (5:32)
10. Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant Part I & II (11:29)

Total Time 149:16

Line-up / Musicians

- Chick Corea / organ, synthesizer, percussion, piano, clavinet
- Al DiMeola / acoustic guitar, electric guitar
- Stanley Clarke / organ, bass, percussion, bass
- Lenny White / percussion, bongos, conga, drums
- Bill Connors (1-6) / guitar, electric guitar

Releases information

Produced by Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke
Re-Mixed by Mick Guzauski at Mad Hatter Studios
Disc 1, tracks 1-6 from the album Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
Disc 1, tracks 7-10 from the album Where Have I Known You Before
Disc 2, tracks 1-4 from the album No Mystery
Disc 2, tracks 5-10 from the album Romantic Warrior

Thanks to kuwert for the addition
and to kuwert for the last updates
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RETURN TO FOREVER The Anthology ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(71%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(19%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RETURN TO FOREVER The Anthology reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Being mainly a Symphonic fanatic, usually I don't usually review Fusion albums because I find the task exhausting due to the normal complexity of the music, much less when we are talking about anthologies which are not my favorite way of listening music (Normally only buy original versions of the albums in the way the author released them), but when we are talking about "The Anthology" by RETURN TO FOREVER, Hey pals, this is serious stuff, IMO the most iconic Jazz Prog Fusion band of history, who played a transcendental role in the definition of the parameters of the sub-genre and always present music of outstanding quality, so when I was offered to receive this album I said YES without any hesitation.

Yesterday I got the album and stayed in a car jam for two hours with no regret, because used the time to close my windows, place the heat, rise the volume and listen "Anthologies" complete..What an experience!

In first place don't expect me to review the album song by song, because all the tracks are reviewed when talking about the original albums and would be futile.

The first six songs of Disk One cover the album "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" complete, and for me it's already a winning point being that I was about to buy it. Despite the opinions of some critics about the lack of depth provided by Bill Connors guitar before Al Di'Meola joined them.

Of course I absolutely disagree with this opinions, the sound is different but equally rewarding, perhaps faster and more aggressive, but hey, a band has to change along their history, if not they would had become boring.

This is a real Progressive Fusion album, where Chick Corea and his incredibly accurate keyboard sections blend perfectly with the amazingly fast rhythm section where Lenny White and Stanley Clarke provide the perfect support while Bill Connors adds the frantic touch. Superb work.

The rest of the tracks of the first CD are dedicated to "Where Have I known You Before" (1974) where Al Di'Meola joins the band to be part of the most iconic formation of the band.

The album is represented by four out of the eight original tracks, but present a good panoramic vision of the radical change of sound, it's slower, closer to traditional Jazz and less Rocker, but for the lovers of the genre always a pleasure, as a fact it's a right choice to omit "Earth Juice" with it's Disco Music reminiscences always was a disappointment for me.

The 14 minutes epic "Song of the Pharaoh Kings" is the cherry on the pie, simply fantastic, fast but not frantic, everything fits right in it's place and more, the song flows at an incredible speed but without loosing coherence at any point.

Disk two starts with 4 tracks from the album "No Mystery" a very controversial release, too funky and lets say recorded in a joke mood for some, but also a very melodic and well elaborate production.

This proves us that Jazz bands don't need to be boring and based exclusively in technical virtuoso displays of musicianship, a bit of humor plus great amounts of melody and versatility are always welcome as a great addition.

I was frightened when I saw so little tracks from this album, but "Celebration Suite part I and II" are played as a whole 14:01 minutes epic.

Less Prog oriented than all the previous offerings, but still I can't do anything except smile in my car as an idiot in the middle of a traffic jam (while all the other drivers start to loose their patience) because I like what I listen and enjoying the delay to return home after a hard day of work.

"The Anthology" ends with a complete version of "Romantic Warrior" the album in which the band blended the spirit of Jazz with Medieval fantasies and a touch of Symphonic Rock, one of my all time favorites and which I have reviewed completely in this pages, so there's no need for more comments.

When we are talking about a box set anthology as in this case, presentation matters and the 20 pages booklet is a great addition to an already outstanding work, if you add a perfectly clean production, there's little more to say.

The guidelines of Prog Archives recommend us to rate an album with 5 stars only when it's an essential addition to a Progressive Rock collection, so my inference works this way: No Prog Collection is complete without some Fusion albums even if you are not a diehard fan, no Fusion collection is complete without "RETURN TO FOREVER" and this "Anthologies" are essential to any person who wants to have a complete idea of the evolution of the band in a period of four years and the musical peak of the band.

So if I gave "Anthologies" less than five solid stars I would be being unfair, because even if you don't have other albums, with "Anthologies" you already have a very complete vision of the band. If this doesn't mean essential, I this concept should be redefined.

By this point I'm about to reach my house, no more traffic jam, but I drive slowly on purpose enjoying the last notes of "Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant", because I know at home I won't have the time and tranquility to listen the 149 minutes of "The Anthology" from start to end, but in Lima there's always a chance, of heavy traffic, so the CD's stay in the car ready for today.

Review by jammun
5 stars In 1972, I had the good fortune to hear the first two Return to Forever albums (RTF and Light as a Feather). These were excellent Latin-tinged jazz, with some obvious electric influence, since Chick Corea had spent a few years with the classic electric Miles Davis bands.

In 1973, I had the good fortune to go see RTF in a small venue (<500 seats). You might imagine my confusion to see Marshall double-stacks on the stage. Just how loudly were they going to play this Latin-tinged jazz? When the four band members took the stage with their instruments, I was confused. Where's Airto and Flora and Joe Farrell? This looked like a rock band. Once they played, well everyone in the audience was on a taken on a new musical ride.

So good enough, here we have a 2-CD set that bundles up the four classic RTF albums into one convenient package. The nice thing about this is that the first and fourth albums are presented in their entirety. Although the second and third get somewhat short shrift, what's missing is minimal.

One could make a pretty convincing argument that Return to Forever's Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy is to fusion what ITCOTKC is to progressive rock. As mentioned, here it is presented completely. This album differs from its contemporaries (Weather Report's Sweetnighter, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters) in that it features the fully integrated and extremely loud electic guitar of Bill Connors. The complexity and chord progressions of the songs and solos may hearken back to electric jazz, but this is a tear-off- your-face rock album with jazz influences, rather than the other way around. It was at the time a bold move, and many of us who were growing tired of prog, as it started sinking under its own weight, suddenly had a reason to be excited about loud, complex, electric rock again. The instrumentation is minimal: guitar, bass, electric piano (and perhaps organ, on the album), and drums.

With the success of the first album, Chick apparently made enough bucks to buy himself a few synths, which are used in full force on Where Have I Known You Before. Bill Connors also hit the road, being replaced by Al DiMeola, though Stanley and Lenny are still on board. So this was a transitional album, and the songs stretch out a bit more and there's more synthesizer noodling as Corea comes to terms with his new toys and their potential, but these songs are still wonderful listening.

The second CD picks up with the best of No Mystery, which was probably the weakest of the albums. It's a bit more funk-driven, perhaps a nod to Headhunters' success. However the Celebration Suite (included here) is excellent fusion.

Finally, we get all of Romantic Warrior, which many consider to be RTF's finest moment. Myself, I find it to be somewhat overblown (jeez, hadn't that just happened with prog) though you'll find no fault in the quality of the compositions or musicians. Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant is amongst their finest songs, with appropriate musical themes from the protagonists of the title.

Quick summary: The obvious shortcoming here is that we don't get all four albums presented in total, but that would have upped the price no doubt. However, for those just getting acquainted with this remarkable band, this is a great way to go and in fact may be all you need. The remastered sound is pristine, there are credible liner notes for those interested in the history of the band, and of course there's the music, which deserves every one of the five stars I give it.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Return To Forever has been phenomenal for me personally for two reasons. First, it was the first time I understood jazz and love the music very much. Second, the band's "Music Magic" (1977) represents my DEBUT as PROGRESSIVE REVIEWER for this comprehensive and largest progressive site in the world. Of course, that review (posted in May 25, 2004) has been so memorable to me because I did not expect that from writing some words about the album I liked, finally I was offered as Progressive Reviewer. My life blossomed significantly as I was really keen being called PROG REVIEWER. Actually I wanted to be prog lead vocalist like Peter Gabriel or Fish, or be a prog rock guitar player like Steve Hackett or Steve Rothery. But .. got no musical talent at all .. Luckily the Administrator of this site offered me a prestigious job as a PROG REVIEWER. Wow! Man .. I was on top of the world! I was so proud being a non-English speaking reviewer for the music that I really love .progressive man!!!! Nothing else did really matter than becoming a Prog Reviewer!

Let's talk about this Anthology album .

The first time I knew this band was when my friend played me The Endless Night at his player sometime in 1978. It blew my mind!! I like the long keyboard intro by the man that I didn't know before, Chick Corea. Ghuzz .. Thought he was a Korean. This track is an excellent introduction for me to fusion type of progressive music. I rate this track highly. The entrance of Gayle Moran's voice at this track is really nice! I love this track the first time I listened to it and I kept playing it many times for this track only, not others. I did enjoy it and sometime I sang as Moran was singing. Then I tried to explore further tracks starting with The Musician. It's a good track as well, especially for jazz lovers. Do You Ever is the track where I can enjoy the nice voice of Gayle Moran. Basically I started to enjoy other tracks in the album. My adventure with the music of RTF explored into all albums that I own all and I love them all, including the wonderful live albums.

This compilation comprises tracks from "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" (Disc 1, tracks 1-6), "Where Have I Known You Before" (Disc 1, tracks 7-10), "No Mystery" (Disc 2, tracks 1-4) and "Romantic Warrior" (Disc 2, tracks 5-10). I love all tracks contained here in this Anthology. However, I am a bit disappointed as no track from the memorable album that brought me to the first time to the music of RTF not represented here. I know, the main reason is probably this Anthology has been released as gimmick for the RTF (meola - Corea - Clark - White) Reunion Tour where in Music Magic Al Di Meola and Lenny White were no longer with the band. Oh my God . I miss my "The Endless Night". I am going to play it now from my CD after I finish writing this review.

Overall, this is a collection of great songs from the band and it's highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Originally this was the reason why RTF reformed and did an extended world tour, following the rather pleasant bigger than expected interest for this remastered anthology. This reissue not only provoked a tour, but there will be a live Cd and a DVD coming our way in 2009. This compilation takes into account the classic foursome that recorded the "classic RTF era" that starts with Seventh Galaxy and ends with the GG-influenced RW album. As opposed to the previous compilation, which had taken the Farrell Moreira era album Light As A Feather and the three Polydor release, this one makes more sense (outside the label issues) by including Rmantic Warrior instead of LAAF. (ya sure yer' followin'???)

With the RTF records that were always well recorded, was there a need to remaster the original series of Cds. While the answer seems relatively evident for Seventh Galaxy (a resounding yes), this is much less the case for the Romantic Warrior album, which already had received a touch up a few years back. So if the remaster of HOFTSG gets five stars (the album is also represented in its entirety), the remastering of Where Have I only gets three stars, because only half the tracks are present here (although it is the better ones). Elsewhere on the second disc, if the RW remastering (here in its entirety) gets only four stars (it has been done before), No Mystery suffers from the same predicament than WHIMYB, and only gets four tracks in, which is three star job again, even if the better tracks are in.

By comparing the two anthologies, we end up in a no match: the remastering obviously a plus here is being offset by incomplete album track selection and losing some interesting bonus material on the older compilation. While this is the type of object that you'd rather offer after you've listened to it for a while, but you'll probably want to wait for the three (or four, depending on RW) new single-album remasters.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Return To Forever (RTF) had two phases. RTF Phase I consisted of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Joe Farrell, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira and produced two albums. The self-titled first album seems to be favoured by jazz purists. The second, Light As A Feather, was more widely popular, with songs l ... (read more)

Report this review (#180949) | Posted by DocB | Wednesday, August 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a double CD which includes the best songs of Return to forever from 30-35 years ago which sounds as if recorded only yesterday. The remastering and re-editing job is done perfectly. No hiss or other disturbing noises, and that's what makes the CD worthwhile buying even if you've got all ... (read more)

Report this review (#175524) | Posted by Sander | Friday, June 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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