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Return To Forever

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Return To Forever Returns album cover
4.14 | 57 ratings | 7 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (76:01)
1. Opening Prayer (2:02)
2. Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (3:44)
3. Vulcan Worlds (13:45)
4. Sorceress (11:24)
5. Song to the Pharaoh Kings (27:17)
6. Al's Solo (8:56) including:
- Children's Song #3
- Passion Grace & Fire
- Mediterranean Sundance
- Cafe 1930
- Spain
7. No Mystery (8:53)

CD 2 (73:49)
1. Friendship (Chick's Solo, including Solar) (8:54)
2. Romantic Warrior (7:20)
3. El Bayo de Negro (Stanley's solo) (11:25)
4. Lineage (Lenny's solo) (7:39)
5. Romantic Warrior (continued) (3:06)
6. Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant (14:10)
- Bonus Tracks:
7. 500 Miles High (12:54)
8. BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Sir George Martin; live performance of Romantic Warrior (8:21)

Total Time 149:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Chick Corea / keyboards
- Stanley Clarke / bass
- Al Di Meola / guitar
- Lenny White / drums

Releases information

Eagle Records CAS 0000394 EDG

Thanks to Evolver for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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More places to buy RETURN TO FOREVER music online

RETURN TO FOREVER Returns ratings distribution

(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RETURN TO FOREVER Returns reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars This is the live album we've always wanted from Return To Forever. It's about time we had a live recording of the best incarnation of RTF. From start to finish, this pair of CDs just blazes with stellar virtuosity.

The sound is remarkably clear, and the selections cover all of the best RTF albums, from Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy through Romantic Warrior.

I would be hard-pressed to find highlights on these disks, as to me, the entire album is highlights. Even the solo pieces, including the drum solo (and I am usually bored by drum solos), make me smile.

But if I must choose favorite tracks, I'd have to select Song to the Pharoah Kings on disk 1, and Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant on disk 2.

This is 2 and a half hours of eargasms.

If you don't believe me, the album can be heard in it's entirety (at least for now) at Chick Corea's web site.

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

One of the most frustrating thing about RTF's classic discography was that the only two Live albums released dated from the last line-up, which was most forgettable as well. Indeed both the "red" Live album (from 77) and the "blue" Live album (from 79; but I could have reversed the dates and colours) were definitely not giving a good idea of RTF's stage presence, because the last line-up was simply not carrying its previous heritage correctly, even if Farrell had come back.... Anyway, this flaw has been somewhat remedied to since this release is about the best (most celebrated?) RTF line-up (let's forget about Connors's short tenure in RTF); and although the performance is about 2008's reformation and world tour, not about 70's hidden and forgotten-about concert performance tapes, it's still something to cherished for fans

The first disc is a fantastic trip down the main line-up's run of four albums (let's again forget about Connors), even if we can deplore being light of Seventh Galaxy content (whaaaat, no Captain Mouse, Space Circus or Mothership??), and the funkier No Mystery gets also a quick shrug (just the title track) , the WHIKYB gets a better treatment with the stellar Vulcan World and the elongated (almost twice the original length) Pharoah track and a touch of RW with the outstanding Sorceress, which will be better explored later. YES, the band still has it and although there were alarming news about Lenny White's shoulder mobility, it was surely not audible on such a recording, as he's quite up on par with his three colleagues, with ADM getting the lead since his lengthy solo sequence found its place in this disc.

The second disc is of lesser interest because it contains three of the four lengthy solo section (Chick, Stanley and Lenny) stick between two tracks from Romantic Warrior (eponymous & Jester), and it can seem somehow a bit arduous. Of the three solo sections, I preferred Clarke's, because Chick was a bit soporific in his slot. The good news is that the RW material has lost the GG feeling it had in its studio version, but then again they had three full decades to digest that influence. Two bonus tracks come on here, the first is a pure gift and bliss: 500 Miles High is a lengthy track from the Farrell/Moreira line-up and it's a complete joy to see that they did remember the first two albums after all.

Coupled with way toooo little attention to Seven Hymn, I will rate this with one full star taken away, however, for also including the ceremony of the BBC awards (that's REALLY tacky and definitely NOT a bonus) and let's face it, did we need another Romantic Warrior on the same disc as the one from the concert/tour and its reprise??? Surely a big "faute de gout", especially with George Martin describing "RTF being between jazz and mainstream"... Coming from the man who muzacked everything he touched in the 79's and 80's, you'd wonder if Chick is smoking the same Jamaican cigars than me. I certainly don't see Sir George's description as one worth publishing, but to each his own.. I hope that this'll not be present on the upcoming DVD.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Return To Forever (RTF) has been a very special band throughout my musical career. Do I have a musical career? Well, has been in my life since I was teenagers and I was quite intense with music when I was 14. Of course as listener because I am not a musician at all. Why is it that RTF very special because by definition I have been more into symphonic prog than jazz fusion? First, I was hooked with the music the first time I listened to RTF seventh album 'Music Magic' from a cassette owned by my friend sometime in 1976 / 1977. Since then I was curious about RTF and tried to search other albums. The reason I liked was the composition that was very dynamic, complex but it still maintained excellent harmonies especially with the inventive keyboard work by Chick Corea - one of the founding fathers of RTF. Second, my debut as music reviewer with this wonderful ProgArchives started with writing short review about Return To Forever 'Music Magic' album. It's so memorable to me.

Amazing Talents resulted Great Performance!

Throughout its career, RTF has made seven studio albums spanning from 1972 to 1977. I got this live CD 'Returns' last week and I am very happy to see the band reunited for the first time in 25 years time. 'Returns' is the live album that this classic RTF line-up, from fourth album 'Where Have I known You Before' (1974) until sixth album 'Romantic Warrior' (1976). The line-up is Lenny White on drums, Al Di Meola on guitar plus two founding members Stanley Clarke (bass) and Chick Corea (piano, keyboard). After the last studio album each band members went to solo or collaborated with other jazz musicians. Chick Corea had been issuing solo album since the 60s and after RTF last album he released phenomenal album 'The Mad Hatter' (1978) which has tracks similar to RTF especially 'Dear Allice'. It's quite strange that Chick Corea has not been featured here on this site while his mates Stanley Clarke and Meola have been featured here. I recommend Chick Corea solo albums are included here as well.

With improvements in both instrument, recording technology as well as members' musical skills after they individually performed solo work and collaborative effort this performance sounds really great. As Russ Davis wrote on the CD sleeve, there was a spirit of anticipation for a reunion before the 2008 Tour became a reality. Chick and Al reunited in 2006 to record Al's solo project 'Consequence of Chaos'. Al, Stanley, and Lenny appeared together at the Fourth Annual Stanley Clarke Scholarship Benefit in Hollywood, playing RTF's Grammy winning tune 'No Mysery' with Patrice Rushen in the piano chair.

The result is a great performance recorded here in the two-CD set. Grabbing some of the best material from the guitar-driven RTF's music run?Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (Polydor, 1973) through Romantic Warrior (Columbia, 1976)?it capitalizes on individual growth and talent since that time, making this is a wonderful live album. The music flows nicely from the ambient 'Opening Prayer' (2:02) demonstrating unique keyboard playing of Chick combined with dynamic bass guitar and stunning guitar work backed with good drumming. It seamlessly flows to the dynamic 'Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy' (3:44) where Meola plays nicely, replacing original guitarist Bill Connors.

Most songs featured here are extended from its original recording like you can hear 'Vulcan Worlds' (13:45) which contains interesting Stanley's dynamic bass guitar solo in the middle of the track. He also plays bass notes from his solo album. It's quite obvious as since the opening part bass guitar has played quite dominant role. The good thing about RTF music is that each musician does not seem to play the instrument as rhythm section. Even though the music contains solo, the other instruments play their roles to fill the music with their own dynamic playing. It happens across all the tracks offered here in this CD. When Al Di Meola plays his solo, other instruments play dynamically at the back including the jaw-dropping drumwork by Lenny. Chick Corea fills the keyboard in between the solo or sometimes he plays longer solo. You can find similar dynamic collaboration on the next track 'Sorceress' (11:24) as well. This track is quite unique as after fisrt one minute the music turns into bluesy style featuring guitar solo by Al. It's really great.

I thought I would get bored with the extremely extended 'Song to the Pharaoh Kings' (27:17) which the original version only consumes 14 minutes of duration. But at the end it turned out a wonderful journey of musical enjoyment throughout the span of 27 minutes. In fact before it ends I feel like 'why must it end?' because I still enjoy the music. There are parts where Al plays his guitar wildly combined with inventive keyboard maneuver by Chick. At the what so called rhythm section Stanley plays his bass guitar dynamically. Lenny is very skillful in his changing style of drumming. The beauty of this extended version of 'Song to the Pharaoh Kings' is the fact that each segment of the music, in any portion of the track, provides me with the joy of listening the music. The time when guitar dominates, keyboard creates another dynamic fills that sound like they are making dialogue. The bass lines are also dynamic with great skills of Stanley throughout the song.

The solo portion for Al is also very nice on track 6 where he puts his solo work from 'Children's Song #3' , 'Passion Grace & Fire', 'Mediterranean Sundance', 'Cafe 1930' and of course the famous 'Spain' plus guitar solo totaling almost close to 9 minutes duration.

Disc 2 is also another great gem with Chick's 'Friendship' followed with the legendary 'Romantic Warrio'r (7:20). I think the best track of this Disc 2, as a matter of taste, is 'Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant (14:10). The whole set of CD 2 is as enjoyable as Disc 1. It also contains bonus tracks '500 Miles High' (12:54) and 'BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Sir George Martin; live performance of Romantic Warrior' (8:21).


Overall, this is a masterpiece of jazz rock fusion live performance. The selection of songs as well as the band's performance are all excellent. On composition, the harmonies and frequency of change of style are masterpiece and backed up by solid structural integrity of each song as well as the whole album I think this is the best jazz rock fusion band and amazing live performance. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of greatest fusion band ever in it's golden line-up. All musicians have great after-band solo careers in jazz and fusion. After twenty -something years of silence, they returned back with great world tour. I can say, it possibly greatest fusion band world tour from first decade (almost) of XXI century.

I waited for them coming in the edge of my nerves. One of the best ever fusion band with great history and golden discography is coming after so many years, and what if they will destroy their glory now? Who know, what and how will they play now?

I visit their first live show in Europe in 2008 tour, happily they started their European leg from my hometown. And it was music of highest class, believe me! Concert in a hall of 2+ thousand listeners was sold some days before the date, and when I came for the party, I saw many sad faces searching for the ticket near entrance.

The concert was as great as it only could be possible, and now, listening to it in recorded version ( ok, with small differences in track listings), I realize, that in fact it's their audio monument.

Album ( as well as concert) contains their best and most popular songs from 1974 till the last album ( second, "guitar",line-up). All musicians are in great form, they are playing well known music with their maturity and using all experience they got during these 20+ yrs gone.

Don't expect too big differences from originals or too much changed sound. Corea,DiMeola,Clarke and White play not too far from originals, but with very excellent technigue. Main difference is in longer solos and plenty of small nuances.

Record ( and concert) track list is very good, and album is very representative in compositions and musicianship level as well.

I can strongly recommend it to anyone, who are interested in one of the greates fusion band ever: for newcomers it will represent grest collection of RTF songs in perfect live musicianship, for old fans it is just must have releaseof the highest level and real musicial monument for their beloved band

Latest members reviews

3 stars A short statement before starting this review: I'm a true Chick Corea fan and admirer, know and own quite a lot of his creation, especially from the 70's up to the middle 80's, but not much acquainted with his work with Return to forever, especially the late line-up. I'll try to concentrate at ... (read more)

Report this review (#315604) | Posted by ShW1 | Friday, November 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fans of Return To Forever II, with the classic lineup of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Al DiMeola, were delighted to hear about the group's reunion and tour. Unfortunately, some of us were unable to take in the concerts, but no worries, we've got this excellent live album. This i ... (read more)

Report this review (#222199) | Posted by DocB | Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A feast......... sort off. I am an unashamed big fan of their Romantic Warrior album. I think it is among the ten best albums, covered by this website. Period. So when this double live album landed in my post box, I was very happy. As happy as a cat with cream. The problem with cream is th ... (read more)

Report this review (#212578) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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