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Return To Forever

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Return To Forever The Mothership Returns album cover
4.53 | 62 ratings | 6 reviews | 58% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (53:58)
1. Medieval Overture (6:03)
2. Senor Mouse (12:10)
3. Shadow of Love / Sorceress (16:05)
4. Renaissance (19:40)

CD 2 (58:32)
1. After the Cosmic Rain (16:52)
2. The Romantic Warrior / Seņor Blues (18:20)
3. Concierto de Aranjuez / Spain (8:12)
4. School Days (11:24)
5. Beyond the Seventh Galaxy (3:44)

Total Time 112:30

1. Inside the Music (documentary film)
2. After the Cosmic Rain (live in Austin, Texas)
3. The Romantic Warrior (live at Montreux, Switzerland)
4. The Story of Return to Forever (sneak peek movie trailer)

Line-up / Musicians

- Chick Corea / piano & keyboard
- Stanley Clarke / electric & acoustic basses
- Jean-Luc Ponty / electric & acoustic violins
- Frank Gambale / electric & acoustic guitars
- Lenny White / drums

Releases information

2CD/1DVD - Recorded Live 2011

Thanks to Progatron for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy RETURN TO FOREVER The Mothership Returns Music

RETURN TO FOREVER The Mothership Returns ratings distribution

(62 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(58%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (3%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

RETURN TO FOREVER The Mothership 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 I am shocked.

I was astounded by the comeback live album "Return To Forever Returns", and gave it five stars. Yet here they are with a new tour and new album, and they have topped the previous recording.

Al DiMeola has been replaced on guitar by Frank Gambale, who had performed with Chick Corea in his Elektrik Band. While Gambale does not compare with DiMeola on acoustic guitar, although he is certainly no slouch, his blazing electric guitar skills add even more power to the already heavy RTF pieces.

Jean-Luc Ponty is also with RTF on this album. His violin adds even more depth to the songs, and his solos are every bit as fascinating as Corea, Stanley Clarke and Gambale's. And the RTF version of Ponty's Renaissance is amazing.

I can't see how any fusion release can top this one this year.

Review by Mellotron Storm
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.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars After their Romantic Warrior reunion tours of the late 00's (which has reunited Chick, Lenny, Stanley and ADM), RTF came back for another one of their album celebration, this time Hymn Of The Sevent Galaxy. Indeed, the original intent was to get Connors to return and play homage to their best album ever (IMHO, anyway), but it turns out Connors couldn't make it. So Corea turned to his Elektrik Band long-time comrade Frank Gambale, and in the process invited the French violin legen JL Ponty, this was born RTF4. Notthat this line- up has released any new material: it just toured and concentrated on mainly two album for their sets: RW and 7th Galaxy.

This triple disc affair is a strictly live one, with the third beng a DVD where there are for features, including a lengthy but relatively uninteresting interview, a short RTF career resume, and more importantly, two of the lengthier track in their set. Apprently, if the comrades appear relatively affected by their respective ages (only Ponty seems to have aged more gracefully), it doesn't seem to impede their stage play, and RTYF still has lots to offer in concert. The quintet is in fine musical form, even Lenny, who seemed relatively weaker in their previous RW project. Of course, the quintet adapted the music of those two mythical album to fit their five-man front, and that might just be the main attraction of this album, but it's of relatively limited interest, because the nature of the tracks are still very close to the originals, despite the much lengthier versions. Indeed, Senor Mouse, Renaissance, Cosmic Rain and Romantic Warrior are all expanded beyond their studio duration, so that everyone one stage can blow a bit of steam. Another two attractions are the 8-mins Gil/Miles Spanish thing and Stanley's famous title track from his School Days solo album, though I could've done without the audience-participation sing-along chorus bit. Frank Gambale fits in fine in filling both Connors or ADM's shoes, while Ponty's violin intervention go from enthralling to relatively clumsy, sometimes temporarily breaking the spell of the original composition.

While the first two CD discs are sharing fairly evenly the almost two hours of the show, the third disc holds as much interest, despite the afore-mentioned interview's relative lack of interest. Unless you like your musical heroes self-gloating and goofing around unnaturally, you won't be watching that first feature a second time. The only reason to do so would be to catch glimpses of the other tracks of the sets, which are not offered without the interview comments. The two longer pieces of Cosmic Rain and Romantic Warrior are indeed available on their own, and if these are the DVD highlights, one wonders why they didn't do the whole set that way. As for the closing forgettable Story Of, it's rather insignificant. Sooooooo, the Mithership Returns package is a bit of a mixed-bag affair, with the CDs holding evident interest, but it is with the DVD that lies the disappointment. One that could've been easily avoided too: Just the full filmed set, without the interviews and its expandable gloating and boasting would've been infinitely more satisfying.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Where to begin .. Not a single musician in this band needs to be introduced to the followers of contemporary jazz. Apart from Frank Gambale, whose first record wasn't out until 1980s, the rest of the Mothership's crew - Chick Corea, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White - have been ... (read more)

Report this review (#984727) | Posted by Argonaught | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars At long last, the mothership returns! Return to Forever are back with their fifth live record to date, and what a record it is! The band may be getting older, but by no means has their talent diminished at all. This lineup of the band, which was dubbed Return to Forever IV for the tour, has a ... (read more)

Report this review (#917432) | Posted by RBlak054 | Thursday, February 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I might as well make my first review be for something that few have heard as of yet! This is the live album we've been waiting for all year after having witnessed the unbelievable (and very surprising) "Return to Forever IV" tour. (The "IV" has been dropped for this release.) I saw the ... (read more)

Report this review (#773498) | Posted by DomValela | Monday, June 18, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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