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Return To Forever

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Return To Forever No Mystery album cover
3.79 | 191 ratings | 21 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dayride (3:25)
2. Jungle Waterfall (3:03)
3. Flight of the Newborn (7:23)
4. Sofistifunk (3:51)
5. Excerpt from the First Movement of Heavy Metal (2:45)
6. No Mystery (6:10)
7. Interplay (2:15)
- Celebration Suite:
8. Part I (8:27)
9. Part II (5:32)

Total Time 42:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Chick Corea / Fender Rhodes, piano, Yamaha organ, synthesizer, clavinet, snare drum, marimba, vocals, producer
- Al Di Meola / electric & acoustic guitars
- Stanley Clarke / electric & acoustic basses, Yamaha organ, synth, vocals
- Lenny White / drums, percussion, congas, marimba

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Levy (art direction & concept) with Petra Kinkele (design)

LP Polydor ‎- PD 6512 (1975, US)

CD Polydor ‎- 827 149-2 ( 1985, Germany) Remastered by Dennis Drake

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy RETURN TO FOREVER No Mystery Music

RETURN TO FOREVER No Mystery ratings distribution

(191 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

RETURN TO FOREVER No Mystery reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
4 stars As humor and ignorance go hand in hand, I'll let the former lead the latter in a little poke at jazz-wise folk... No Mystery plumbs the paradigmatical prog fusion cum Latin jazz that RTF is acronymically known for (noting that in fact it's not an acronym at all). Paralytic rhythms overtake the funky aspirations of side one, proffered most profusely on Lenny White's darkly funny "Sofistifunk" and in a suffusion of profusity on the seven-minute "Flight of the Newborn" (with a brief layover in Axesaw and the Keys of Reed). If they don't get your foot tappin', try on the metatarsal modalities of Stanley Clarke's bass on "Dayride" or steeling yourself against the humor of "Excerpt From The First Movement of Heavy Metal." Oblations to the great funk nation, the first half of No Mystery is a piece of prog fusion history worth preserving. Side two slips into the matador's suit of My Spanish Heart, a part and yet apart from Mystery's space spelunking start. The title track is patronymic parlor jazz with a forest scorpion's sting (having earlier resided underwood in ruth), the two-part "Celebration Suite" a cause for celebration if you enjoyed My Spanish Heart. The seriality of songs is less important than it was on Romantic Warrior, the ability to transhumanize jazz remains as keen. What occurs is a consubtantiation of creative forces, revealing the mysteries of the universe through sound. Ironically, it was L.Ron Hubbard who pointed out that we as human beings let our attention slip out the open window of a large and foreign word, but jazz critics insist on slippin' 'em in anyway. No Mystery really did win a Grammy in 1975 for Best Jazz Performance by a Group. Far from vindicating the Grammy selection process, I'll simply note that even a blind man can pick the right nutshell in an honest game every third time.
Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Despite its horrid cover and 'funky' reputation, 'No Mystery' is one of the more solid and melodic records from Chick Corea's dazzling outfit. Not as inspired or beloved as 'Romantic Warrior' but full of jazz-rock energy and great chops from all, it is an outstanding session and, in hindsight, one of the best fusion records of its day. The album's drawback is probably the flat production and could do with a thorough remastering but until then, I'll take this dynamic example of progressive synth-jazz at a time when no one was doing better.
Review by Chicapah
4 stars When guitarist extraordinaire Al DiMeola joined Return to Forever to record the superb LP "Where Have I Known You Before" the band reached their enormous potential at last, becoming a closely knit foursome that would be hard for anyone to match, much less beat. After touring the rock circuits (just as The Mahavishnu Orchestra had done), stirring up a tidal wave of "have you heard these guys?" word-of-mouth buzz and fan support they reentered the studio to create another fusion work of art.

Bassist Stanley Clarke's "Dayride" is a perfect beginning with its fun, uptempo air and Chick Corea's sprightly synthesizer runs. Clarke and drummer Lenny White lay down some serious funk and Stanley tosses in a little George Benson-like riff singing right before the bridge. The ending is great. "Jungle Waterfall" is a fine example of one of the most endearing qualities of this group. Unlike most jazz ensembles these guys weren't overly obsessed with perfection. Instead they were more interested in finding the right groove for each song even if things got a wee bit loose in the process. This tune has a soulful, disco beat and some excellent guitar vamping from Al. It's a playful romp. DiMeola contributes "Flight of the Newborn" and it is an absolute jaw-dropper. It starts off with a funky rhythm and an intricate melody line. Al uses the wah-wah pedal much like Frank Zappa did in that he manipulates the tone from treble to muted in increments instead of just working it back and forward and it allows him to create some unique sounds as he flies over the frets. Clarke's solo is get-outa-here amazing and White is a blur on drums behind him. It's definitely a "WOW!" inducer for the listener and the last two minutes are so good it's beyond description. Next up is Lenny's "Sofistifunk," a short ditty based on a drum pattern and the name says it all. DiMeola and Corea add some give-and-take licks that are entertaining but the song is just too busy in general and represents the low point of the album for me. They certainly weren't above poking a little fun at mid-seventies musical trends and their tongue-in-cheek "Excerpt From The First Movement of Heavy Metal" is nothing more than a satirical parody (of ELP perhaps?). It starts with a big baby grand piano intro, abruptly introduces a heavy guitar riff that leads up to cacophony and then returns to the grandiose piano motif. The best news is that they don't beat it to death. Now it's time for the album's namesake, the stupendous "No Mystery." All the instrumentation here is acoustic, with White only adding some tasteful cymbals and percussion here and there. Corea's blissful recurring theme is exhilarating and the way they work as a unit is almost spiritual in nature. When Stanley unleashes his bow and solos on the upright bass he takes things to another level altogether. "Interplay" follows and it is a somewhat traditional modern jazz piece that demonstrates what a gifted pianist Chick is as he and Clarke provide all the music. A closed roll on the snare followed by stately notes befitting the entrance of a toreador into a bullring brings us to "Celebration Suite" (in two parts). White creates a one-man drum line as it sounds like he double-tracked his snare over a Spanish marching beat, then they all burst into a flamenco feel with Corea taking the lead on synthesizer. Lenny really shows his stuff as he guides the band through some ferocious accents and changes before they drop back down to the piano. Part II is more of an involved group piece that allows Al to turn in one of his blistering guitar solos that will shear your head off. After a short lull in the action they build things back up to the original "bullfighter" melody before taking it over the top with an ending befitting even the most bombastic of symphonic progressive rock bands. Maybe they were lampooning themselves earlier!

Needless to say, I highly recommend this album. There's a tangible atmosphere of joy coursing through it that is undeniable and impossible to fake. It's also a perfect example of the kind of inspired music that can come from a successful collaboration of virtuosos who can keep their egos restrained long enough to create magnificent art through cooperative teamwork. 4.4 stars.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With such a dream-team line-up (Corea, Clarke, White, DiMeola) you know you're in good hands. Indeed, this is great album, technical delight, ideas galore, it's pleasant, but it's not perfect. The technical skills are burden of this record; they work fine, but I would prefer slight less show-offs, and a bit more coherency. The songs are...brutal. From mellow fusion moments to the insane 32nd-note madness, these guys were in fusion what DREAM THEATER are in prog metal. Technicalities aside, there's a lot to be enjoyed, even if you're not much into fusion. There are some really weird melodies, a funk riff on a synth so deconstructed it sounds almost atonal. But it leads to more conventional tune (if you can call that sinister drumming conventional).

As the name of one song is " Excerpt From The First Movement Of Heavy Metal", I challenge the listeners to find the traces of heavy metal on this fusion record! Oh's not that least not when you are listening to that spasmic piano passage, pseudo-classical and pseudo-flamenco (Albeniz??), which in its full furiousness cross-fades into different arrangement of the you are on your way. Destination is unknown, but it will certainly be an experience.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was lucky to see Return to Forever opening for Focus in 1973, with Bill Connors on guitar (damn, would have liked Al). At the time, bassist Stanley Clarke was the 4 string version of Eric Clapton's "God" and I remember how everyone found his ego unbearable, reserving massive applause for drummer Lenny White! That being said, this allegedly newly reforming band was a giant pillar on the jazz-rock scene, along with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Tony Williams' Lifetime and Larry Coryell's Eleventh House. While "Romantic Warrior" will remain their Everest, this is no shabby second fiddle. Four superlative musicians can hardly screw up (mind you.) and Corea, DiMeola, Clarke and White surely do not disappoint, laying down some torrid funk-laden jazzy extravaganzas that defy logic and mimicry. On the jaunty icebreaker "Dayride", the brisk synths dance with the electric bass, the sprightly guitar swirling in and out of the melody and the wham-bam drumming that whacks your senses. Same for "Jungle Waterfall", a groovy romp with tons of wah-wah guitar, a sweeping main melody that reeks NY (where this was recorded) that just intros nicely for "Flight of the Newborn", a DiMeola penned 7 minute monster that showcases his now legendary sense of power and passion within a couple of blistering solos that will drop your jaw ("speed wah" is how I call it), with Stanley contributing a soulful bass solo that has more feel than ego (God, was he fast , though.) and Chick throwing in some heat seeking synth performances. Amazing track.. "Sofistifunk", a sizzling White composition, is very reminiscent of Cobham's drum/synth noodlings on the latter's legendary Spectrum album, showcasing some insane playing by the boys in the band. Is it funky, do ya think? The exquisitely playfully named "Excerpt from the First Movement of Heavy Metal" is a brief semi-classical fling with some guitar/keyboard dueling that makes the case that would make ELP blush with envy. The 6 minute masterpiece title track starts out like a jazz club classic, Chick's inimitable piano style (arguably one of the supreme pianists on earth) is ravishingly exposed, lyrical beauty displayed with passionate feel and a DiMeola acoustic infusion that defies gravity (one of the craftiest guitarists on earth) , the two soloists combining to transport this track to heavenly heights. "Interplay" acts almost as a goodbye wave encore to the previous extravaganza. The disc ends with the splendid two-part Celebration suite (not to be confused with the PFM classic), which showcases the proggier aspects of this talented crew, taking a Spanish/Andalusian theme and morphing it into a "Don Quixote" ride through torrid musical plains where the sun beats down hard and the windmills defy all the dreamers to fight the imaginary bulls of fate. Drummer White rips through this piece with utter abandon, propelling the two Latin blooded soloists into an uncontrolled frenzy, dizzying electric piano egging the enraged synths on, who in turn flirt with Al's furious guitar stabbings. Truly great stuff, not just for complex prog lovers but simple melancholics like yours truly. This is No Mystery = 4.5 galactic forays
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Another one of RTF classic line-up ventures that got a bit lost, this album is rarely seen on sale and certainly not the most representative of their discography. Sporting a psych-disco artwork, No Mystery is probably RTF's funkiest effort, but let that not deter you; it's still a worthy RTF album that you're bound to like if you dug their other works. With an unchanged line-up over WHIMYB, NM features vocals, something which hadn't happened over the previous two albums.

Yes, the funk thing is almost overpowering although you're not yet on Hancock's Headhunter album either, but this is sometimes close. The opening Dayride and later on Jungle Waterfall are full and complex funk stuff (ie. Sofistifunk) where the jazz elements are almost eradicated (White and Clarke are the main songwriters on this side), this being enhanced by Corea's disputable synth sounds. The race towards new technology was something that seemed primordial to all these jazz rock pioneers (Zawinul, Hancock and later McLaughlin with those ugly Synclavier guitar effects), often causing them to overuse and abuse these novelties and their music can seem quite dated nowadays, precisely because of these "novelties". One of the rare tracks that escape the Funkmania is the lengthier and ADM-penned Flight of The Newborn that returns to a more conservative fusion and the collectively penned Heavy Metal movement that features Corea's classical roots.

The flipside (all tracks written by Corea) starts with the title track makes a return to more standard jazz (a hint of LAAF, with Clarke's bowed bass) but again veering a bit more classical to the end. Actually, the whole side takes on a very different feel with plenty of Corea's Spanish-influenced classical musical, reinforced with ADM's guitar, the whole culminating with the first part of Celebration Suite, but the second part is not far behind: full 14-mins dramatic Hispanic histrionics and hysterics a gogo: great stuff worthy of their HOTSG album

Saved by its second side, NM is a very schizophrenic album, with its fusion and funk facets: most likely Afro-Americans will prefer the opening side, while the euro-American will prefer the flipside. In either case, NM is again a very good (if not excellent) album, but I would not recommend it as an introduction to RTF's works.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Way back in the seventies a drumming acquaintance of mine knowing that I was also a drummer was kind enough to put together a compilation tape of some of his favourite drum moments for me. One of the tracks featured the wonderful drumming of Lenny White of Return To Forever. I knew who the band was, but he failed to list tracks and having lost touch with him spent years trying to track down the excellent piece of music he'd recorded for me. Buying Return To Forever albums at random, after much excellent listening pleasure from some of their other albums I finally found what I was looking for on my fifth purchase of the band, No Mystery.

The track in question turned out to be Celebration Suite, the highlight on this cd. Although that tape has long since gone the track was as good as I remembered it to be. It's divided into two parts, closing the album. It has a strong Spanish feel to it and the four piece line up of master musicians of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and the afore mentioned White play brilliantly; fourteen minutes of some of my favourite Fusion from the seventies when there was so much great music in this vein around. White's drumming is very dynamic, just about stealing the show here and I particularly love Corea's electric piano sound, particularly on the beautiful lull in the middle of this explosive track.

Although we're listening to Jazz Rock much of the rest of this album has a strong funk vibe, no doubt down to Clarke's influences whose solo material often has strong funk leanings. The first two tracks fit this category, Dayride and Jungle Waterfall. Neither blow me a way but Flight of the Newborn is better, still having a funk feel but at seven and a half minutes the band can stretch out a bit more and features an excellent guitar solo from DiMeola and some nice bass work from Clarke.

Sofistifunk as the title suggests is more funk though with an interesting rhythmic structure from White. Don't be fooled by the title, Excert From the First Movement of Heavy Metal is not that, but after a dramatic piano intro from Corea has quite a rocky riff from Dimeola and a more simplistic driving rhythmic structure from White and Clarke.

Title track, No Mystery is a mellower affair and leaves the funk behind. Dominated by Corea's piano with some tasteful acoustic guitar touches and acoustic bass too which is also prevalent on Interplay.

Whilst No Mystery is not my favourite Return To Forever album for the sheer brilliance of Celebration Suite it's worth buying for that alone. It's a shame that the rest of the album though some very good moments are present doesn't quite match the quality of this piece. 3 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars They actually won a Grammy for this album in 1975 for "Best Performance by a Jazz Group". I do prefer the previous album more, but I tell you, with this lineup it's just a joy listening to all four guys play. This one is definitely more funky than "Where Have I Known You Before".

"Dayride" is a great opener with lots of energy and incredible band interplay. Lots of synths and even some brief vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. Of course White is all over this one. "Jungle Waterfall" is funky man. White and Clarke dominate with Corea adding his synths here and there, while Al plays along. "Flight Of The Newborn" is DiMeola's first recorded composition. And what a song ! More funk with keys to open. The guitar starts to light it up a minute in. Check out the bass after 4 minutes. The drums are just outstanding all the way through. No surprise there. Nice work from Chick before 6 minutes. This song is just a pleasure to listen to. "Sofistifunk" is just as the title suggests...complex funk. This is intricate and funky. "Exerpt From The First Movement Of Heavy Metal" opens with some outstanding piano melodies. Before a minute DiMeola comes in tearing things up. Drums follow with bass. Ripping guitar in this one before it ends as it began with piano.

"No Mystery" opens with piano and a jazzy flavour. Clarke chose to use his double bass on this one, and gets the bow out 2 1/2 minutes in. Intricate guitar a minute later. Chick really leads the rest of the way from 4 1/2 minutes on. Cool track. "Interplay" is really the interplay between Corea and Clarke throughout. "The Celebration Suite" is next. "Part I" opens with a machine gun like drum roll. Marching style drumming will come in around 2 minutes. A Spanish flavour follows. I like when it settles down after 6 1/2 minutes, and also the sound 8 minutes in as it's still calm. Very reflective and meaningful for me. "Part II" opens with a collage of sounds, so much going on it's fantastic ! Guitar starts to take the lead with some blistering melodies. Nice. A change 2 1/2 minutes in as it calms right down. Drums and keys lead the way. The drumming is brilliant.That Spanish flavour is back before 4 minutes. Like the previous album they end it with the longest track.

Easily 4 stars for me. I'm not worthy guys.

Review by The Quiet One
2 stars It's No Mystery they would go for straight-forward funk someday

Return to Forever's second album with Al Di Meola on board is a varied album and rather different, compositionally, from the more concise and exciting Where Have I Known You Before, though sound-wise they're not that different, you'll notice the same type of keyboards and rhythms.

The band of course still plays top-notch, each member being highly proficient in their respective instrument, even Meola now has developed his highly acclaimed shred style. But playing greatly does not make an album good by any means.

The first four tunes are straight-forward funk with a typical groove and without any diversity, they go on and on with the same ryhthm and messy mixture of clavinet, electric piano and synths from Corea which tries to emulate Hancock's superb groove, but he utterly failed to make something that good, and it's not even memorable. The title track and 'Interplay' are acoustic affairs with Corea showing his great capability on the piano, probably the most entertaining tunes on the album and they're not even fusion pieces.

The album concludes with a 14 minute suite called 'Celebration' which tries to assimilate the epicness of 'Song for the Pharoah Kings' from the previous album, but it doesn't achieve its mission. It's either very similar to the previous album or simply doesn't hold the listeners attention for too long.

I suppose it's no mystery the rating of this album: definitely a weak fusion record with few memorable passages. If you take in account the greatness of 'Where Have I Known You Before', this album is just for collectors.

2 stars: get this after you've got the rest of the band's discography, including their first two pleasant latin jazz album. As for fusion fans in general, you can avoid this.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Return to Forever's second album with Al Di Meola is a varied collection of virtuoso fusion music. There are a lot of funk and Latin influences to keep things lively and interesting but as usual with Return to Forever's music, I miss some heart and spontaneous passion in this music.

The two openers are easy-going pieces with catchy hooks and feel-good grooves aplenty. Nice but hardly appealing. Flight of the Newborn is slower and opens up for more mood-setting and great solos. Sofistifunk is an attempt to re-create the heavily syncopated funk-fusion of Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters period and while it is technically competent it fails to inspire and pales compared to its example. Excerpt From The First Movement Of Heavy Metal is a Mahavishnu Orchestra inspired bit with heavy guitar shredding.

After the easy-listening lounge-bar jazz of the title track and Interplay , the album ends with a strong epic piece that, just as on the preceding album, clearly demonstrates what this band is capable off when they put their heart in it.

No Mystery is a nice album but it's one that doesn't move me as much as other jazz-rock can. And that emotional connection, subjective as it may be, is still what makes the difference between a 3 and 4 star quote from me.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Another technically capable album from the classic Return to Forever lineup, No Mystery is enhanced by the growing guitar skills of Al DiMeola, whose shredding on several tracks makes key contributions to guitar technique which would soon be adopted in a variety of genres. The strongest composition on the album is probably the closing Celebration Suite, but the greater emphasis on songs composed by the whole band opens the door to a greater sonic diversity than heard on the previous album, with funk and the smoother side of jazz both making their presence felt.

The album is, by and large, a satisfying work which gives the impression of a band continuing to develop its sound, but the increasing sonic diversity can risk making it feel a little directionless and unfocused at times. A growing focus on Corea's synthesiser skills saves the day, with this perhaps being as much of a showcase for Corea's synthesiser work as, say, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy was a showcase for Bill Connors' guitar.

Review by Negoba
3 stars Uninspired, Typical Funky Fusion

I picked up NO MYSTERY during a fusion glut, hoping to find a companion to the wonderful ROMANTIC WARRIOR. No such luck. While this album has the same lineup, it lacks the vision, intent, and ambition of its followup. While there are glimpses of the heights this monster outfit is capable of, there are also long stretches of pretty non-descript funktified fusion that is a bit dated but more importantly not that emotionally evocative.

There are a few little sections that stick with me, including the ELP / neo-classicalh intro to "From the First Movement of Heavy Metal." The introductory theme to the "Celebration Suite" is also pretty memorable but both then descend into relatively generic funk jams. My favorite song is the more laid-back title tune which is more jazz than rock. Al Dimeola is relegated to clean comping much of the time, though he does get a few McClaughlin derived lead spots.

White and Clarke are slippery and fun, though this is far from their shining moment. Clarke is obviously one of the masters of this style, and he keeps up his end of the bargain here. White is also energetic, but fusion has so many masters of the drumkit that the bar is quite high. Unlike ROMANTIC WARRIOR, this album is clearly first and foremost Corea's. And while he is a great player, the lack of balance deters from the quality of the album.

Bottom line: Solid enough for RTF fans, but for more casual fans of fusion, this should probably be a late acquisition. 2.5 rounded toward the mean.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is the middle album of the trio of albums that featured Return To Forever's most famous lineup (wow - it seems like they did more) of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and Lenny White. It continues their exploration of jazz, rock, funk and latin music, with an emphasis of tight, difficult arrangements with virtuoso solos.

On the surface, many of the compositions seem simplistic, compared to the following masterpiece "Romantic Warrior". But really these guys could just burn up the studio. The title track, No Mystery is a perfect example. It starts like a typical latin fusion song, and develops into a set of complex solos from Corea, Clarke and White.

The album proves that you could not go wrong with this lineup.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars To me, No Mystery is a bit of an oddity in the RTF catalog. It's clear on side one (the first five cuts, if you own the CD) the band was exploring funk, with a little disco thrown in. It's still unmistakably fusion, though, so if you like fusion, it shouldn't bother you too much, but maybe for the more prog inclined, it might, although Al DiMeola's "Flight of the Newborn" is the most proggy thing on side one, more resembling something off Al's late '70s material (the more proggy stuff, not the flamenco stuff) from Land of the Midnight Sun or Elegant Gypsy. "Excerpt From the First Movement of Heavy Metal" gets me scratching my head. What's metal about this? Of course I understand Chick Corea and the boys would never play heavy metal, but what about the rest of the First Movement, and perhaps several other movements? Was there supposed to be a Heavy Metal Suite? Regardless, it's more of the funky stuff the guys were exploring on that side. I suppose it was Lenny White steering the band in a more funky direction as a lot of it brings to mind his first solo album Venusian Summer, released later the same year (1975). Side two is a different story. Here they're going for a much more prog-oriented direction. To my ears they actually sound like Romantic Warrior sessions, even though this predates that album by a year, but it's clear as a bell where they were already heading on this side. The music is much more complex, there's almost Gentle Giant-like moves at times. All this culminates with the two part "Celebration Suite". Side two is very much worth it for the proggers, especially if they enjoy Romantic Warrior. I can see while why this album still gets favorable reviews, it's not as highly regarded as the other three with Lenny White (Al DiMeola wasn't on Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy). Mainly because the funky material they do here may not appeal to every proghead, and that disco on "Jungle Waterfall" may make many wonder if they sold out. Luckily they didn't, and that was their only disco song here. For the more prog inclined, listen to side two, it's amazing stuff, foreseeing what they'll be doing on Romantic Warrior. Side one is still quite enjoyable, but less complex and less prog. Still worth getting.
Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars The jazz fusion renaissance of the 70s has many big names attached to it. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Masayoshi Takanaka, and so many more, so much that the list could honestly go on for an eternity. In fact, you could say the jazz fusion renaissance never ended in the wake of the 80s as it is still highly influential to this day, almost that it goes on forever. Perhaps the late and great Chick Corea knew this, and thought to give it his own spin of things, but rather then go for the avant garde touches that his colleagues would do, he'd go to a more accessible direction, combining the genre with latino jazz, prog rock, and on this album and Where Have I Known You Before in particular, funk.

No Mystery is the group's 6th album, 5th if you consider Corea's 1972 album of Return To Forever as something a part of his own solo discography. It was released in 1975 with some high praises, even winning a Grammy. In regards to the jazz fusion movement, it could be seen as a more attainable outlook to what Herbie Hancock put out on the table with his album of Head Hunters, straying away from their more proggy jazz rock sounds to a more routed jazz funk volume that is quite energetic in its wake.

The best thing about this album to me is that it is extremely fun. It really put the fun into funk music, containing these joyous moments of vivacious jazz and rock, fused into this electrifying mix of style, and at points beauty. The first side for me is definitely the highlight, with tracks like Dayride, Flight Of The Newborn, and Excerpt From The First Movement Of Heavy Metal having this giant quality and superb merry that I have a huge affinity for, though the second half with the slightly more overtly jazz fusions songs like the title track and the two part Celebration Suite are also really nice, having this more beautiful side to this vibrant album.

Another thing that gives me great joy is clearly how inspirational this album is, especially when looking at the Japanese city pop sound of the late 70s through late 80s. While city pop is a lot more rooted in, well, pop, you can definitely find a link here to some city pop artists like Masayoshi Takanaka and Himiko Kikuchi, whom both I am a big fan of. I think this just brings me a lot of happiness because it shows that no matter where or when in the world, an album can reach out into the right hands, and create this dynamic and new sense of art, even if the album comes from a place that has quite a different culture to that of where it lands. I just find that nice.

Though, if there is one thing I am not quite fond of is how the synths sound. I feel like at certain points they are kind of dry, and almost a bit played much. I think there are points, like in the first part of the Celebration Suite where the synth keys actually work really well and add a nice dynamic to the album, but for the most part I think some of the songs like Jungle Waterfall and Sofistifunk should've held the synths back a bit and allow the other instruments to shine, or at least not go so aggressive as they did on those two songs.

A high recommendation, especially if you enjoy albums like Head Hunters or Get Up With It. It holds all the right formulas that make jazz funk and fusion so great, and adds a bit more to lighten the mood of any day. I give it two thumbs up.

Latest members reviews

3 stars No Mystery ? 1975 (3/5) 11 ? Best Song: Flight of the Newborn Now I'm no fool. I can count by twos and tie my shoes, but I can't for the life of me tell whether or not I like this album any more or less than Where Have I Known You Before. I suppose the introductory statement would have to i ... (read more)

Report this review (#440505) | Posted by Alitare | Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Really ironic-- the five that you can sample are mediocre. But let me tell you about the other four! "No Mystery" features piano and guitar in a delightful flow of soft yet brisk music. I can close my eyes and imagine myself in forests or mountains somewhere. "Interplay", featuring piano and b ... (read more)

Report this review (#239538) | Posted by fant0mas | Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars (I will be seeing RTF at the Denver Paramount Theater on June 3, 2008 and felt compelled to review the three CDs featuring the classic lineup of Corea, Di Meola, Clark and White). RTF's 1975 No Mystery was the band's second release with the Corea, Di Meola, Clark & White lineup. No Mystery is ... (read more)

Report this review (#165207) | Posted by wbiphoto | Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maybe it's because I am a drummer that I find this album to be absolutely mind blowing. Wether it be marching snare riffs, intricate fusion jazz licks, heavy rock beats or the subtle accents that are expressed throught the whole album; "No Mystery" is one of the finest examples of an innovative a ... (read more)

Report this review (#70630) | Posted by | Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having had the pleasure of seeing this Group Live at the Gussman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami during the 70's gives me a leg up on most. They were billed if memory serves as Return to Forever featuring Chick Corea and John McGlaughlin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Man..I can tell you ... (read more)

Report this review (#29497) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love fusion, and fusion of this quality is difficult to find. Altough this album is not so strong as the previous one, "Where have I know you before" and the outstanding "Romantic Warriors", has its own taste. More funk, songs shorter, different sound, but everything here is intelligent and ... (read more)

Report this review (#29495) | Posted by Melos | Sunday, September 26, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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