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Return To Forever

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Return To Forever Return to Forever: Live album cover
3.12 | 35 ratings | 6 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (76:06)
1. Opening '77 (7:10)
2. The Endless Night (20:23)
3. The Musician (6:58)
4. Stanley's Introduction (1:24)
5. Hello Again (6:02)
6. So Long Mickey Mouse (6:43)
7. Musicmagic (27:26)

CD 2 (75:40)
8. Come Rain or Come Shine (3:55)
9. Serenade (14:53)
10. The Moorish Warrior and Spanish Princess (19:20)
11. Stanley's Introduction (2:02)
12. Spanish Fantasy (24:46)
13. Chick's Closing Introductions (1:09)
14. On Green Dolphin Street (9:35)

Total Time 151:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Jerry Brown / drums
- Stanley Clarke / bass, piccolo, vocals, acoustic bass, piccolo bass
- Chick Corea / synthesizer, piano, voices, clavinet, ARP, Fender Rhodes, Oberheim, Minimoog
- Joe Farrell / flute, piccolo, soprano & tenor saxophones
- Harold Garrett / tuba, baritone, bass trombone
- Gayle Moran / organ, synthesizer, Hammond organ, electric piano, vocals, Mellotron, Minimoog
- Ron Moss / tenor trombone
- Jim Pugh / baritone, tenor saxophone, tenor trombone
- James Tinsley / trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo, piccolo trumpet

Releases information

Recorded on May 20 & 21, 1977.

Note: see other entry for original LP version (1977)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RETURN TO FOREVER Return to Forever: Live ratings distribution

(35 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

RETURN TO FOREVER Return to Forever: Live reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an excellent SINGLE live LP from Return to Forever. The original sleeve shows Picasso's "Three Musicans" painting placed inside a yellow/golden border. The selected tracks are excellent. There is a track having jaw-dropping complex Be-Bop and Big Band elements. Gayle Moran, the Chick Corea's wife, sings on a couples of bits. The dynamic music reaches some UNPRECEDENTED complexity: the extremely skillful musicians play live an often impossible music! Thus, everything is very structured and disciplined. There are excellent supporting brass section parts. There are no tracks of my LP coming from the "Romantic Warrior" album. The crowd favorably responds, and there is a good live ambience. The performance and complexity is comparable to the "Romantic Warrior" album itself.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Dick Heath
2 stars Bought when I was a completist*, worse I bought the version imported into the UK, and alas I have to report I was most disappointed, especially after paying well over the odds for it.

Not a fitting swansong. Not an album that gets played anymore here (cf. 'Hymn of the 7th Galaxy '- or check out the live tracks on the Verve compilation 'Return to the 7th Galaxy' for tightness).

Across the multi-disc set, you'll find extended pieces played by RTF agumented with other brass and wind players - in fact a live orchestral album. Tunes are largely taken from their CBS years (note: Columbia Records' 30 pieces of silver corrupted many a good jazzrock group in the late 70's) - IMHO, RTF sounded far better during their Polydor years. Here each of RTF have their slot. Mrs Corea too, has her's - how I dislike her sort of voice doing jazz rock, (but I should have been forewarned by the Mahavishnu Orchestra recording with symphonic orchestra and Ms Moran): too sweet, too operatic -give me Annette Peacock any time. Over-extended tunes make the whole far too loose and sloppy. At the time of this album's release, RTF were individually doing their own things live and on record - and I see this album (and therefore the associated tour) as little more than capitalising on a name.

It only just slots into the 2 star category.

(*A lesson that I took some time to learn, i.e. going on automatic pilot as soon as a new album by a favourite band was announced and rushing out to order weeks before the release date - worse having not heard a single track. Probably it took a dozen albums and 10 major diasappointments before I learnt patience and the need to hear tracks before buying).

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you love jazz fusion and improvisations, and live record, this one suits you perfectly. Well, there must be reason why I choose this live set to review. Today is my full one year service writing prog music reviews in this site. Yes, I started my first write-up in 25 May 2004 with Return To Forever "Music Magic". It was actually a trial review as I was not aware that this site was so democratic that no editing was required as my write-up was displayed instantly. I loved it. And also, I thought it was the only prog site that covers the whole discography of prog bands, completely. It's probably until today, this site offers the most complete reviews of prog bands. It's good that if I like certain album of a band I can trace directly how many albums the band has already produced for reference. And today, to commemorate my one year continuous writing for this beloved website I intentionally write my 300th review with the same band.

This double CD represents full improvisations of the band's studio albums. It starts with fully improvised tune Opening '77 (7:10) that I think it was never created in studio. That's jazz man .. it can be created through a jam session on stage. Well, through this tune you can enjoy great play of Chick Corea with his electric piano; some great brass section work, bass lines and drumming. It flows seamlessly to my favorite track from Music Magic album: The Endless Night. This song is performed with an extended improvisation - three times longer than original version. The floating keyboard sound accompanied by inventive keyboard notes by Chick characterizes this song. I love this opening part. In fact this was the first song I heard the first time from the band. The combination of brass section and electric piano works is truly stunning. It's complex but it has powerful arrangement. This lengthened duration is full with solo improvisation in the middle of the track. Gayle Moran's vocal is superb. Even though Lenny White did not sit on the drum stool; replaced by Gerry Brown, the drum sounds are really excellent. Stanley Clarke that characterized the bass playing (jazz) in the seventies - with picking style is clearly demonstrated here in this track. WOW! It's a great music.

The Musician is another favorite of mine where it has driving rhythm section accentuated by brass section. It has great trombone solo and inventive bass lines. This is a high energy track that makes my adrenalin exploding. Great electric piano as well. Gayle Moran's voice is also awesome. Hello Again (6:02) is almost completely a jazz track in mellow style. So Long Mickey Mouse (6:43) seems like a continuation of previous track Musician as the melody is similar. Music Magic (27:26) concludes Disc One with full of improvisations.

Disc Two starts with Gayle Moran's introduction to Come Rain or Come Shine (3:55) that features her as lead vocals and her husband with piano work. Serenade (14:53) starts beautifully with piano solo and moves slowly into completely jazz tune. The Moorish Warrior and Spanish Princess (19:20) explores bass improvisations combined with other instruments. Disc Two is concluded with On Green Dolphin Street (9:35) that features Chick's excellent piano work combined with bass lines.

It's a highly recommended live set, especially if you appreciate jazz fusion work.

Progressively yours,


Review by Chus
3 stars Great musicianship; unfortunately it drags a bit in self-indulgence. Song marks are prolonged above the 20 minutes from the original 9 to 10 minutes of the originals. I must say, however, that the version of "The Musician" is amazing, although the vocal parts were cut until the end of the song. Musicmagic is, in it's first half, a bit annoying and repetitive (save the introduction of it, which was the perfect symphonic riff one hears in the original); the solo spots are way too long for their own sake in "The Endless Night" (nonetheless it's one of my favourite tracks, however). The second disc is mostly solo spots, with lights set specially for Joe Farrell ("Serenade") and a very long acoustic bass solo by Stanley Clarke on "The Moorish Warrior and Spanish Princess, followed by an acoustic piano delivery by Chick (great one!). The album ends on a more traditional jazz mood with "On Green Dolphin Street"

Though the songs in their pure selves are good, the lengths could had been cut a bit. Thus my first 3-star rating for a fusion album.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This is a great jazz album. It is also a pretty good fusion album, although the fusion is oftentimes scarce. The biggest problem is that the album is branded as a Return To Forever album. And Return To Forever, despite the preceding studio album, "Music Magic", was known for exceptional fusion. So an album that is about two thirds jazz without fusion that calls itself Return To Forever is something of a disappointment.

The album was the swan song of the group, up until the recent reformation. But it contained no songs from any of the studio albums before "Music Magic". There are, however, four of the six songs from that album. Each of those songs fare better here than on the original studio versions.

It helps that Chick Corea was at the height of his keyboard prowess at the time of this concert. Both his piano and electric keyboard playing are spectacular. Stanley Clarke is a bit more subdued. Only his piccolo bass playing, substituting for guitar solos stands out. His acoustic bass solo is good, but I've seen and heard him play much better.

So, for a jazz fan, this is a very fine album. But if you are looking for the soaring fusion of RTF, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

Latest members reviews

1 stars I love the Return To Forever era Chick Corea . That said, this release is a disappointment on many levels. To me, RTF works as a true fusion band, whether the jazzier self titled & Light As A Feather releases or the more rock inflected Romantic Warrior. The studio albums feature tight arrangem ... (read more)

Report this review (#55995) | Posted by | Friday, November 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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