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RETURN TO FOREVER

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Return To Forever biography
RETURN TO FOREVER was jazz keyboard player Chick COREA's jazz-rock fusion band of the 1970s. Like WEATHER REPORT and the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, it was a group formed by an alumnus of Miles Davis' late-'60s bands with the intention of furthering the jazz-rock hybrid Davis had explored on albums like Bitches Brew. At the time, this was seen as a means of creativity, a new direction for jazz, and as a way of attracting the kinds of large audiences enjoyed by rock musicians. RETURN TO FOREVER started out as more of a Latin-tinged jazz ensemble, but COREA, influenced by the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA of John McLaughlin and some of the progressive rock bands coming out of Great Britain, notably YES and EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, moved the group more toward rock, achieving considerable commercial success. A later re-orientation of the band gave it more of a big band style before COREA folded the unit, retaining the RETURN TO FOREVER name for occasional other projects. COREA formed RETURN TO FOREVER in the fall of 1971 while he was working in STAN GETZ's band, and the two groups shared some members. In addition to COREA on keyboards, the initial lineup featured Stanley Clarke on bass, Joe Farrell on reeds, and the Brazilian husband-and-wife team of percussionist Airto Moreira and singer Flora Purim. "Return to Forever" was the name of the first tune COREA wrote for the outfit, and he then adapted it as the group's name. The band made its debut at the Village Vanguard nightclub in New York City in November 1971.

In February 1972, they recorded their first self-titled album, though it was not released on ECM in Europe until the following year and did not appear in the U.S. until 1975. COREA, Clarke, and Moreira, all of whom had been playing with GETZ, left his band to concentrate on RETURN TO FOREVER.

The band toured Japan and recorded a second album, "Light as a Feather", in London, using some of the songs COREA had written and recorded with GETZ, such as "500 Miles High" and "Spain." It was released on Polydor Records. Up to this point, RETURN TO FOREVER was more notable for its Latin sound than for fusion, but when Farrell left in the spring of 1973, COREA replaced him with a rock guitarist, Bill Connors from SPIRAL STAIRCASE. Moreira and Purim also left to form their own group, and COREA brought in drummer Steve Gadd and percussionist Mingo Lewis, unveiling the new lineup at the New York City nightclub the Bi...
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The AnthologyThe Anthology
Concord Jazz 2008
Audio CD$10.31
$8.40 (used)
Romantic WarriorRomantic Warrior
Import
Sony UK 1999
Audio CD$8.30
$7.43 (used)
Where Have I Known You BeforeWhere Have I Known You Before
Verve 1985
Audio CD$9.27
$5.22 (used)
Live: Complete ConcertLive: Complete Concert
Import
Imports 2017
Audio CD$10.39
Best of Return to ForeverBest of Return to Forever
Sony 1990
Audio CD$29.80
$1.94 (used)
ReturnsReturns
Eagle Records 2009
Audio CD$12.44
$14.92 (used)
The Mothership Returns [2 CD/DVD Combo]The Mothership Returns [2 CD/DVD Combo]
Eagle Records 2012
Audio CD$17.17
$16.32 (used)
Live the Complete ConcertLive the Complete Concert
Import
Sony Japan 2011
Audio CD$69.34
$39.99 (used)
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RETURN TO FOREVER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RETURN TO FOREVER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.03 | 228 ratings
Chick Corea: Return To Forever
1972
3.41 | 143 ratings
Light As A Feather
1972
4.16 | 284 ratings
Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy
1973
4.16 | 206 ratings
Where Have I Known You Before
1974
3.71 | 136 ratings
No Mystery
1975
4.26 | 581 ratings
Romantic Warrior
1976
2.75 | 78 ratings
Music Magic
1977

RETURN TO FOREVER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 30 ratings
Live: Return To Forever
1977
3.79 | 19 ratings
Return to Forever: Live
1977
4.43 | 14 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2008
4.11 | 42 ratings
Returns
2009
4.50 | 44 ratings
The Mothership Returns
2012

RETURN TO FOREVER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.49 | 43 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2009

RETURN TO FOREVER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.51 | 13 ratings
The Best of Return to Forever
1980
3.76 | 12 ratings
Return To The 7th Galaxy: The Anthology
1996
3.67 | 3 ratings
This Is Jazz, Vol. 12
1996
4.53 | 20 ratings
The Anthology
2008
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Definitive Collection
2008

RETURN TO FOREVER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

RETURN TO FOREVER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Where Have I Known You Before by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.16 | 206 ratings

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Where Have I Known You Before
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I don't know why I had been resistant at Return to Forever for years. I think I do, when I was younger I thought a lot of fusion was just boring technical showoffmanship. Even when I bought Romantic Warrior (used LP at a St. Vincent de Paul) in 2006, it has some nice ideas, but then I dismissed it. Years later it really grew on me, and I noticed how much prog leaning that particular album had. Then much more recently I went for Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, and really pleasantly shocked with Light as a Feather (with the Brazlian approach thanks to Flora Purim and Airto Moreira). Now it's Where Have I known You Before. This album find Chick Corea finally incorporating synthesizers along with electric piano and clavinet. Bill Connors was now out of the picture, in comes an unknown Berklee student named Al DiMeola to fill in, and this is the classic lineup that would last for two more albums (including the ever popular Romantic Warrior). The album takes a more calm, refined approach, where Hymn if the Seventh Galaxy was pretty obviously taking on to the more raw sound of Mahavishnu Orchestra (but without violin). The "Where Have I..." title variants are basically piano interludes that go with the full-band stuff. "Vulcan Worlds" is the opening cut and what a great piece this is, especially the synth passages. Stanley Clarke did a version of it on his self-entitled second album from 1974 on Nemperor. "The Shadow of Lo" is more calm and relaxed, but there are a couple of electric piano riffs that sounded like they were taken off Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds of Fire. "Beyond the Seventh Galaxy" was an obvious sequel reference to Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, this is pretty much a straight up fusion piece you come to expect from this era, a great piece nonetheless. "Earth Juice" is an interesting one. Lenny White does that disco hi-hat thing, and Al DiMeola gives a nice rock feel to the guitar. The overuse of hi-hat may turn off many, because it became such a bad disco cliche that it became one of the reasons for the bad name of disco (of course having the campy Village People in the late '70s didn't help matters any). In 1974 that hi-hat approach had luckily not been done to death, and there's too much of a rock attitude to be actually disco. You can't get Studio 54 dancing with this piece (and beside Studio 54 didn't even exist in '74). "Song to the Pharaoh Kings" is over 14 minutes and what a wonderful piece. Of the RTF albums I have, I will have to say this is by far my favorite. Great stuff that I can recommend to all fusion fans.
 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.26 | 581 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars When you have some of the biggest names in 70's fusion on your team, how can you lose? When it comes to jazz fusion, there are few superstar lineups more formidable than Latin shredder Al Di Meola, electric jazz pioneer Chick Corea, and the powerhouse rhythm section of Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Although the talent on display here is a smorgasbord for jazz cats to ogle over, there's certainly more to "Romantic Warrior" than just its name-dropping creds.

What we have here is one of the finest marriages of jazz fusion and progressive rock that's been set to record. While the medieval influences alluded to by other reviewers may be a tad overstated, there's no denying that there's a symphonic flair to this record that you won't find on any of the dime-a-dozen instrumental fusion albums that got popped out like rabbits between 1975 and 1980. "Romantic Warrior" is something of a mixed bag. Pure (and expertly done) fusion numbers like "The Sorceress" and the acoustic title track act as expansive vehicles for passionate and inspired soloing. More rock-oriented tracks like "Majestic Dance" pack in a punch that you just don't find in most jazz, and the complex and spacey "The Magician" is in a league all its own in the Return To Forever canon. In all, there's a great diversity to this record that should appease fans of Miles Davis and Gentle Giant alike.

Of course, what really sells this album for me is the excitement that it conveys. As cliche as the term is in jazz reviews, this whole album is electric, through and through. From the frantic rhythmic workouts of the opening track, you know that the next 45 minutes are going to be a complete thrill ride. The album subdues (but never tires) a little with "The Sorceress" and "The Romantic Warrior", but from there it builds up into a non-stop crescendo of intensity that doesn't back down until the crashing finale of "Duel of the Jester and The Tyrant". If there was any one fusion record that deserved to be considered a "masterpiece of progressive rock music", this would be the one. This is fusion for prog fans, and prog for fusion fans, and an album that excels at both. One of the true jazz rock masterpieces that every fan of 70's fusion needs to check out. 5 stars.

 Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 284 ratings

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Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars What a drastic change in sound for Return to Forever. Light as a Feather found the group as a Brazilian type of jazz band, with Flora Purim and Airto Moreira. The Bossa Nova influence on that album is hard to escape, you expect Flora Purim to break into "The Girl From Impanema" at any time. The album is stuffed full of great electric piano solos from Chick Corea himself an fantastic stand up bass playing from Stanley Clarke. Wonderful album, but had RTF stopped there, there would be little reason for RTF to be included here. Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy featured an overhaul in the lineup. Corea and Clarke still present, with newcomers Lenny White and Bill Connors. There was a transitional lineup that started recording this album but then were partially redone with the stabilized lineup. Gone are the Brazilian/Bossa Nova influences and instead they became the established fusion band that they're most remembered for. Chick Corea admitted being inspired by John McLaughlin around this time, so it should come as no surprise that Hymn of the Seven Galaxy is very much in Mahavishnu territory. Bill Connors doing that similar lightening fast guitar playing, Lenny White playing with that same ferocity of Billy Cobham, and of course Stanley Clarke with his similarly fast bass playing. "Captain Senor Mouse" has a bit of that Latin influences, but even here it's still fusion overdrive. "Space Circus" has a funky feel to it, but for the most part this album is full of break-neck fast playing which will either blow you away or you feel it's just technical showoffmanship. I'm with the former, though. Because of the obvious Mahavishnu comparison, it's that reason Bill Connors quickly left, he felt it was a bit too close to Mahavishnu territory for his liking, or at least he felt the band shouldn't have tried riding the coattails of another band, so he was quickly replaced by Al DiMeola, their most recognized guitarist. Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy makes no bones about who they are: no longer a Brazilian jazz band, but a full-on fusion band, and this is an album I highly recommend for fans of the genre.
 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.26 | 581 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars The jazz fusion scene features some of the most skilled musicians that are unmatched by most. One of the more notable examples is that of Return to Forever, a band fronted by piano virtuoso Chick Corea.

Return to Forever's Romantic Warrior features some of the most wonderful sounding pieces I've heard in awhile. The aforementioned frontman Chick Corea's skill with a plethora of different pianos, including but not limited to the Yamaha organ, Polymoog, and ARP Odyssey is nothing short of inspiring to a former keyboard player like myself. Every band member plays similarly; with eclectic and complex tempos but with a cool, smooth disposition, very similar to Corea's free jazz solo career. Lenny White's insane playing style is punchy and extremely effective especially with the beautiful chords presented by Corea and Stanley Clarke's ominous bass plucks. The album art as well as the style with which the acoustics are played bring out a sort of medieval vibe, like an ancient piece invigorated with the intricacy of a team of modern masters. The certain hone to this blade gives off a sense of subtle self-respect that isn't too hard to chew, because I resoundingly revere such wonderful music.

Romantic Warrior combines the chill swing of your downtown parlour jazz with the richness of an orchestra. I highly suggest you check it out.

 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.26 | 581 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Progressive fantasy jazz rock

Often considered as RETURN TO FOREVER's best album, "Romantic Warrior" is more avant-garde and less funky than the band's previous efforts. Featuring a more important usage of electronic keyboards and rocking guitars, the musicians also incorporated symphonic/heavy prog elements from bands such as YES or KING CRIMSON in their music. Combined to the strange and charming synthesizers of Chick Corea, the result is quite original and inspired, while remaining accessible. The question is: what's the relation with the title?

"Medieval Overture" (by Chick Corea) is in fact not really medieval. Instead, this composition is a rather retro-futuristic spacey jazz/rock with various keyboards in the style of YES. Very nice, and sets the tone for the rest of the disc. Lenny White's "Sorceress" is the funkiest track of the record. Opening with a calm and groovy bass line, it contains a few guitar and keyboards interventions with a slight flavour of McCoy Tyner. In contrast, the title track (by Chick Corea) is fully acoustic. Majestic and delightful, however a bit too long.

Despite its title, the cool "Majestic Dance" is not very dancing but rather the rock-iest passage of the disc with its distorted guitars. This is logic when you know this was composed by Al Di Meola. Stanley Clarke's "The Magician" is the most complex composition, and also my least favorite track. Quite odd and changing, it incorporates fun small melodies. Ironically this song is the only one truly related to the album thematic, as it sounds a little medieval by moments. Once again by Chick Corea, "Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant" is the longest composition. Contrarily to the previous song, the music is more accessible and built around a nice melancholic melody as a main theme, with a few surprises inside...

Only after the listen can you understand the album title. "Romantic Warrior" do not naively refer to love or martial metal songs. Instead, it should rather been taken as an oxymoron that corresponds to the musical style: both calm and turbulent, light and ferocious. Everything is a matter of contrast. Unusual, original and with an unique sound, this 1976 opus is one of the proggiest and greatest achievements of its genre.

Very recommended to jazz rock / fusion aficionados or hard rock fans wanting to discover the style!

 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.26 | 581 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars In 2006 I bought Romantic Warrior at a Eugene, Oregon St. Vincent de Paul. This very same place I surprisingly got a copy of Barclay James Harvest's Gone to Earth (American MCA pressing with die cut and original inner sleeve) and Greenslade's Time and Tide (U.S. Mercury label copy). When I brought it home I was a bit dismissive of the album. I was still in my "generally dismissive of fusion" mindset, having heard Mahavishnu Orchestra's The Inner Mountain Flame several years before and though it was just boring wankfest ("look how fast we can play"). My attitude towards that album really changed, the Inner Mountain Flame, as well as Birds of Fire are amazing, and Visions of the Emerald Beyond is by far the best album with the second lineup (I don't find Inner Worlds bad, but I do have to warn you the album gets a bad reputation because four songs feature vocals, and while I don't have too much problems with that, many do, as Mahavishnu Orchestra works best as an instrumental outfit).

As with my attitude change towards Mahavishnu Orchestra, so my attitude has changed with Romantic Warrior (I hadn't heard the other RTF albums yet). The lineup here included Chick Corea (naturally), Lenny White, Al DiMeola, and Stanley Clarke. Here they take on some very complex and elaborate fusion that leans more towards prog rock at times. It seems that Chick Corea was trying for a fusion answer of Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson. The medieval influence of this album seem a bit overexaggerated. We're not exactly talking Gryphon here, or even Jethro Tull for that matter. The cover certainly has that medieval motif, and song titles definitely have that medieval thing going on, but to my ears it sounds like yer typical mid '70s fusion/prog thang. There's a couple passages on this album that sounded a bit fuzak-y, especially a couple of the piano passages and Stanley Clarke's bass playing, but those don't last long. I particularly enjoy the synths Chick Corea uses here.

Rock critic Robert Christgau hated this album. He gave it a D+ and called it "The Emerson, Lake & Palmer of jazz rock". Remember, he never liked ELP, so obviously he hardly meant that as a compliment. Progheads might agree on the "ELP of jazz rock" thing, but in a positive light.

It's hard to believe how popular this album is in fusion circles, given the challenging and complex nature of this album. Corea & Co. was obviously trying for a prog rock album, and the prog leanings obviously didn't bother record buyers at the time. I'm not entirely sure I'd give it a five star rating, given it took me many years to warm up to it, but definitely worth it.

 Chick Corea: Return To Forever by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.03 | 228 ratings

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Chick Corea: Return To Forever
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by liontime

5 stars On thing I love about this album is its ability to take on a diverse range of visceral planes while still remaining cerebrally consistent. The album is full of interesting technical instrumental and vocal work yet can jump from contemplative atmosphere churning to tart poppy jazz without betraying artistic depth.

Flora Purim is a delightful vocalist who sweetens this album to no end. Airto Moreira's percussion is also definitely worth one's attention.

Ultimately what makes this album one of my favorites is its playability. Girlfriends and mothers won't hate it!! By virtue of one's ability to play it in mixed company, it grows heavy with memories and moods that other albums never have because they're meant for headphones in a bedroom. This album is good for drives, the beach, picnics, relaxed parties, anything. Go out and play it for your pop music friends.

 Where Have I Known You Before by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.16 | 206 ratings

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Where Have I Known You Before
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by poito

5 stars With the return of Al Dimeola to the guitar labor RTF makes another move ahead, they get away from the improvisational jazzy air in the excellent "Hymn to the 7th Galaxy" and become more ear-easy and rockier, even tackles funky ("Earth juice") and definitely they get more accessible to the big audience. Corea takes the lead here. There are several piano solo tracks and a delicatessen in "Where I have I danced with you before". It's hard to compare the different epochs of these giants, they sound so different and so good anyway? I miss my tapes rolling in a small Grundig player I stole to my brother, but how good they sound full blast in my hifi?Rien ne va plus!
 Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 284 ratings

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Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by poito

4 stars One thing this music cannot be denied is that it ages well. I used to visit jazz-rock fusion 20 years ago, but there since I've been busy with other streams. By chance, I meet them again, and again I became trapped. That seems to be a property of fusions. Always in the middle, small audience, but eternally innovative. Who of you teenagers now could even figure out this was made 30 years before you were born. It is as if someone tells you that brain interfaces were developed before the invention of electric bulb. Don't get embarrassed. It'll happen again to your children 30 years from now. Jazz-rock fusion is not an easy music, but you give 3-4 listenings to, for instance, this RTF and you'll fell in love. This Corea's work is cheerful and colorful. Check the "Captain Senor Mouse" for a start, then the title album. And then you'll see your beloved contemporary guitar and drum heroes ....differently ....maybe smaller.
 Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 284 ratings

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Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars After ''Light as a feather'' Joe Farrell, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim all left Return To Forever (they even helped each other in future albums) and Corea and Clarke recruited session drummer Steve Gadd, percussionist Mingo Lewis and guitarist Bill Connors for further rehearsals.While the third work of the band was in the recording process, Gadd quit, as he refused to tour with Return To Forever under the fear of loosing his job as a session drummer and he was followed by Lewis.Drummer Lenny White was then recruited as their replacement and the band headed for the Record Plant Studios in New York.''Hymn of the seventh galaxy'' was re-recorded with White behind the drum kit and released in August 1973 on Polydor.

While Moreira and Purim seem to have adapted the Latin-tinged, ethereal Fusion style of Return To Forever and displayed it in their upcoming albums, the band itself started breaking new grounds, leaving muhg of their Latin spices in the history of the previous line-up and presenting here one of the smokiest and most dense albums the Fusion world ever saw.Corea handles the acoustic/electric piano, organ and harsichord here and Connors' work was to provide the band with some fiery and sharp jazzy soloing.New drummer Lenny White next to the flawless Stanley Clarke offered one of the most technical rhythm sections in Jazz-Fusion.The result is one of the most dense and complex Jazz Rock/Fusion albums of the 70's, every note in here is right to the point and ''Hymn of the seventh galaxy'' offers six pieces of intense Electric Fusion with endless tempo changes, an unbelievable number of breaks and some angular interplays between piano, guitar and keyboards.Fast paces, neurotic executions, solos changing in a blink of an eye, but what will blow your mind away is that every second in here seems correctly placed/played.Latin influences and colors are limited but not absent for a flashback in Return To Forever's previous albums, but when you have to face Corea drifting between electric piano, harsichord and organ, you know what to expect: Emphatic, jazzy musicianship with top performances and incredible technique.One of those albums, where melodies are absent, but you shouldn't care a single minute, because the music is absolutely fascinating, split in six Fusion monster classics.

No words to describe my feelings after listening to this album.This should be exhibited as a seminar for all Fusion freaks and players.Monstrous, instrumental pieces with superb musicianship and tight interactions.Up there, in the top 10 Fusion albums of the 70's...4.5 stars upgraded.

Thanks to Dick Heath for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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