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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 Bitter End in April. They then cut a new album, but...
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Romantic WarriorRomantic Warrior
Sony UK 1999
Audio CD$4.23
$5.00 (used)
The Mothership Returns (2CD/DVD)The Mothership Returns (2CD/DVD)
Eagle Rock Entertainment 2012
Audio CD$13.79
$12.49 (used)
Where Have I Known You BeforeWhere Have I Known You Before
Polygram Records 1990
Audio CD$6.02
$4.38 (used)
ReturnsReturns
Eagle Records (Fontana) 2009
Audio CD$12.07
$8.98 (used)
No MysteryNo Mystery
Polygram Records 1990
Audio CD$4.88
$2.61 (used)
The AnthologyThe Anthology
Concord Records 2008
Audio CD$9.73
$8.46 (used)
Where Have I Known You Before/No MysteryWhere Have I Known You Before/No Mystery
Import
Bear Family 2008
Audio CD$10.69
$15.98 (used)
Complete Columbia Albums CollectionComplete Columbia Albums Collection
Box set · Import · Limited Edition
Sony 2012
Audio CD$149.99
$112.48 (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)

4.00 | 176 ratings
Return To Forever
1972
3.36 | 111 ratings
Light As A Feather
1972
4.17 | 220 ratings
Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
1973
4.12 | 158 ratings
Where Have I Known You Before
1974
3.71 | 106 ratings
No Mystery
1975
4.23 | 424 ratings
Romantic Warrior
1976
2.72 | 61 ratings
Music Magic
1977

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

3.04 | 21 ratings
Live: Return To Forever
1977
3.72 | 13 ratings
Return to Forever: Live
1977
4.50 | 8 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2008
4.11 | 34 ratings
Returns
2009
4.50 | 33 ratings
The Mothership Returns
2012

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

4.24 | 40 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2009

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

2.49 | 10 ratings
The Best of Return to Forever
1980
3.67 | 16 ratings
Return To The 7th Galaxy: The Anthology
1996
4.00 | 2 ratings
This Is Jazz, Vol. 12
1996
4.53 | 17 ratings
The Anthology
2008
3.00 | 1 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
 Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.17 | 220 ratings

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Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Return To Forever by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 176 ratings

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Return To Forever
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It says CHICK COREA on the cover as the artist and RETURN TO FOREVER as the album title, yet this is RETURN TO FOREVER and all sites that categorize music include it under the band name as the first album, but yet when I look up on my shelf and see it in the Rs when it starts with a C is just plain drives me craaaaazy! Enough ranting about my idiosyncrasies, onto the music!

After the hugely successful sessions with "Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew" with Miles Davis, CHICK COREA briefly formed an avant-garde jazz band called CIRCLE but because he wanted a more accessible sound that would garner slightly more popularity, he scrapped that idea and started RETURN TO FOREVER.

I have been wafering on whether to rate this a 3 or a 4 star album for some time as I came to this debut album from the perspective of having heard ROMANTIC WARRIOR first and this is absolutely nothing like it. This debut album is mostly a light ethereal subdued jazz fusion affair. It is technically proficient but the main focus is to conjure up certain emotional states that take you on a nice floaty ride instead of the intensity married with medieval images that later albums would evoke.

"Return To Forever" is the first and the masterpiece track which is the one I loved from the first listen and still do. It is so deep and mysterious and haunting and just plain good. This track alone is worth the price of admission and at over 12 minutes long a very demanding piece.

"Crystal Silence" is an ok track but doesn't live up to the magnitude of the album's first and last tracks. It is pleasant enough and doesn't subtract too much from the overall goal of the album.

"What Games Shall We Play Today?" is an upbeat little number that makes me wanna dress up like Shirley Temple and jump on a table and start twirling around with a psychedelic lollipop in my hand. Once again it is ok but certainly not the reason to buy this album.

"Sometime Ago / La Fiesta" was the one that took a while to really sink again. Maybe I just wasn't listening attentively enough? Maybe it just took umpteen listens to get. Whatever the reason I finally find this a very rewarding piece and ultimately the reason I can unequivocally give this album 4 stars after putting off rating this album for so long because of my indecisiveness. It is as the title suggests a jazzy fusiony piece that incorporates Latin percussion to the mix. At 23 minutes plus you certainly get your money's worth with this one but like I said it took me a while to appreciate but after the effort to penetrate its worthiness I have finally been rewarded by a very pleasant track and now I can associate this album on a completely different playing field than the later releases. Really now. Anything by Chic Corea is well worth having and this is hardly the exception.

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 Light As A Feather by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.36 | 111 ratings

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Light As A Feather
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Fredfolkblues

5 stars This is certainly one of the greatest albums of all time. A Fender Rhodes electric piano was never played so well. Chick Corea just puts everything down playing frenetic jazz in latin rhythms. The kitchen, provided by Airto Moreira and Stanley Clarke, is simply perfect! I was actually blown away the first time I heard "Captain Marvel". I thought, this must be one of the greatest songs ever recorded. But this was only a part of the whole thing. The other compositions, like "Light As A Feather", "500 Miles High", and "You're Everything" shows a superb musicianship joined with a beautiful melodic sense, and some awesome very-fast passages. Flora Purim's vocals takes you to heaven, and Joe Farrell's sax and flute just burns the fast passages with a torrent of fast notes. Chick Corea's Rhodes solo in "Spain" shows how brilliant this man is, and is easy to see why he's considered one of the greatest players ever. This is one of my "desert island" albums! 5 big stars!!!

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 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.72 | 61 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Seduced away from Columbia Records by a juicy multi-million dollar deal courtesy of CBS, the future sure did look rosy for Chick Corea's Return To Forever during those heady days of 1976. But money isn't everything. Having enjoyed a highly successful career up this point, the talented quartet of Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, whizz-kid guitarist Al Di Meola, and ex-Miles Davis drummer Lenny White, suddenly fragmented. Band leader Corea was by now chasing a more 'accesible' sound, and despite their important contributions to the last two albums, both Di Meola and White were soon jettisoned. Clarke, who like Corea was an original member, stayed on, but it would never be the same again. The 'classic' line-up was no more. Joining up with Corea and Clarke were pianist, vocalist and wife-of-Corea Gayle Moran, new drummer Gerry Brown, and returning for a second stint was founding member and saxophonist Joe Farrell. Armed with both their lucrative new contract and a five-piece horn section and fresh from the commercial-and- critical success of 1975's 'Romantic Warrior', hopes were high when the revamped group commenced sessions for a new album during the autumn, for what would be the group's final album for Columbia Records. But it wasn't to be. Issued in January 1977, 'Music Magic', the seventh and final album, proved a half-truth. Sure, there was music; but the magic was sadly absent. Featuring an eclectic and upbeat mixture of sounds, aided by a streamlined studio sheen, and harking back to the group's latin roots, 'Music Magic' was Corea attempting to expand both his musical horizons and his audience. It was a move both brave and foolish, and In doing so the pianist hastily dissolved one of the great fusion groups of the 1970s, prematurely truncating a burgeoning career nearing the cusp of its apex. Instead of the cosmic fusion sound so successfully deployed on key albums 'The Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy' and 'Where Have I Known You Before', 'Music Magic' exuded jazzy vocals, latin flavours, loose samba vibes and ghostly beats. Almost a different band. Although not a total disaster - 'Music Magic' would reach no.24 on the album charts and shift a healthy 500,00 copies - it was nevertheless a flawed record. As such, It would prove the final Return To Forever studio album, and despite it's slick polish one of their least distinguished releases of a pretty distinguished career. It's a far cry from the glorious galactic swirls of 'Shadow Of Lo' from the exhilarating 1974 album 'Where Have I Known You Before', yet it is a sign of the times. Like many of the peers, Return To Forever were changing not just their line-ups in 1976. They were shifting their musical ethos. Progressive rock groups such as Pink Floyd, Santana and Chicago were beginning to adapt elements of the new into their music - punk, new wave, disco etc - gradually moving away from their psychedelic roots into more mainstream territory. Return to Forever were only following the same trajectory. 'Music Magic', an album best summed up by the all-style-no-substance tag, is the fruits of this evolutionary music shift towards the dawning 1980s. To paraphrase: Return To Forever served up some scintillating jazz-rock adventures between 1973 and 1976, issuing at least three 'classic' albums during that time and burning down the age-old barriers between rock and jazz in the process. 'Music Magic', with its commercial glint and melodic tones, is the sound of Return To Forever gone cold. One for the die-hards. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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 The Mothership Returns by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Live, 2012
4.50 | 33 ratings

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The Mothership Returns
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argonaught

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 faring the vast post-bop space since the era of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

You don't expect anything less than excellent from grandmaster Chick and Team; we are kind of used to it. Thus, I expected the excellency and the galaxy-class musicianship from The Mothership Returns, and the expectations were duly met and exceeded.

There are two amazing things about this double CD: first is the sound quality. I don't know what the trick is, honestly .. how you can make a live recording with such crisp, crystal-clear and balanced sound. Second, is the sheer enthusiasm and vigor, demonstrated by the bunch of these sixty-plus and seventy years old venerable grandpas.

Compositions-wise, The Mothership revisits some of the grandest planets of the Fusion Universe, once discovered by Admiral Chick and Captain Jean-Luc. Some of the best jazz fusion pieces ever.

This star crew somehow manage to play long virtuoso solos without encroaching on each other's and common sound matrix. A special honorable mention to The First Officer Stanley Clarke: if he ever came out with an album on which there is nothing else but his bass solos, I'd buy it and listen to at least once a week :)

Will these guys ever get tired of making the best music in the Universe?

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 Light As A Feather by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.36 | 111 ratings

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Light As A Feather
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars After Return to Forever's debut Corea along with Airto and Clarke participated in the recordings of Stan Getz's ''Captain marvel'' album, featuring mostly compositions by Corea.The end of 72' found the band in London, UK, for the recordings of a second studio work.''Light as a feather'' was recorded between October 8 and October 15 at I.B.C. Sound Recording Studio.Return to Forever also changed label at the time, signing with Polydor, which released the album in November.

The title of the album reflects strongly to the overall approach of Return to Forever with the group insisting on performing an ethereal Electric Jazz/Fusion, based on the solos of Corea on electric piano.Although the atmosphere is quite tropical with the mix of jazzy improvisations with Latin-American Music, there is always a very virtuosic side on the group's performance with plenty of instrumental battles, led by Joe Farrell's saxes and Corea's leading figure.Very often the music becomes really furious, usually when Corea leads it, with a superb rhythm section supporting.Series of impressive individual solos, a fair amount of great interplays, lovely singing and wordless vocals by Flora Purim and some smooth grooves complete a very good album indeed.And there are still moments (like on the opening ''You're Everything''), where the sound flirts with Lounge Jazz, creating dreamy images and chill-out soundscapes.

Diverse, complete and professional Jazz/Fusion.Well-played and at moments quite intricate.Recommended to fans of the style and beyond...3.5 stars.

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 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.72 | 61 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mr. Gone

1 stars Ugh. I love most of the "electric period" RTF ("No Mystery" probably being the weakest of the bunch, but still worthy of three stars at least), but this one is, to say the least, disappointing in the wake of that fine material.

Of course, it goes without saying that it sounds *nothing* like its four predecessors. I suppose the argument can be made that if Chick Corea should have changed the name of the group after "Romantic Warrior", he should have done it after "Light as a Feather" as well, due to major personnel and stylistic changes in both cases, and I wouldn't disagree. So maybe it's truly not fair to evaluate this album compared to what came before - but it's under the same name, so (fairly or unfairly) it has to be compared.

I honestly have no idea what Corea was trying to achieve here. The music here sounds like rejects from the "Hair" soundtrack - schmaltzy, gutless, showy stuff augmented by syrupy, largely pointless lyrics. I couldn't trade this disc in to save my life (not necessarily a reflection of quality, I realize, but still), so I ended up tossing it. Hearing this in the wake of "Romantic Warrior" (my first RTF purchase) was one of the biggest disappointments of my life musically. The music overall certainly was memorable, but in a bad way. This may be just your cup of tea for some of you out there (not sure whom, if you're truly into prog or jazz-fusion), but for anyone expecting anything reminiscent of "Romantic Warrior", you're going to be sorely disappointed.

One star. You have been warned.

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 The Mothership Returns by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Live, 2012
4.50 | 33 ratings

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The Mothership Returns
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by RBlak054

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 few changes from the classic lineup: Frank Gambale takes over guitar duties from Al Di Meola, and Jean-Luc Ponty adds his violin expertise to the outfit. The usual suspects - Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White - are of course all present as well.

The first thing I noticed listening to this album was the sound quality, which is incredibly rich and full for a live recording. While the sound here is practically studio quality, the rawness of the live performance is still captured. As a result, this is one of the better sounding live albums out there.

As far as material goes, this double live album contains a mix of Return to Forever's hard-hitting, cosmic fusion and their acoustic work. The music here predominantly consists of songs from the group's classic works Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy and Romantic Warrior. It's fair to say that the material has stood the test of time, with Chick Corea's compositions, most notably, remaining relevant with their complex, well thought-out structures that still leave plenty of room for improvisation.

Speaking of improvisation, you'll be hearing a lot of it; practically every song here features an extended solo from each of the lead musicians. It's not uncommon for one song to have upwards of ten minutes worth of solos on it. These are some of the best fusion players in the world, however, and know how to keep a solo engaging. Some of the performances here are really mind-blowing!

If you're familiar with Return to Forever, you know that these guys are experts on their instruments. Chick Corea, like usual, awes the crowd with his quintessential work on the Fender Rhodes and other keyboard instruments. Stanley Clarke is at the top of his game here as well, showing off his signature percussive electric and upright bass work. As for Lenny White, he really rocks the kit and offers some of the best rhythmic support that fusion has to offer. While Frank Gambale lacks some of the latin flair and the acoustic stylings of Al Di Meola, his renowned electric playing is great and proves that he is a capable soloist and comper and overall an adequate substitute. Finally, Jean-Luc Ponty likewise proves to be an excellent addition to the band's lineup with great violin playing.

My only complaint as far as the music on this album is concerned is that Frank Gambale and Jean-Luc Ponty's duties are far too similar, meaning that they are often playing the exact same lines. While I understand and appreciate that fast, unison lines are a staple of Return to Forever, it still would have been nice to hear some harmonies or other variances.

If you like jazz fusion or Return to Forever's music, even just a little bit, you'll want to hear this album. The sound quality is exceptional. The musicians are exceptional. Every single track is exceptional (both in composition and performance). I don't know what else to say other than that this may very well be fusion's finest live outing in the past several years.

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 The Mothership Returns by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Live, 2012
4.50 | 33 ratings

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The Mothership Returns
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

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.

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 The Mothership Returns by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Live, 2012
4.50 | 33 ratings

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The Mothership Returns
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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Thanks to Dick Heath for the artist addition.

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