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RETURN TO FOREVER

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Return To Forever biography
Founded in NYC, USA in 1972 - Disbanded in 1978 - Reformed briefly in 1983 & 2008 - Active Live since 2012

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, read more

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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)

4.04 | 270 ratings
Chick Corea: Return to Forever
1972
3.41 | 179 ratings
Light as a Feather
1972
4.17 | 343 ratings
Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
1973
4.14 | 254 ratings
Where Have I Known You Before
1974
3.78 | 168 ratings
No Mystery
1975
4.28 | 756 ratings
Romantic Warrior
1976
2.84 | 103 ratings
Music Magic
1977

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

3.83 | 21 ratings
Return to Forever: Live
1977
3.12 | 33 ratings
Return to Forever: Live
1992
4.27 | 17 ratings
Live at Montreux 2008
2008
4.13 | 52 ratings
Returns
2009
4.51 | 56 ratings
The Mothership Returns
2012

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

4.60 | 47 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 | 13 ratings
Return to the 7th Galaxy: The Anthology
1996
3.67 | 3 ratings
This Is Jazz, Vol. 12
1996
4.52 | 21 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
 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.28 | 756 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by FalconBleck

4 stars #48th Review

I don't know why i took so long to reach this album, why i avoided listening to it, no reason at all. I remember reading some reviews here back in 2018 and not being able to understand what was the fuzz, i don't remember what i read back then and what i ended up listening to, but now after many years, while in a return to forever mood, decided to give this a listen... and now i understand, this album is very good, but i'll tell you why below.

1.- Medieval Overture 9/10 Starting with those time signatures that i love, this track trapped me immediately, i'm pretty sure that i never heard this one before, reminds me of ELP and that's excelent, i would remember anything sounding like ELP.

This track is complete and pure progressive rock, i seriously encourage anyone to listen to this, after listening to the entire album. I think that this track gives you more in 5 minutes than some of the next tracks... except The Magician, listen to that one as well (spoilers).

2.- Sorceress 7/10 This track starts a little too funky for my taste but as it comes a long, the track lets its dark side come about, while the main hook is the funky sounding rythm, this goes to landscapes unimaginable, so you have to sit on it for a nice instrumental rythmic section until the cream of the butter starts, and you won't be dissapointed.

3.- The Romantic Warrior 6/10 With a complex atmospheric introduction to boot, this track then continues into some funk sounding rythms while going all in with instrumental virtuosity from time to time. I don't feel much with this track, this was probably the track that i heard at first in 2018. I have to say though, this track features more acoustic guitar than what i've been accustomed with Chick Corea's music so far. This one's main hook wasn't as strong for me as the previous track, i was constantly looking for all the stuff that would take me away from that rythm and they appeared, but it wasn't enough, this was almost a 5.

4.- Majestic Dance 7/10 I was expecting something calmer with the title but instead i got a hard rock sound instead, well, i'm glad, the track gets weirder a long the way with parts that feature only keyboards and/or guitar, and that its just ok, once the drums and the rest enter again it feels like a breath of air, and the ending features some very nice bass lines. Really enjoyed this little track, wish it was longer, with shorter and crazier solo stuff.

5.- The Magician 9/10 If you love being confused, you're at the right place! I'm really liking this track, the walls of sounds and the time signatures. Every chord that appears here is notable, an example of a classic progressive rock track with many changes in landscapes. You could've shown me a sample of 10 seconds from this, tell me its King Crimson and i would've believed you. Conclusion, this is great, another stand out for me and a full recommendation to everyone.

6.- Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant 8/10 I feel as if the previous song prepared me for the real stuff. Many Japanese developers have based the music for fight scenes in RPGs from progressive rock music, and this sounds like that, except that it IS that, its progressive music, but also the title states "duel" and i can surely FEEL that... probably some game i played featured some of the chords that are here... but no game features Chick Corea doing some insane solo in the middle of this track.

The track then drops the bass and goes into full funk mode for a second, that sounded very smooth and clean, i have to do a compliment to the bass sometime, right? Well, the music piece uses this but doesn't overstate its welcome compared to other tracks because it goes into the "Jester" parts, and i imagine the "Tyrant" parts are the royal sounding sections. I'm not as convinced on the second part more than the first.

This album gets a 77/100 and that is 4 Stars, i recommend the full album but if you have a few minutes of time, listen to the first track or the previous to last track, they're both excelent.

 Live at Montreux 2008 by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Live, 2008
4.27 | 17 ratings

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Live at Montreux 2008
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Being back in the most legendary line-up, after 32 years is a treat to any fusion music fan. The guys have certainly have appetite to play together and revive the old chemistry. On display are the most memorable compositions of their latter career 1974-1976. Playing abilities are excellent as before but the intensity is generally lower than previously. The exception being the encore track "Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant" with everybody running for his life. There are solos by each band member.

Performances are precise, interplay tight and musicians are focused and not showing many emotions (this is not a rock concert).

 Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.17 | 343 ratings

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

Review by FalconBleck

4 stars #47th Review

Once i heard the tragic and unexpected passing of Chick Corea i knew that i had to review this album, it features the first Jazz Fusion i ever heard and still love to this day. One sad thing is that i kept pushing away this review and thus pushing listening to Return to Forever further and further, i really wanted to listen to Romantic Warrior on 2020 and didn't. I feel bad for not paying atention to Chick sooner, he was very active on his Youtube channel wich i would've followed instantly, yet he left some last words, probably at a very important moment of my life, "It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It's not only that the world needs more artists, it's also just a lot of fun." Even in his last moments, he said a word that's very important but very overlooked in this adult life... fun.

1. Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy 5/10 This track doesn't make justice to the rest of the album, its kind of catchy, repeats that same rythm almost through the entire song while also showcasing a little of the band members talents. I really like some of the time changes here, specially at the end, but i have to be real here, this song is like a free trial of some variety cookies, and this one is the most basic of the bunch, still has some special flavor to it, but not enough to make you care that much about the other cookies, but if you buy the cookies you'll realize they're amazing and that the other cookie didn't do it enough justice.

2. After The Cosmic Rain 6/10 The beginning can be very repetitive and kind of a funky mess, the chords also don't impress me much, there are many small changes through out, and this band is really good at doing those, they where really doing a more laid back track but in that process it seems that they added some very uninteresting motifs instead of putting their best here, the track that mostly needed them, Chick does the better work here, but even then, his work feels kind of restrained because of the limitations in the song, at first, Chick shows that no track is simpler enough for him to not let it go and make it his own.

So, in the end this track is ok, but not satisfactory, i hardly hear the potential at the beginning and even then this track doesn't go as crazy or atmospheric as others here in this same album.

3. Captain Seņor Mouse 8/10 This is fast, gives me this tarantella vibe at beginning only to confirm latin inspiration at the 1:48 mark, but being much better than that because the song doesn't conform with just doing that and adds, and goes back, is fantastic, i think that people in my family might get a kick out of this.

Everything here has an erratic play, including the keyboard, just listening to it makes me feel for my fingers, i'm thinking on some techniques but either way this is hard to play in all fronts... this album is hard but this song should definitely be the hardest one.

I feel like at the end the song lost the point a little bit, and the guitar solo doesn't convince me much here, in other tracks i don't mind it as it is doing ok, it could do better but here i just hear it and it really just doesn't move me.

4. Theme To The Mothership 6/10 Again, a more basic rythm an premise, much like the second track, but this one has better interesting intersections, i just wish the bass did play something else a little more different than just changing time signatures, it gives this sense of repetition and boredom rather quickly, its as if everyone else is fighting this, many times succesfully, specially for Chick, the section where Chick dominates is the best part of the track, as usual, but the rest is so repetitive, i can't give it a better score than the second track.

5. Space Circus 9/10 This is it, the first Jazz Fusion track i ever heard believe it or not, i think that it was in 2010 when i was 16... wow, idk why the teacher told me to listen to this, and i'm so happy he did, i really don't remember the context, yet i remember how i felt when i listened to it, that was what i wanted to listen, i was lost, it was hard for me to find music groups, i had no idea where to start, everywhere i started left me to a dead-end, while i didn't become a big fan of Return to Forever at first, i was still able to find a little more than with other bands.

Why this track then? The begining got me good, more than anything, that soothing, calm yet misterious sounding piano introduction, am i alone in this dark filled with dust place, the light of the windows looks like a simple geometric being with animation, i immediatily imagined this place and somehow felt welcomed... and that's just the first minute.

Then the song starts, and at first i remember really liking a certain repeating part for some reason, i still like that but its not as surprising as it once was, but still, very funky sounding and the instrumentals are an stapple on this record BUT, at the time i had never heard something like this, it was very effective for me back then and i still think it is, improv, return, improv, return, improv in the return, its all really cool, but what completely sells this theme in the end is the ending, because besides all the rythmic influenced playing the ending is just a perfect return to silence.

6. Game Maker 9/10 This introduction has an scary aproach, and the tension keeps growing without accelerating, just adding little by little, and there it goes, absolutely menacing, i don't understand why "game maker" but it certainly feels like you have to take down some entity that's causing havoc. This track gets a little repetitive at times, but when it lets go... IT LETS GO, everyone is incredible here but Chick... he clearly carries the song, i think that he is the game maker after all. I think that the real reason why i really like this song its because of its insane changes, you might get acoustom to some rythm but eventually that gets obliterated, and there are points where this track doesn't stop, i feel like there's no composition here where the author thought "this 17/12 part will be great here", no, instead he just did it, he probably didn't even realize or care, he just did it and i think that's what makes this song be so impressive.

In conclusion, i don't love this album, but i surely do love the tracks highlighted here, and i can't recommend those enough, i don't know if this is the best place to start with Return to Forever or Chick Corea, but it sure did it for me, so while not being the best, its still a place to start or to land and to admire. Long live Chick, he returned to forever, thanks for everything.

Final Score is 72/100 and i grant it 4 Stars because its an excellent addition, i would dare to say essential because the 3 tracks highlighted need to be heard.

 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.28 | 756 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars When I bought the original CD in the US, little did I know about the band. I hadn't anticipated that it could be the best offering by Return to Forever. Romantic Warrior is the crowning achievement of jazz fusion, a who's who in fusion and must-have for all keyboardists digging into fusion. The band has matured into the astonishing blend of fusion, progressive rock and classical music the way only Chick Corea can mix it. I have the work of Corea in high esteem and masterpieces like "My Spanish Heart" and this album show multiplace facets and inspirations to him. Al di Meola has a credible player but I find contributions of Clarke and White more audible.

The first track is, together with the last suite, the tour-de-force of the band. "Medieval overture" shows the versatility by the band from frenetic and dynamic rhythm section to more solemn synth chords. What a lovely sounds of the synths!

"The sorceress" is a better known track and has a killer bass guitar, electric piano being more in the background. Later comes the perfect calm progressive rock ARP stuff followed by virtuoso jazz piano but all members have space to shine through including the drummer.

The title track is the catchiest track on the album and maybe less original than the previous tracks due to quite generic fusion instrumentaton. Meola reminding of McLaughlin on electric guitar. Corea sticks to his piano weapons and specific soloing that is accessible and perfectly tandemed by the bass and drums.

"Majestic dance" is quite clear the leading force by Meola and Clarke - it sounds reminiscent of solo Clarke stuff. There's a lovely synth solo but also heaviness caused by raw guitar sound.

"The magician" has playful classical music intermezzos by Corea on ARPs, it sounds both pompeous and romantic apart from the raw guitar.

And the final track is not only the culmination of the album but also another compositional highlight with enough space for graduation and plenty of jamming - killer Corea synths, Meola guitar accolades, White's fill-ins and impressive Clarke fretless bass.

Event after 17 years after the purchase of the album, I am discovering new nuances as this record has plenty to offer. Should be in the TOP 7-8 of all fusion records and the most representative work by Return to Forever.

 Where Have I Known You Before by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.14 | 254 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars In the early 70's, there were several bands that were considered influential in the jazz-fusion movement that existed and these band's helped shape fusion music to come. These bands included groups like Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, the latter of which was founded and headed over by pianist Chick Corea. Corea, of course, had already established a name for himself, even before he created this band in 1971 by playing on some of Miles Davis' most lauded releases and also doing some of his own solo work. Corea created Return to Forever in an effort to make his music more accessible. This he did with an ever changing line-up with only him and bassist Stanley Clarke being consistent members of the band.

When interest in the fusion movement was peaking, the band released its fourth album, the commercial-sounding titled 'Where Have I Known You Before', in 1974. This album would feature a simple quartet consisting of himself and Clarke along with a guitarist also with a reknown name, Al Di Meola, and long-time percussionist for the band Lenny White. This album would continue Corea's quest to make fusion that would connect easily with the audience and work to win over new fans to the genre. Another big difference with this album is that in the project's albums in the past, he stuck with his basic piano and electric piano for his own keyboard contributions, but this album marks the first time he started using synthesizers in the band's line-up of instruments and this gives the sound even more versatility. However, it also runs the danger of sounding a bit dated, and that is the album's main downfall.

The synths become readily apparent in the first track 'Vulcan Worlds', a 7 minute opener which feature synths and keys galore, but also makes time for Di Meola to show off his skills. Corea also brings in the acoustic sound of before by not abandoning his electric piano. The result here is a great fast and furious fusion track that captures the listener's attention, however, the sections featuring the synth definitely sound dated, mainly because of the specific sounds that Corea emphasizes. It's not enough to ruin the track however, and it overall becomes a strong opener that towards the end finally settles down as it comes to a conclusion.

The next track is the first of a trilogy of tracks spread throughout the album that hinge on the title and subject of the album. These tracks are somewhat short and act as interludes, mostly featuring Corea soling. The first of these is 'Where Have I Loved You Before' which is a lovely piano solo. This is the mode that he uses to connect to his audience, but it also carries the album into the next track 'The Shadow of Lo', another 7 minute track that has a softer and laid-back groove when the full band joins in again. Here the synth plays the main motif and expands on it also allowing the guitar to contribute later on. This one continues with the more accessible feel and adds a funky edge later on.

At this point, the album features some shorter tracks remaining around the 3 ' 4 minute mark. This section starts off with 'Where Have I Danced With You Before', the second in the trilogy of interludes, but this time it features a happier and faster tempo, but is again Corea soloing on piano. 'Beyond the Seventh Galaxy' brings in a heavy progressive edge with plenty of guitar and keyboard interplay as this quick and lively track plays through. The second side of the album opens with 'Earth Juice' which has a catchy and driving rhythm with funky guitar scratching. The guitar continues to take the lead through most of this track playing off of a repetitive riff. This section of the album ends with the last of the interlude triology 'Where Have I Know You Before', once again featuring Corea playing a soft and gentle (yet moving) piano solo.

The final track wraps up the album with the 14 minute long 'Song to the Pharoah Kings'. It all begins with a synth solo backed up by sustained organ chords. This continues on for a few minutes before the full band starts to come in providing changing backdrops while differing synth effects and solos play along. Throughout the track there is a very busy percussion and a running bass solo which give the rhythm section (Clarke and White) time to show off a bit while providing an extended and catchy solo. As the track continues, both the guitar and electric piano get to also do some soloing. All in all, its an excellent fusion track that brings it all to an impressive close.

This album is quite a tour-de-force of the styles of fusion the band was capable of producing and how the mix of heavy and soft tracks along with accessible and sometimes more complex tracks were the way of Corea and the band attempting to bring their music to a wider audience. Sometimes the music is lyrical (though it's all instrumental) and other times it is fun and engaging fusion. This style of playing and performing brought Corea's band out into the spotlight along with the other famous fusion bands of the time, and this was a well-earned place for him. While some of his themes were a little schmaltzy (based on Scientology beliefs), the music itself overpowers all of that. The real weaknesses of the album are the places where the synth sounds dated, but it isn't always the case. The best sections are when he reverts back to the electric piano and regular piano and also allow the other musicians to shine. The music isn't always progressive, but there is enough of it here to keep it interesting. Overall, I would give it 3.5 stars, but because of the talent here and the way the music can be presented, it rounds up to 4 stars. A great album by an important fusion band.

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.84 | 103 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A much under-rated and under-appreciated album in which Gayle Moran's vocal talents are often unjustly maligned. I think people just lament the loss of Al and maybe Lenny, though the absence of guitar altogether is probably more the reason. What's your problem! The horns are awesome! And drummer Gary Brown is awesome (especially if you've taken the time to listen to the triple live album, "Return to Forever Live" that was recorded on this album's tour), and Gayle's soaring voice is such a delight when paired with Stanley and Chick's music. As a matter of fact, it is Chick and Gayle's collaboration on Chick's solo release of the same time, "The Mad Hatter" that rates higher than any RTF album for me--is my favorite album ever produced by any one of the fearsome foursome (Al, Stanley, Lenny, and Chick). Give this album a chance--and leave behind your preconceptions that there has to be guitar (Connors or DiMeola) and that girls have no place in prog (watch out Kate, Annie Haslam, Sandy Denny, Judy Dyble, Barbara Gaskin, Pascale Son, Sonja Kristina, and Dagmar Krause!) If you have to, even try to forget that this is RTF; this is great prog fusion!
 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.28 | 756 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mark-P

4 stars One of the best releases of RTF, with a formation I like the most : Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Al Di Meola. This is the sixth album of RTF (and 3rd and last of this band formation), released in 1976. All of the 6 tracks are instrumental, three of them were written by Chick Corea, and the rest were by each of other band members.

'Medieval Overture' : what a glorious opening! Unique whistling sound from Chick Corea keyboards accompanied by fast pace drums and bass.

'Sorceress': written by Lenny White. Again I love a composition with good theme. The intro is quite memorable, and set the funky mood of the song that gets along with rock flavor of Al Di Meola guitar.

'The Romantic Warrior' : this title track is surprisingly a bit calmer, with a lot of guitar, bass and drum works. Al Di Meola solo is very nice, with his signature fast paced muted notes.

'Majestic Dance': hearing the first 10 seconds of the track, one can guess that this is Al Di Meola composition. There are many of his signatures in this nice track. Among all tracks, this is probably the easiest composition to listen, without any less intensity of their musicianship.

'The Magician': My favourite track of this album. Written by Stanley Clarke, this composition has a nice theme and several mood changes: nice and soft (01:30 ? a very heartwarming tune) to vivid and heavy tunes.

'Duel off the Jester and the Tyrant': longest track (more than 11 minutes), with a lot of solos and improvisations. This album is very impressive, the composition is solid and well structured. The solos and improvisations are in a good length to be enjoyed without getting lost and naturally show the virtuosity of each of the band members.

What I appreciate is that each of the compositions, whoever in the band wrote, is really take into account the equal contribution of each member and that makes the incredible strength of this album.

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.84 | 103 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mark-P

3 stars This album was recorded after Al Di Meola and Lenny White left the band, leaving only Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke being the founding member of the band, accompanied by Joe Farrel (flute / sax), Gayle Moran (vocal and keyboard) , Gary Brown (drums) and 4-piece horn section.

A lot of RTF fans do not really like this album, as they expecting something equal to Romantic Warrior. This album is not RTF masterpiece, but still there are good tracks.

'So Long Mickey Mouse' (written by Stanley Clarke) is an excellent track and my favourite track in this album. It is a very vivid composition, with fascinating bass solo and drumming. I enjoyed the live version in 1977 'RTF Live' that to me is a more powerful and passionate version compared to the studio album.

The title track 'Musicmagic' is a bit light (despite its 11-minute length), but still has a good groovy parts with great keyboard and bass solos. The rest of the album is for me not really what we expect from a band like RTF. The absence of guitar in this album is among things I miss, even the chemistry between Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke is always delightful.

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.84 | 103 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars You can understand and hear immediately that the line-up and style changed significantly when compared to the winning "Romantic warrior". RTF now being a fully fletched firmly keyboard driven machine with no equal counterparts with likes of guitar, bass and drums. Chick pulls of a vast array of instruments drawing from jazz, fusion, classical and prog-rock. Most of his formulas are pretty decent apart from some too overblown and majestic sections that are unchallenging at the same time. Latin character and brass section are other highlights. Vocals are a double-edged sword - on one hand, memorable and suitable for jazz/funk groove, on the other hand streamlining the output too much. Overall, the music here is less ambitious and more pretentious than previously. Terrible album name and songs like "So long Mickie Mouse" would be more appropriate for a carousel show.

My personal highlights are the title track with nice Rhode soloing, finally audible guitar and typical Clarke's solo. "So long Mickey Mouse" is from the beginning a clear Clarke's track with echoes of his solo work and better than the name suggests. After the half-mark, the track gets more spectacular with intensive drumming, bass basis and Corea being in a good shape solo. You can even hear Hammond organ which was unusual on a modern fusion record. A killer instrumental workout! "The endless night" is a bit pompeous not ignoring classical music and some prog-rock grooves. The clavinet solo by Clarke is as impressive as any by Wakeman. That's the only composition here where I like vocals and they suit seamlessly.

 Light as a Feather by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.41 | 179 ratings

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Light as a Feather
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have to admit I was expecting this album, which is billed as "Chick Corea's Return to Forever," to be a bit heavier than it is. Corea had appeared on two seminal Miles Davis albums, In a Silent Way (1968) and Bitches Brew (1970). While neither was really a jazz-rock LP, the latter was definitely a step in that direction. Corea then teamed up with Billy Cobham and Bitches Brew alum John McLaughlin on a Larry Coryell album (which I haven't heard). By the time Light as a Feather was recorded, Corea had also gone electric, so to speak.

But the piano-driven Light as a Feather turns out to be an urbane affair, half of which - - to my surprise - - is vocal.

Flora Purim's singing takes a little while to get used to. But the songs make sense as vocal pieces. A good example is the title track, an eleven-minute piece on which Purim sings at the beginning and end. Between these sections, around the five-minute mark, the saxophone enters for the first time. There was no need for sax until that point in the song. Similarly, there's no need for vocals in the middle of the "Light as a Feather," so there are none. Purim returns for the last minute and a half, after the sax has left. (Saxophonist Joe Farrell plays flute during the vocal parts and during Corea's solo.)

"Spain," they say, is one of Corea's seminal works. Purim's wordless vocals are OK, although her percussion work is of more value in my opinion. Her husband, drummer Airto Moreira, is excellent on this track, which is a nice showcase for the rhythm section, which includes Stanley Clarke on upright bass and, at times, Corea's electric piano. As is the case across the album, though, Corea is the star on "Spain," with Farrell (flute) in more of a supporting role. Just after 7:30, Clarke takes a one-minute solo, which is nice, although personally I'd rather have heard an electric bass solo. Similar in structure to "Light as a Feather," "Spain" revisits its opening themes in its last minute and a half.

Light as a Feather isn't smooth jazz or easy listening, but it's still "light" in some respects. For example, the role of the guitar in more rock-based fusion is here usually taken by a flute. Corea also favors the upper register of the electric piano, sprinkling liberal helpings of right-hand filigrees in his solos. As seems more common in jazz than in rock, the bass is a backing instrument on Light as a Feather, despite the fact that it's played by a bona fide virtuoso- - further contributing to the light feel.

Jazz piano isn't exactly my favorite kind of fusion, especially not when there's so much focus just on the pianist. But Light as a Feather is an enjoyable listen which balances Corea's chops with ensemble passages, sax/flute leads, and vocal sections.

Thanks to Dick Heath for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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