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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
Import
Sony UK 1999
Audio CD$3.42
$5.51 (used)
The AnthologyThe Anthology
Concord Jazz 2008
Audio CD$9.17
$9.24 (used)
The Mothership Returns [2 CD/DVD Combo]The Mothership Returns [2 CD/DVD Combo]
Eagle Records 2012
Audio CD$13.68
$9.98 (used)
where have i known you before LPwhere have i known you before LP
POLYDOR
Vinyl$149.98
$4.99 (used)
MusicmagicMusicmagic
Super Audio CD - DSD
Audio Fidelity 2016
Audio CD$22.55
ReturnsReturns
Eagle Records 2009
Audio CD$10.92
$7.97 (used)
Live the Complete ConcertLive the Complete Concert
Import
Sony Japan 2011
Audio CD$38.07
$29.81 (used)
Electric Lady Studio NYC June 1975Electric Lady Studio NYC June 1975
Hi Hat 2015
Audio CD$10.62
$11.99 (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)

4.01 | 200 ratings
Chick Corea: Return To Forever
1972
3.37 | 124 ratings
Light As A Feather
1972
4.16 | 263 ratings
Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy
1973
4.15 | 187 ratings
Where Have I Known You Before
1974
3.72 | 122 ratings
No Mystery
1975
4.25 | 511 ratings
Romantic Warrior
1976
2.73 | 68 ratings
Music Magic
1977

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

3.06 | 24 ratings
Live: Return To Forever
1977
3.71 | 15 ratings
Return to Forever: Live
1977
4.40 | 10 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2008
4.09 | 37 ratings
Returns
2009
4.50 | 40 ratings
The Mothership Returns
2012

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

4.51 | 36 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2009

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

2.51 | 12 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
4.52 | 18 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
4.25 | 511 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 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
4.25 | 511 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
4.25 | 511 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
4.01 | 200 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
4.15 | 187 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 | 263 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 | 263 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.

 Chick Corea: Return To Forever by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.01 | 200 ratings

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

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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.

 Light As A Feather by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.37 | 124 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!!!
 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.73 | 68 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

Thanks to Dick Heath for the artist addition.

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