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Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior CD (album) cover

ROMANTIC WARRIOR

Return To Forever

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.28 | 672 ratings

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

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

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

Magnum Vaeltaja | 5/5 |

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