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Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.28 | 681 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars RTF's true prog rock album?

There are many stories that circulate about "Romantic Warrior", e.g 1. Recorded in the studio nextdoor to Yes recorded "Topographic Oceans" - difficult when "Romantic Warrior" was recorded 1976, Oceans in 1973 - some other Yes album.................? 2. Stanley Clarke's favourite bass guitarist was Chris Squire......?

However, Chick Corea had certainly sneaked in to guest on straight rock albums, e.g. Rick Derringer's "Spring Fever" or playing with Steve Vai (name that album?). These guys could do rock without the jazz.

Compared to "Hymn of the 7th Galaxy", often said to be one of jazz rock's best albums, this is a different kettle of fish. Different line-up (Al DiMeola supplying more Latin chops than Bills Connors), while Clarke, White and DiMeola were now doing their own things as band leaders as well as their boss. There was too newertechnology in the studio and on stage.

By now RTF had signed to Columbia Records, who had many of the early 70's jazz rock bands on their books, there the business was aiming mega-sales and that was in the rock-crossover marketplace. Many of these factors would suggest to a band seeking success and wealth (with Company pressures), by aiming at the rock, rather than dwindling jazz or jazz rock, audiences - and with "Romantic Warrior" RTF hit the target.

"Romantic Warrior" is one of the best albums of its time, especially sans vocals. However, nowadays I will listen to "Hymn of the 7th Galaxy" (on CD) in preference to "Romantic Warrior" (still in vinyl) almost every time, to hear a band hungry for success, busting with new ideas and the resulting music full of energy. "Romantic Warrior" is a more mature album but the energy is diluted (too much fussing over the technology), ideas getting tired?

Dick Heath | 3/5 |


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