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Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.28 | 681 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars An incredibly seminal album in my formative musical education, the four virtuosi involved in this album, all at the top of their game both technically and creatively, all giving stunning performances throughout. It still stuns me that Al was only 17 or so when he made this album with, by now, seasoned veterans Chick, Stanley and Lenny. It also stupifies me that drummer Lenny White has received so little due over the years. To my ears, he is incredible! He is so smooth, so "melodic"--if a drummer can be said to be so (which is probably why his solo projects and self-penned compositions are so likable/memorable.) Rather than go into detailed song-by-song review as I often do, suffice it to say that the music and performances here are stellar. Though the opener, Chick's "Medieval Overture" (5:14), doesn't capture much of a medieval vibe to me (no nods to medieval music that I can hear), it is no less impressive (8/10). The next offering, the funky Lenny White composition, 2. "Sorceress" (7:34) has some real ear candy in spacious, melody slapping rhythm roles and smooth, emotional soli. Chick's piano solo is vintage Chick--just awesome! Al throw's his weight around, Lenny's percussion play off the drums is breathtaking, and Stanley! Well, Stanley just kind of sneaks in his mastery on this one. (9/10) Then comes 3. "The Romantic Warrior" (10:52), an all-acoustic affair that just happens to be one of my all-time favorite fusion songs. (10/10) 4. "Magestic Dance" (5:01) opens like it's going to be a Led Zeppelin rock'n roll song--which might be explained by the fact that it's a Di Meola composition. The second section--a bit of circus cheese, and the weak repetitious keyboard bass line make this not quite up to par with the rest of the album's songs. (7/10) But then comes Stanley's tune, 5."The Magician" (5:29) which is pure prog heaven--ushering in stunning performances (if sometimes subdued and quirky) by all four performers--including a piccolo bass harmonics duet with a "micro" mini Moog piccolo! (9/10) The incredibly well-produced album closes with it's most dynamic and in-your-face tune in the form of an eleven minute epic, 6. "The Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant" (11:26) There are soli by each and every one of the artists on this one that are without doubt hailed in Prog Heaven in the "How is this humanly possible?" sound room. One of the most incredible songs you are likely to ever hear. (10/10)

All in all, I know the numbers don't quite add up to masterpiece status (88.33), but this is. It just is. Take my word for it.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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