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Return To Forever - The Best of Return to Forever CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.51 | 13 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars I would not recommend this album as a very good overview of the music Return to Forever has made over the years. Basically there were four phases in the career of this talented jazz fusion group. The first phase, which includes their first two albums, was Brazilian flavored jazz that veered towards free-form jazz rock in the solo sections. The next phase only lasts for one album, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, and features guitarist Bill Connor leading the band into a very rockish Mahavishnu style. The next three albums feature a style unique to RTF that can best be described as progressive hyper nerd-funk. The third and final album of this phase, Romantic Warrior, is one of the most successful albums ever recorded when it comes to blending progressive rock and jazz fusion. Their final phase, which includes their last studio album and RTF live, finds the band employing weak to annoying vocals and an overly busy horn section with a big drop in compositional material to work with.

Unfortunately this ironically titled Best of collection pulls five songs from the last phase of their carrer, when the band had lost their way, and adds to that three great songs from their excellent Romantic Warrior album. Taken as a whole it is not a bad album, thanks to the Warrior cuts, but it is not a very good sampling of their career.

Instead of this uneven collection I would recommend their first album, simply titled Return to Forever, in which you can hear Chick Corea playing his slightly distorted Fender Rhodes in a dissonant modern Latin Jazz style with an energy and fury that he was never able to duplicate again. I would also recommend Romantic Warrior for those who would like to hear jazz fusion with a strong progressive rock influence.

Easy Money | 2/5 |


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