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Return To Forever - The Anthology CD (album) cover

THE ANTHOLOGY

Return To Forever

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.52 | 21 ratings

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DocB
4 stars Return To Forever (RTF) had two phases. RTF Phase I consisted of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Joe Farrell, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira and produced two albums. The self-titled first album seems to be favoured by jazz purists. The second, Light As A Feather, was more widely popular, with songs like Spain being regularly heard on campus radio and played by college jazz bands in the early 1970s. Corea, Clarke, Moreira and Tony Williams also performed with Stan Getz and recorded the Getz album Captain Marvel in 1972. The album consisted of Corea-penned RTF I tunes and should really be considered an RTF I album. The compilation album Return To The Seventh Galaxy contains material from both phases of RTF, with some live material, including a rocked-up live RTF II rendition of Spain.

RTF II began in 1973 with Corea, Clarke, Bill Connors, Steve Gadd and Mingo Lewis, then became a foursome with Lenny White replacing Gadd and Lewis, and later Al DiMeola replacing Connors. RTF II definitely had a heavier jazz-rock sound than RTF I. The Anthology compilation contains the four studio albums recorded by RTF II, so you if want to hear RTF I you'll have to look elsewhere. RTF II was one of the most popular fusion bands of the 1970s, and a listen to The Anthology will show why. The music is inventive, the playing is first rate, and the energy is captivating. Some songs are stronger than others, and fans will have their favourite tunes. One of mine is Corea's Song To The Pharoah Kings, which shows the group's impeccable musicianship, with the song building in intensity until it breaks into a wonderful DiMeola guitar solo. DiMeola also played this song as a solo artist. The Anthology was released to coincide with the RTF II reunion tour, and we can hope for some new material. Fans of RTF II should also check out Clarke and White's Vertu project. Despite the fact that the music is similar to RTF II, Down Beat magazine's reviewer unfairly panned the self-titled Vertu album when it was released in 1999. However, in its August 2008 issue Down Beat has devoted a favourable cover story to the RTF II reunion that's worth a read.

DocB | 4/5 |

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