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Return To Forever - Light As A Feather CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.41 | 169 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The first Return to Forever existed a world away from the incendiary Jazz-Prog Fusion of the "Romantic Warrior" line-up. As heard on the band's initial two albums, the earlier music had an unplugged elegance altogether lacking from their later, rockier efforts, appealing perhaps to more refined sensibilities: in other words, to codgers like myself. No way would my teenage Proghead alter ego have responded to such easygoing charm and sophistication.

The second and final album from the original quintet followed the same Latin-Jazz blueprint of its predecessor, built almost entirely around the mellow accents of Chick Corea's electric piano and Joe Farrell's pastel saxophones and flute (no guitar pyrotechnics here; in fact, there aren't any guitars at all). The album certainly lives up to its title, maybe too closely for some Fusion aficionados: the music is clearly more Jazz than Rock, with a casual, cocktail-lounge flavor to Flora Purim's voice, smoother than the driest martini ever mixed (or at least what a teetotaler like me imagines a martini would taste like).

But the music really takes flight during the instrumental sections, especially in the second half of the title track, at 11-minutes the longest cut on the album. At times there's an almost percussive attack to Corea's piano, gliding over the fluid depth of Stanley Clarke's bass (upright and acoustic but still aggressive: check out his furious solo turn on "500 Miles High") and Airto Moreira'a typically deft drumwork.

There's some exciting stuff here, to be sure. But the best parts sound too much like a retread of what worked (because it was fresh) the first time around, maybe explaining Corea's decision to dramatically re- tool the group in later incarnations. Consider this album not as an improvement over the group's debut (recorded only eight months earlier), but more as a paraphrase: a companion rather than a sequel.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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