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RETURN TO FOREVER

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Return To Forever biography
Founded in NYC, USA in 1972 - Disbanded in 1978 - Reformed briefly in 1983 & 2008 - Active Live since 2012

RETURN TO FOREVER was jazz keyboard player Chick COREA's jazz-rock fusion band of the 1970s. Like WEATHER REPORT and the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, it was a group formed by an alumnus of Miles Davis' late-'60s bands with the intention of furthering the jazz-rock hybrid Davis had explored on albums like Bitches Brew. At the time, this was seen as a means of creativity, a new direction for jazz, and as a way of attracting the kinds of large audiences enjoyed by rock musicians. RETURN TO FOREVER started out as more of a Latin-tinged jazz ensemble, but COREA, influenced by the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA of John McLaughlin and some of the progressive rock bands coming out of Great Britain, notably YES and EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, moved the group more toward rock, achieving considerable commercial success. A later re-orientation of the band gave it more of a big band style before COREA folded the unit, retaining the RETURN TO FOREVER name for occasional other projects. COREA formed RETURN TO FOREVER in the fall of 1971 while he was working in STAN GETZ's band, and the two groups shared some members. In addition to COREA on keyboards, the initial lineup featured Stanley CLARKE on bass, Joe Farrell on reeds, and the Brazilian husband-and-wife team of percussionist Airto Moreira and singer Flora Purim. "Return to Forever" was the name of the first tune COREA wrote for the outfit, and he then adapted it as the group's name. The band made its debut at the Village Vanguard nightclub in New York City in November 1971.

In February 1972, they recorded their first self-titled album, though it was not released on ECM in Europe until the following year and did not appear in the U.S. until 1975. COREA, Clarke, and Moreira, all of whom had been playing with GETZ, left his band to concentrate on RETURN TO FOREVER.

The band toured Japan and recorded a second album, "Light as a Feather", in London, using some of the songs COREA had written and recorded with GETZ, such as "500 Miles High" and "Spain." It was released on Polydor Records. Up to this point, RETURN TO FOREVER was more notable for its Latin sound than for fusion, but when Farrell left in the spring of 1973, COREA replaced him with a rock guitarist, read more

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RETURN TO FOREVER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RETURN TO FOREVER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 260 ratings
Chick Corea: Return To Forever
1972
3.41 | 169 ratings
Light As A Feather
1972
4.17 | 324 ratings
Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy
1973
4.14 | 242 ratings
Where Have I Known You Before
1974
3.78 | 159 ratings
No Mystery
1975
4.28 | 720 ratings
Romantic Warrior
1976
2.81 | 95 ratings
Music Magic
1977

RETURN TO FOREVER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 33 ratings
Live: Return To Forever
1977
3.83 | 21 ratings
Return to Forever: Live
1977
4.44 | 16 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2008
4.11 | 49 ratings
Returns
2009
4.51 | 54 ratings
The Mothership Returns
2012

RETURN TO FOREVER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.59 | 47 ratings
Live At Montreux 2008
2009

RETURN TO FOREVER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.51 | 13 ratings
The Best of Return to Forever
1980
3.76 | 13 ratings
Return To The 7th Galaxy: The Anthology
1996
3.67 | 3 ratings
This Is Jazz, Vol. 12
1996
4.52 | 21 ratings
The Anthology
2008
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Definitive Collection
2008

RETURN TO FOREVER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

RETURN TO FOREVER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.28 | 720 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars When I bought the original CD in the US, little did I know about the band. I hadn't anticipated that it could be the best offering by Return to Forever. Romantic Warrior is the crowning achievement of jazz fusion, a who's who in fusion and must-have for all keyboardists digging into fusion. The band has matured into the astonishing blend of fusion, progressive rock and classical music the way only Chick Corea can mix it. I have the work of Corea in high esteem and masterpieces like "My Spanish Heart" and this album show multiplace facets and inspirations to him. Al di Meola has a credible player but I find contributions of Clarke and White more audible.

The first track is, together with the last suite, the tour-de-force of the band. "Medieval overture" shows the versatility by the band from frenetic and dynamic rhythm section to more solemn synth chords. What a lovely sounds of the synths!

"The sorceress" is a better known track and has a killer bass guitar, electric piano being more in the background. Later comes the perfect calm progressive rock ARP stuff followed by virtuoso jazz piano but all members have space to shine through including the drummer.

The title track is the catchiest track on the album and maybe less original than the previous tracks due to quite generic fusion instrumentaton. Meola reminding of McLaughlin on electric guitar. Corea sticks to his piano weapons and specific soloing that is accessible and perfectly tandemed by the bass and drums.

"Majestic dance" is quite clear the leading force by Meola and Clarke - it sounds reminiscent of solo Clarke stuff. There's a lovely synth solo but also heaviness caused by raw guitar sound.

"The magician" has playful classical music intermezzos by Corea on ARPs, it sounds both pompeous and romantic apart from the raw guitar.

And the final track is not only the culmination of the album but also another compositional highlight with enough space for graduation and plenty of jamming - killer Corea synths, Meola guitar accolades, White's fill-ins and impressive Clarke fretless bass.

Event after 17 years after the purchase of the album, I am discovering new nuances as this record has plenty to offer. Should be in the TOP 7-8 of all fusion records and the most representative work by Return to Forever.

 Where Have I Known You Before by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.14 | 242 ratings

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Where Have I Known You Before
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars In the early 70's, there were several bands that were considered influential in the jazz-fusion movement that existed and these band's helped shape fusion music to come. These bands included groups like Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, the latter of which was founded and headed over by pianist Chick Corea. Corea, of course, had already established a name for himself, even before he created this band in 1971 by playing on some of Miles Davis' most lauded releases and also doing some of his own solo work. Corea created Return to Forever in an effort to make his music more accessible. This he did with an ever changing line-up with only him and bassist Stanley Clarke being consistent members of the band.

When interest in the fusion movement was peaking, the band released its fourth album, the commercial-sounding titled 'Where Have I Known You Before', in 1974. This album would feature a simple quartet consisting of himself and Clarke along with a guitarist also with a reknown name, Al Di Meola, and long-time percussionist for the band Lenny White. This album would continue Corea's quest to make fusion that would connect easily with the audience and work to win over new fans to the genre. Another big difference with this album is that in the project's albums in the past, he stuck with his basic piano and electric piano for his own keyboard contributions, but this album marks the first time he started using synthesizers in the band's line-up of instruments and this gives the sound even more versatility. However, it also runs the danger of sounding a bit dated, and that is the album's main downfall.

The synths become readily apparent in the first track 'Vulcan Worlds', a 7 minute opener which feature synths and keys galore, but also makes time for Di Meola to show off his skills. Corea also brings in the acoustic sound of before by not abandoning his electric piano. The result here is a great fast and furious fusion track that captures the listener's attention, however, the sections featuring the synth definitely sound dated, mainly because of the specific sounds that Corea emphasizes. It's not enough to ruin the track however, and it overall becomes a strong opener that towards the end finally settles down as it comes to a conclusion.

The next track is the first of a trilogy of tracks spread throughout the album that hinge on the title and subject of the album. These tracks are somewhat short and act as interludes, mostly featuring Corea soling. The first of these is 'Where Have I Loved You Before' which is a lovely piano solo. This is the mode that he uses to connect to his audience, but it also carries the album into the next track 'The Shadow of Lo', another 7 minute track that has a softer and laid-back groove when the full band joins in again. Here the synth plays the main motif and expands on it also allowing the guitar to contribute later on. This one continues with the more accessible feel and adds a funky edge later on.

At this point, the album features some shorter tracks remaining around the 3 ' 4 minute mark. This section starts off with 'Where Have I Danced With You Before', the second in the trilogy of interludes, but this time it features a happier and faster tempo, but is again Corea soloing on piano. 'Beyond the Seventh Galaxy' brings in a heavy progressive edge with plenty of guitar and keyboard interplay as this quick and lively track plays through. The second side of the album opens with 'Earth Juice' which has a catchy and driving rhythm with funky guitar scratching. The guitar continues to take the lead through most of this track playing off of a repetitive riff. This section of the album ends with the last of the interlude triology 'Where Have I Know You Before', once again featuring Corea playing a soft and gentle (yet moving) piano solo.

The final track wraps up the album with the 14 minute long 'Song to the Pharoah Kings'. It all begins with a synth solo backed up by sustained organ chords. This continues on for a few minutes before the full band starts to come in providing changing backdrops while differing synth effects and solos play along. Throughout the track there is a very busy percussion and a running bass solo which give the rhythm section (Clarke and White) time to show off a bit while providing an extended and catchy solo. As the track continues, both the guitar and electric piano get to also do some soloing. All in all, its an excellent fusion track that brings it all to an impressive close.

This album is quite a tour-de-force of the styles of fusion the band was capable of producing and how the mix of heavy and soft tracks along with accessible and sometimes more complex tracks were the way of Corea and the band attempting to bring their music to a wider audience. Sometimes the music is lyrical (though it's all instrumental) and other times it is fun and engaging fusion. This style of playing and performing brought Corea's band out into the spotlight along with the other famous fusion bands of the time, and this was a well-earned place for him. While some of his themes were a little schmaltzy (based on Scientology beliefs), the music itself overpowers all of that. The real weaknesses of the album are the places where the synth sounds dated, but it isn't always the case. The best sections are when he reverts back to the electric piano and regular piano and also allow the other musicians to shine. The music isn't always progressive, but there is enough of it here to keep it interesting. Overall, I would give it 3.5 stars, but because of the talent here and the way the music can be presented, it rounds up to 4 stars. A great album by an important fusion band.

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.81 | 95 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A much under-rated and under-appreciated album in which Gayle Moran's vocal talents are often unjustly maligned. I think people just lament the loss of Al and maybe Lenny, though the absence of guitar altogether is probably more the reason. What's your problem! The horns are awesome! And drummer Gary Brown is awesome (especially if you've taken the time to listen to the triple live album, "Return to Forever Live" that was recorded on this album's tour), and Gayle's soaring voice is such a delight when paired with Stanley and Chick's music. As a matter of fact, it is Chick and Gayle's collaboration on Chick's solo release of the same time, "The Mad Hatter" that rates higher than any RTF album for me--is my favorite album ever produced by any one of the fearsome foursome (Al, Stanley, Lenny, and Chick). Give this album a chance--and leave behind your preconceptions that there has to be guitar (Connors or DiMeola) and that girls have no place in prog (watch out Kate, Annie Haslam, Sandy Denny, Judy Dyble, Barbara Gaskin, Pascale Son, Sonja Kristina, and Dagmar Krause!) If you have to, even try to forget that this is RTF; this is great prog fusion!
 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.28 | 720 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mark-P

4 stars One of the best releases of RTF, with a formation I like the most : Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Al Di Meola. This is the sixth album of RTF (and 3rd and last of this band formation), released in 1976. All of the 6 tracks are instrumental, three of them were written by Chick Corea, and the rest were by each of other band members.

'Medieval Overture' : what a glorious opening! Unique whistling sound from Chick Corea keyboards accompanied by fast pace drums and bass.

'Sorceress': written by Lenny White. Again I love a composition with good theme. The intro is quite memorable, and set the funky mood of the song that gets along with rock flavor of Al Di Meola guitar.

'The Romantic Warrior' : this title track is surprisingly a bit calmer, with a lot of guitar, bass and drum works. Al Di Meola solo is very nice, with his signature fast paced muted notes.

'Majestic Dance': hearing the first 10 seconds of the track, one can guess that this is Al Di Meola composition. There are many of his signatures in this nice track. Among all tracks, this is probably the easiest composition to listen, without any less intensity of their musicianship.

'The Magician': My favourite track of this album. Written by Stanley Clarke, this composition has a nice theme and several mood changes: nice and soft (01:30 ? a very heartwarming tune) to vivid and heavy tunes.

'Duel off the Jester and the Tyrant': longest track (more than 11 minutes), with a lot of solos and improvisations. This album is very impressive, the composition is solid and well structured. The solos and improvisations are in a good length to be enjoyed without getting lost and naturally show the virtuosity of each of the band members.

What I appreciate is that each of the compositions, whoever in the band wrote, is really take into account the equal contribution of each member and that makes the incredible strength of this album.

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.81 | 95 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mark-P

3 stars This album was recorded after Al Di Meola and Lenny White left the band, leaving only Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke being the founding member of the band, accompanied by Joe Farrel (flute / sax), Gayle Moran (vocal and keyboard) , Gary Brown (drums) and 4-piece horn section.

A lot of RTF fans do not really like this album, as they expecting something equal to Romantic Warrior. This album is not RTF masterpiece, but still there are good tracks.

'So Long Mickey Mouse' (written by Stanley Clarke) is an excellent track and my favourite track in this album. It is a very vivid composition, with fascinating bass solo and drumming. I enjoyed the live version in 1977 'RTF Live' that to me is a more powerful and passionate version compared to the studio album.

The title track 'Musicmagic' is a bit light (despite its 11-minute length), but still has a good groovy parts with great keyboard and bass solos. The rest of the album is for me not really what we expect from a band like RTF. The absence of guitar in this album is among things I miss, even the chemistry between Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke is always delightful.

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.81 | 95 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars You can understand and hear immediately that the line-up and style changed significantly when compared to the winning "Romantic warrior". RTF now being a fully fletched firmly keyboard driven machine with no equal counterparts with likes of guitar, bass and drums. Chick pulls of a vast array of instruments drawing from jazz, fusion, classical and prog-rock. Most of his formulas are pretty decent apart from some too overblown and majestic sections that are unchallenging at the same time. Latin character and brass section are other highlights. Vocals are a double-edged sword - on one hand, memorable and suitable for jazz/funk groove, on the other hand streamlining the output too much. Overall, the music here is less ambitious and more pretentious than previously. Terrible album name and songs like "So long Mickie Mouse" would be more appropriate for a carousel show.

My personal highlights are the title track with nice Rhode soloing, finally audible guitar and typical Clarke's solo. "So long Mickey Mouse" is from the beginning a clear Clarke's track with echoes of his solo work and better than the name suggests. After the half-mark, the track gets more spectacular with intensive drumming, bass basis and Corea being in a good shape solo. You can even hear Hammond organ which was unusual on a modern fusion record. A killer instrumental workout! "The endless night" is a bit pompeous not ignoring classical music and some prog-rock grooves. The clavinet solo by Clarke is as impressive as any by Wakeman. That's the only composition here where I like vocals and they suit seamlessly.

 Light As A Feather by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.41 | 169 ratings

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Light As A Feather
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have to admit I was expecting this album, which is billed as "Chick Corea's Return to Forever," to be a bit heavier than it is. Corea had appeared on two seminal Miles Davis albums, In a Silent Way (1968) and Bitches Brew (1970). While neither was really a jazz-rock LP, the latter was definitely a step in that direction. Corea then teamed up with Billy Cobham and Bitches Brew alum John McLaughlin on a Larry Coryell album (which I haven't heard). By the time Light as a Feather was recorded, Corea had also gone electric, so to speak.

But the piano-driven Light as a Feather turns out to be an urbane affair, half of which - - to my surprise - - is vocal.

Flora Purim's singing takes a little while to get used to. But the songs make sense as vocal pieces. A good example is the title track, an eleven-minute piece on which Purim sings at the beginning and end. Between these sections, around the five-minute mark, the saxophone enters for the first time. There was no need for sax until that point in the song. Similarly, there's no need for vocals in the middle of the "Light as a Feather," so there are none. Purim returns for the last minute and a half, after the sax has left. (Saxophonist Joe Farrell plays flute during the vocal parts and during Corea's solo.)

"Spain," they say, is one of Corea's seminal works. Purim's wordless vocals are OK, although her percussion work is of more value in my opinion. Her husband, drummer Airto Moreira, is excellent on this track, which is a nice showcase for the rhythm section, which includes Stanley Clarke on upright bass and, at times, Corea's electric piano. As is the case across the album, though, Corea is the star on "Spain," with Farrell (flute) in more of a supporting role. Just after 7:30, Clarke takes a one-minute solo, which is nice, although personally I'd rather have heard an electric bass solo. Similar in structure to "Light as a Feather," "Spain" revisits its opening themes in its last minute and a half.

Light as a Feather isn't smooth jazz or easy listening, but it's still "light" in some respects. For example, the role of the guitar in more rock-based fusion is here usually taken by a flute. Corea also favors the upper register of the electric piano, sprinkling liberal helpings of right-hand filigrees in his solos. As seems more common in jazz than in rock, the bass is a backing instrument on Light as a Feather, despite the fact that it's played by a bona fide virtuoso- - further contributing to the light feel.

Jazz piano isn't exactly my favorite kind of fusion, especially not when there's so much focus just on the pianist. But Light as a Feather is an enjoyable listen which balances Corea's chops with ensemble passages, sax/flute leads, and vocal sections.

 Live At Montreux 2008 by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover DVD/Video, 2009
4.59 | 47 ratings

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Live At Montreux 2008
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars As Russ Davis writes in the liner notes for this DVD, the reformation and the tour of Return To Forever was THE jazz event of 2008. The American fusion group was active between 1972-78 (plus a brief comeback in 1983 if I understood right), recording a handful of classic albums which, if you ask me and thousands of others, still offer some of the very best instrumental fusion music ever. Yes, the group also made some vocal music with e.g. Flora Purim, but that's not relevant now. The members of this quartet (keyboardist Chick Corea, guitarist Al Di Meola, bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White) are legends on their own right, each having made a considerable career outside of RTF as well, naturally. The anticipation under the tour was huge, and the high expectations were truly fulfilled. The concert at Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland is excellently captured in sound and vision on this DVD -- which I believe to be one of the best jazz/fusion concert DVD's all-time (well, not that I've seen dozens of them...). The camera work and editing are first class.

The Montreux concert is approximately 1h 45 min long, consisting basically of six RTF compositions (not counting the short Introduction) plus solo performances of each musician. The most represented albums are Where Have I Known You Before (1974) and Romantic Warrior (1976), and there are the title tracks from Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973) and No Mystery (1975). The quartet does a marvelous job making the compositions come fully alive. They probably sound superior compared to original studio versions. I say probably, since it's been a long while that I listened to the albums. For those not familiar with RTF's music, here are some adjectives: virtuotic, bright, vivant, dynamic, adventurous.

The composers on Al Di Meola's acoustic solo are Corea, himself and Astor Piazzolla. Chick Corea's solo contains some percussive use of the piano strings. The theme from the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland (which I actually missed, maybe I wasn't paying full attention at that moment?) is sandwiched between strangely titled '88 + 10 A' and '88 +1'. Both Clarke's lengthy and innovatively virtuotic acoustic bass solo and White's powerful if not highly original drum solo are intertwined with an extended version of 'Romantic Warrior' that finishes the show.

The DVD contains extras (approx. 45 min.) recorded in the US leg of the 2008 tour. The tracks 'Friendship' and 'Duel of the Jester and The Tyrant' are welcome additions, but unfortunately the whole US footage suffers from not-so-good-looking split screen technique, which started to irritate me a bit. But all in all, if you're looking for top class fusion on DVD, you can't go wrong with this one. Despite the slight disappointment factor of the extras, I consider this release to be on a masterpiece level.

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.81 | 95 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Another shakeup in the Return to Forever lineup, this time Al DiMeola and Lenny White departing. Chick Corea's wife Gayle Moran joins (she was previously with the second edition of Mahavishnu Orchestra for two albums), and Joe Farrell from the original 1972-73 lineup rejoins, as well as a horn section. Now this probably wasn't the wisest decision for Chick Corea to go this direction so hot on the heels of Romantic Warrior, which not only a highly regarded in RTF's and even Chick's career in general, but of the fusion genre to begin with. Upon listening to "The Musician" it's as if Chick was trying to meld the vocal style of Light as a Feather with a horn section. It's as if he was pretending his wife was Flora Purim as she attempts her vocal style. Unfortunately she's no Flora Purim, and thankfully she didn't touch on Brazilian styles of music (Bossa Nova, for example). Light as a Feather proves that vocals and jazz can go together, but then Flora Purim was suited for such, given her background as a Bossa Nova singer, and that influence was heavily felt in that album (as well as the 1972 RTF on ECM billed as a Chick Corea album) and those two albums were great and highly recommended. Here on MusicMagic it's a like a big mess. There are some pretty syrupy stuff here, for example "Hello Again". What on Earth? Pretty cheesy stuff. Or Stanley Clarke's "So Long Mickey Mouse". What on Earth? A bunch of "La la's" throughout with him attempting to do soulful vocals, and Gayle Moran being, well, Gayle Moran. On the other hand, there are some absolutely brilliant passages, some of the solos Chick Corea give are first rate, with that nice spacy keyboards and often proggy arrangement and even the horn section does some creative twists and turns as long as they aren't sounding like a Las Vegas lounge act. The last song, "The Endless Light" is perhaps the best thing on the album, overall, where the vocals and instrumentation work the best. I never could understand what the lyrics were about. Perhaps being a Scientologist would make more sense (Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Gayle Moran, at least, were all Scientologists). I can see why this is panned in many circles. I could have seen the potential in this album, some of those instrumental passages are as great as anything they've done before, but when the vocals kick in, it all comes crashing, and same if the horns decide to go Vegas on us. Luckily my copy is a cheap used LP, and if you need to get this, I suggest you get it cheap. It's too bad RTF ended up the way they did. I can sorta understand why Chick wanted to include vocals, since Gayle Moran already provided vocals on his two previous solo albums, My Spanish Heart and The Leprechaun, so he thought it would be great to include them on then next RTF album. For the simple fact that until this point, RTF never released a bad album (Chick Corea knew to keep the standards high on those albums) so making MusicMagic all that more disappointing. Scientology can be easy to blame. At least this was the end of RTF (although there was a live album released in 1978). So as mentioned, has its moments, but only get this on the cheap.
 No Mystery by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.78 | 159 ratings

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No Mystery
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars To me, No Mystery is a bit of an oddity in the RTF catalog. It's clear on side one (the first five cuts, if you own the CD) the band was exploring funk, with a little disco thrown in. It's still unmistakably fusion, though, so if you like fusion, it shouldn't bother you too much, but maybe for the more prog inclined, it might, although Al DiMeola's "Flight of the Newborn" is the most proggy thing on side one, more resembling something off Al's late '70s material (the more proggy stuff, not the flamenco stuff) from Land of the Midnight Sun or Elegant Gypsy. "Excerpt From the First Movement of Heavy Metal" gets me scratching my head. What's metal about this? Of course I understand Chick Corea and the boys would never play heavy metal, but what about the rest of the First Movement, and perhaps several other movements? Was there supposed to be a Heavy Metal Suite? Regardless, it's more of the funky stuff the guys were exploring on that side. I suppose it was Lenny White steering the band in a more funky direction as a lot of it brings to mind his first solo album Venusian Summer, released later the same year (1975). Side two is a different story. Here they're going for a much more prog-oriented direction. To my ears they actually sound like Romantic Warrior sessions, even though this predates that album by a year, but it's clear as a bell where they were already heading on this side. The music is much more complex, there's almost Gentle Giant-like moves at times. All this culminates with the two part "Celebration Suite". Side two is very much worth it for the proggers, especially if they enjoy Romantic Warrior. I can see while why this album still gets favorable reviews, it's not as highly regarded as the other three with Lenny White (Al DiMeola wasn't on Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy). Mainly because the funky material they do here may not appeal to every proghead, and that disco on "Jungle Waterfall" may make many wonder if they sold out. Luckily they didn't, and that was their only disco song here. For the more prog inclined, listen to side two, it's amazing stuff, foreseeing what they'll be doing on Romantic Warrior. Side one is still quite enjoyable, but less complex and less prog. Still worth getting.
Thanks to Dick Heath for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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