RETURN TO FOREVER

Fusion • United States
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Return to Forever was the name of a jazz fusion band founded and led by keyboardist Chick Corea. The band cycled through many members, but the only consistent band mate of Corea's was bassist Stanley Clarke. Along with Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra, these bands are often seen as the core of jazz fusion music in the 1970s. Several musicians, including Clarke, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira and Al Di Meola first became well-known through their performances on Return to Forever's albums.

After playing on Miles Davis's albums In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, Corea formed an avant-garde jazz band called Circle with Dave Holland, Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul. However in 1972, after becoming a disciple of the Scientology cult, Corea decided that he wanted to "communicate" with the audience. This essentially meant that he wanted to make more commercial music, since avant-garde jazz had a relatively small audience.

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Romantic WarriorRomantic Warrior
Sony UK 1999
$5.22
$5.02 (used)
The Mothership Returns [2 CD/DVD Combo]The Mothership Returns [2 CD/DVD Combo]
Eagle Records 2012
$20.98
$15.00 (used)
ReturnsReturns
Eagle Records 2009
$10.59
$8.00 (used)
The AnthologyThe Anthology
Concord Jazz 2008
$8.61
$5.89 (used)
Where Have I Known You BeforeWhere Have I Known You Before
Polydor
$4.99 (used)
Live: Complete ConcertLive: Complete Concert
Music on CD 2017
$14.84
$15.77 (used)
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RETURN TO FOREVER Discography

RETURN TO FOREVER albums / top albums

RETURN TO FOREVER Chick Corea & Return To Forever : Light As A Feather album cover 3.89 | 25 ratings
Chick Corea & Return To Forever : Light As A Feather
Fusion 1972
RETURN TO FOREVER Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy album cover 4.16 | 31 ratings
Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
Fusion 1973
RETURN TO FOREVER Where Have I Known You Before album cover 4.03 | 28 ratings
Where Have I Known You Before
Fusion 1974
RETURN TO FOREVER No Mystery album cover 3.69 | 22 ratings
No Mystery
Fusion 1975
RETURN TO FOREVER Romantic Warrior album cover 4.08 | 44 ratings
Romantic Warrior
Fusion 1976
RETURN TO FOREVER Musicmagic album cover 2.60 | 12 ratings
Musicmagic
Fusion 1977

RETURN TO FOREVER EPs & splits

RETURN TO FOREVER live albums

RETURN TO FOREVER Return To Forever (aka Live) album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Return To Forever (aka Live)
Fusion 1977
RETURN TO FOREVER Returns album cover 3.67 | 12 ratings
Returns
Fusion 2009
RETURN TO FOREVER Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White (as  Forever) album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White (as Forever)
Fusion 2011
RETURN TO FOREVER The Mothership Returns album cover 4.29 | 9 ratings
The Mothership Returns
Fusion 2012
RETURN TO FOREVER Live At Konserthuset. Stockholm September 17. 1972 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Konserthuset. Stockholm September 17. 1972
Fusion 2017
RETURN TO FOREVER Stockholm Live 1977 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Stockholm Live 1977
Fusion 2018
RETURN TO FOREVER Returns - Live at Montreux 2008 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Returns - Live at Montreux 2008
Fusion 2018

RETURN TO FOREVER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

RETURN TO FOREVER 30-Minute Radio Special album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
30-Minute Radio Special
Fusion 1975

RETURN TO FOREVER re-issues & compilations

RETURN TO FOREVER Live The Complete Concert album cover 3.43 | 7 ratings
Live The Complete Concert
Fusion 1978
RETURN TO FOREVER The Best of Return to Forever album cover 2.48 | 3 ratings
The Best of Return to Forever
Fusion 1980
RETURN TO FOREVER This Is Jazz 12 album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
This Is Jazz 12
Fusion 1996
RETURN TO FOREVER Return to the Seventh Galaxy: The Anthology album cover 4.09 | 2 ratings
Return to the Seventh Galaxy: The Anthology
Fusion 1996
RETURN TO FOREVER Chick Corea and Return To Forever ‎: Light As A Feather album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Chick Corea and Return To Forever ‎: Light As A Feather
Fusion 1998
RETURN TO FOREVER The Anthology album cover 4.46 | 4 ratings
The Anthology
Fusion 2008
RETURN TO FOREVER Where Have I Known You Before/No Mystery album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Where Have I Known You Before/No Mystery
Fusion 2008
RETURN TO FOREVER The Complete Columbia Albums Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Columbia Albums Collection
Fusion 2011

RETURN TO FOREVER singles (0)

RETURN TO FOREVER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Returns - Live At Montreux 2008
Fusion 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in San Sebastian
Fusion 2010

RETURN TO FOREVER Reviews

RETURN TO FOREVER Chick Corea & Return To Forever : Light As A Feather

Album · 1972 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Miler72
This is apparently the first true Return to Forever album as the previous album, entitled Return to Forever, was released as a Chick Corea solo album, but it featured the same musicians, so that's how the name stuck, I guess. Light as a Feather continues the Brazilian jazz/Bossa Nova influence, with Flora Purim providing vocals and husband Airto Moreira on percussion. Chick Corea uses strictly electric piano and Stanley Clarke provides only stand up bass here. This is an incredible album, it doesn't have the break-neck Mahavishnu Orchestra-fast playing of Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy or the progginess of Romantic Warrior, it has a more relaxed vibe, but what a wonderful mood Chick Corea and Co. creates here, with lots of lengthy instrumental fusion passages, and of course a Brazilian feel that is ever present. Every time I hear Flora Purim sing, I expect her to either sing in her native Portuguese (she doesn't, she sings in English, since this was aimed for the American audience, naturally) or break into "The Girl From Impanema". Never happens. I wasn't sure if I would like this album, but instead it really knocked my socks off. Usually vocals in fusion albums are a big turn-off for me, but of course Flora Purim being Brazilian works amazingly well here, giving that Bossa Nova influence. If you like Brazilian jazz as well as fusion this album is a totally required!

RETURN TO FOREVER Romantic Warrior

Album · 1976 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
aglasshouse
The jazz fusion scene features some of the most skilled musicians that are unmatched by most. One of the more notable examples is that of Return to Forever, a band fronted by piano virtuoso Chick Corea.

Return to Forever's Romantic Warrior features some of the most wonderful sounding pieces I've heard in awhile. The aforementioned frontman Chick Corea's skill with a plethora of different pianos, including but not limited to the Yamaha organ, Polymoog, and ARP Odyssey is nothing short of inspiring to a keyboard player like myself. Every band member plays similarly; with eclectic and complex tempos but with a cool, smooth disposition, very similar to Corea's free jazz solo career. Lenny White's insane playing style is punchy and extremely effective especially with the beautiful chords presented by Corea and Stanley Clarke's ominous bass plucks.

The album art as well as the style with which the acoustics are played bring out a sort of medieval vibe, like an ancient piece invigorated with the intricacy of a team of modern masters. The certain hone to this blade gives off a sense of subtle self-respect that isn't too hard to chew, because I resoundingly revere such wonderful music.

Romantic Warrior combines the chill swing of your downtown parlour jazz with the richness of an orchestra. I highly suggest you check it out.

RETURN TO FOREVER Romantic Warrior

Album · 1976 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Modrigue
Progressive fantasy jazz rock

Often considered as RETURN TO FOREVER's best album, "Romantic Warrior" is more avant-garde and less funky than the band's previous efforts. Featuring a more important usage of electronic keyboards and rocking guitars, the musicians also incorporated symphonic/heavy prog elements from bands such as YES or KING CRIMSON in their music. Combined to the strange and charming synthesizers of Chick Corea, the result is quite original and inspired, while remaining accessible. The question is: what's the relation with the title?

"Medieval Overture" (by Chick Corea) is in fact not really medieval. Instead, this composition is a rather retro-futuristic spacey jazz/rock with various keyboards in the style of YES. Very nice, and sets the tone for the rest of the disc. Lenny White's "Sorceress" is the funkiest track of the record. Opening with a calm and groovy bass line, it contains a few guitar and keyboards interventions with a slight flavour of McCoy Tyner. In contrast, the title track (by Chick Corea) is fully acoustic. Majestic and delightful, however a bit too long.

Despite its title, the cool "Majestic Dance" is not very dancing but rather the rock-iest passage of the disc with its distorted guitars. This is logic when you know this was composed by Al Di Meola. Stanley Clarke's "The Magician" is the most complex composition, and also my least favorite track. Quite odd and changing, it incorporates fun small melodies. Ironically this song is the only one truly related to the album thematic, as it sounds a little medieval by moments. Once again by Chick Corea, "Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant" is the longest composition. Contrarily to the previous song, the music is more accessible and built around a nice melancholic melody as a main theme, with a few surprises inside...

Only after the listen can you understand the album title. "Romantic Warrior" do not naively refer to love or martial metal songs. Instead, it should rather been taken as an oxymoron that corresponds to the musical style: both calm and turbulent, light and ferocious. Everything is a matter of contrast. Unusual, original and with an unique sound, this 1976 opus is one of the proggiest and greatest achievements of its genre.

Very recommended to jazz rock / fusion aficionados or hard rock fans wanting to discover the style!

RETURN TO FOREVER Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy

Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Miler72
To me, I really felt this is the first real Return to Forever album. Light as a Feather still found the band exploring Brazilian/Bossa Nova stuff (helps that Flora Purim was on the album), although it's a highly regarded album, but it's with Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy that they really take off. No more Bossa Nova, or even vocals, for that matter, here's you get Chick Corea (naturally), bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Bill Connors, and drummer Lenny White. This time they go right to the jugular, unbridled breakneck fast playing from all around, it's as if Corea was blown away by what Mahavishnu Orchestra was doing and felt they needed to do something just like it (but without violin). Bill Connors' guitar playing has a rather distinct rock style, which you won't mistake for John McLaughlin. In fact the reason for Bill Connors departure was apparently the music was too similar to Mahavishnu Orchestra for his liking (he probably wanted something a bit more original). Regardless, this is totally recommended if you love Mahavishnu, that similar breakneck fast playing from everyone involved. Most of the music follows a similar pattern, but "Captain Senor Mouse" has a rather catch melody to goes with the extended jamming and "Space Circus (Part II)" is quite funky. If you don't mind the obvious Mahavhisnu Orchestra feel to it, I really highly recommend this!

RETURN TO FOREVER The Mothership Returns

Live album · 2012 · Fusion
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RBlak054
At long last, the mothership returns! Return to Forever are back with their fifth live record to date, and what a record it is! The band may be getting older, but by no means has their talent diminished at all.

This lineup of the band, which was dubbed Return to Forever IV for the tour, has a few changes from the classic lineup: Frank Gambale takes over guitar duties from Al Di Meola, and Jean-Luc Ponty adds his violin expertise to the outfit. The usual suspects - Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White - are of course all present as well.

The first thing I noticed listening to this album was the sound quality, which is incredibly rich and full for a live recording. While the sound here is practically studio quality, the rawness of the live performance is still captured. As a result, this is one of the better sounding live albums out there.

As far as material goes, this double live album contains a mix of Return to Forever's hard-hitting, cosmic fusion and their acoustic work. The music here predominantly consists of songs from the group's classic works Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy and Romantic Warrior. It's fair to say that the material has stood the test of time, with Chick Corea's compositions, most notably, remaining relevant with their complex, well thought-out structures that still leave plenty of room for improvisation.

Speaking of improvisation, you'll be hearing a lot of it; practically every song here features an extended solo from each of the lead musicians. It's not uncommon for one song to have upwards of ten minutes worth of solos on it. These are some of the best fusion players in the world, however, and know how to keep a solo engaging. Some of the performances here are really mind-blowing!

If you're familiar with Return to Forever, you know that these guys are experts on their instruments. Chick Corea, like usual, awes the crowd with his quintessential work on the Fender Rhodes and other keyboard instruments. Stanley Clarke is at the top of his game here as well, showing off his signature percussive electric and upright bass work. As for Lenny White, he really rocks the kit and offers some of the best rhythmic support that fusion has to offer. While Frank Gambale lacks some of the latin flair and the acoustic stylings of Al Di Meola, his renowned electric playing is great and proves that he is a capable soloist and comper and overall an adequate substitute. Finally, Jean-Luc Ponty likewise proves to be an excellent addition to the band's lineup with great violin playing.

My only complaint as far as the music on this album is concerned is that Frank Gambale and Jean-Luc Ponty's duties are far too similar, meaning that they are often playing the exact same lines. While I understand and appreciate that fast, unison lines are a staple of Return to Forever, it still would have been nice to hear some harmonies or other variances.

If you like jazz fusion or Return to Forever's music, even just a little bit, you'll want to hear this album. The sound quality is exceptional. The musicians are exceptional. Every single track is exceptional (both in composition and performance). I don't know what else to say other than that this may very well be fusion's finest live outing in the past several years.

(Originally published on progarchives.com)

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