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

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RETURN TO FOREVER - Chick Corea & Return To Forever : Light As A Feather cover
3.91 | 26 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1972

Filed under Fusion


A1 You're Everything 5:10
A2 Light As A Feather 11:00
A3 Captain Marvel 4:55
B1 500 Miles High 9:06
B2 Children's Song 2:48
B3 Spain 9:55

Total Time: 43:46


- Airto Moreira / percussion, drums, vocals
- Stanley Clarke / bass
- Chick Corea / keyboards, piano
- Joe Farrell / flute, saxophone
- Flora Purim / percussion, vocals

About this release

Elenco ‎– ELPO72 1 (Brazil)

Recorded October 8 and October 15, 1972 at I.B.C. Sound Recording Studios, London, England

Released in UK(Polydor ‎– 2310 247) and US(Polydor ‎– PD 5525) in 1973

Thanks to M.Neumann for the addition and snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The first Return to Forever existed a world away from the incendiary Jazz-Rock 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.

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.

Members reviews

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!
Another Return to Forever release in which the husband and wife instrumentalist team of Airto Moreira and Flora Purim play a key role in the band's sound, this album shows concrete progress over the debut. The album closer Spain is a much-loved classic, but most of the other tracks on this deserve attention. My favourites are the furiously fast Captain Marvel - the rockiest track on the disc, in my view - and gentle opening composition You're Everything, which is possibly the jazziest. An appreciable and welcome improvement over the debut, Light as a Feather proved that Chick Corea's fusion project was no mere flash in the pan, and set the stage for the group becoming a full band concern rather than a Chick Corea backing group.
Sean Trane
With an unchanged line-up, RTF’s second album light As A Feather, released in late 72, saw a label change from ECM to Polydor, but the musical propos stayed pretty well the same as it was on the self-titled debut. So the album is still hovering with some straight jazz moments, but at times the music is red hot fusion, but also has some Brazilian bossa nova twists (Moreira) and some strong Spanish influences (Corea himself) as well and was recorded in the fall in London. Farrell’s flute and sax providing much delightful moments, this is still very much a Corea album, since he signs every track but the lengthy title track, which might just be Clarke first composition.

Opening on the most standard jazz track of the album, the bossa nova You’re Everything, where Purim and Corea dominate the propos, but overall, this might be the least interesting track on the album. The 11–mins Clarke-penned title track starts pretty much on the same mode, but veers very much instrumental and by the end of the track, you’ve had an amazing trip between flute and Fender Rhodes. The Following Captain Marvel is a 100 MPH Corea-dominated track where Purim pulls in some aerial scats.

The flipside opens on the lengthy 500 Miles High, a slow-starter with Purim and Farrell in the forefront, but once the track is in its middle section, one gets red hot Fender Rhodes-driven jazz-rock that will have burned your eardrums by the landing back on firm ground. Children’s Song is a short is a quiet Rhodes and percussion interlude. Ending on the lengthy Spain, which holds some Aranjuez Concerto lines in it, anc will later lead Corea in further solo albums developing this them , Spanish Heart to name it.

While LaaF is often not considered as a classic RTF album along with the debut, both albums are still very much worthy of investigation, even though Purim’s presence in the group does set them apart from the rest of the group’s oeuvre.

Ratings only

  • lunarston
  • snobb
  • MoogHead
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  • KK58
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  • Anster
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  • Drummer
  • trinidadx13
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  • botman86
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  • zorn1
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