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Return To Forever

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Audio CD, November 16, 1999
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B0000262QW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,527 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Smith on April 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Corea was at his peak with this '70s release, which brought together his Latin-flavored compositions and writing for singer Flora Purim with his liquid electric piano, Airto's varied gifts on percussion, and the late great Joe Farrell's facility on flute and sax.
One of the approaches to jazz that has unfortunately seemed to pass by the boards is what I'll call extended comp/improv, a blend of formal composition, passages for improvisation and sections that allow for free group interaction. Sonny Rollins and Max Roach were modernists who plowed early ground in this area, and they were followed by, among others, McCoy Tyner, John Handy, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Jack DeJonette, and of course, the master of the form, Charles Mingus. Corea makes a fine contribution to the informal canon with "Sometime Ago/La Fiesta," a hypnotic 23-minute excursion.
For the extended comp/improv to work, all the musicians have to be headed in the same direction without ever losing the sense that there are many paths toward the same goal. "Sometime Ago/La Fiesta" illustrates the beauty of this ideal. Corea, Farrell, and bassist Stanley Clarke all prove their mettle in long, lyrical passages in which they both play and respond to one another. Farrell is particularly inspired on flute and soprano sax, but Clarke will startle you as well with the sounds he gets from his bass.
The rest of the CD? Fine as well, although you might find Purim's vocals an acquired taste. For me, a little generally goes a long way, but on this CD, her voice is tightly interwoven into the compositions and is an asset rather than a distraction.
Those who think of Return to Forever as a rock band will find this record a surprise -- one way or the other. For me, it's vastly superior to the fusion records Corea turned out later in the '70s.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By J-Rock on June 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
"Return to Forever" is a marvelous album that stands in a genre all its own. Chick Corea has unassailable jazz credentials with his work in Miles' Davis experiments and his fine trio work with Roy Haynes and Miroslav Vitous. Return to Forever is a lyrical album that has beautiful melodies and strong improvisation from Joe Farrell while tastefully melding the Brazilian influences of Flora Purim and Airto Moreira. For me, it's the Brazilian influences that make this such a resounding album. Airto's samba patterns and percussive work on "Return to Forever" and "Sometime Ago" are wonderful. Joe Farrell provides some marvelous flute work on "What Game Shall We Play Today". "What Game" is a very infectious melody that you'll want to play over and over again. Stanley Clarke's stuff is a little more restrained than some of the more rock influenced stuff Return to Forever eventually went into, but his technical chops are still a vital part of this session. Still "Return to Forever" highlights the best of what Chick Corea has to offer, a willingness to please, tasteful use of texture through the electric piano and music that takes risk while still being melodic and affirming. This is one of the best albums I've purchased in the last couple years.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James Mueller on February 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
My absolute favorite Chick Corea CDs are _Return To Forever_ and _Light As A Feather_. Both are old classics and both feature Joe Farell, Stanley Clarke. Airto, and Flora Purim. I love the style and the mood of these two albums. I think Chick had something special going on with the Latin concept and the artists of these two CDs. He later diverged with a fantasy concept group called, Return To Forever (nothing to do with this CD), a big mistake in my opinion. Getting back to this CD, the title track, "Return To Forever", is a great composition with phenomenal work by Stanley Clarke and Chick. Flora's surreal vocals and Airto's percussion are a nice touch. "Crystal Silence" is a wonderfully quiet piece with Chick, Joe, and Airto breaking the silence. "What Game Shall We Play Today" is classic Flora Purim. Her performance on this track reminds me of another joyful Purim vocal, "Mountain Train", from her best CD, _Stories To Tell_. "Sometime Ago - La Fiesta", with it's long long intro by Stan, Joe and Chic, and later, Flora's vocals, is a masterpiece. You need to listen to several times to fully appreciate its brilliance. Return To Forever has a unique mood and style that reminds one of innocent jazz musicians, like children, simply having fun playing together. It belongs on every jazz aficionado's shelf.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Corea was barely in his thirties when he recorded this record in February, 1972, after already establishing solid credentials in hard bop (with Blue Mitchell), early fusion (with Miles Davis), free-jazz (with Circle) and improvisional solo piano. On this outing, Corea pioneers a lighter, latin-tinged type of fusion that is much easier to listen to than most of his prior works, yet still maintains all his artistic integrity. Not to be confused with the band "Return To Forever" Chick founded the following year; this music is seven galaxies apart from that (pun intended).
The line-up was very sympathetic to what he was trying to accomplish here. Airto Moreira brings a Brazilian percussionist approach to the drums and the results are fascinating. A young Stanley Clarke is already making his mark as a phenomenal bassist but avoids for being too overpowering for now. Joe Farrell provides the right touches on flute and some pretty, heart-felt solos on soprano sax, while Flora Purim's voice often functions as a perfect companion to Farrell's flute.
Not all the compositions are perfect; the title song's introduction and ending are a little weak, but the two middle portions features some great percussion work from Airto and the interplay between Corea and Clarke bears close listening. "La Fiesta" is rightly considered among Corea's contributions to jazz standards. But my personal favorite is "Crystal Silence", a beautiful duet between Farrell's sax and Corea's Fender Rhodes.
If this recording were done by most other artists, it probably would have earned the fifth star, but Corea was just warming up to his masterwork later that same year with "Light As a Feather". Nevertheless, "Return To Forever" is an essential record in Corea's vast discography. Don't pass it up.
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