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Audio CD, March 17, 2009
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: March 17, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Eagle Records (Fontana)
  • ASIN: B001GSV3DS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,665 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Opening Prayer
2. Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy
3. Vulcan Worlds
4. The Sorceress
5. Song To The Pharaoh Kings
Disc: 2
1. Chick's Solo: Friendship (including Solar)
2. Romantic Warrior
3. Stanley's Solo: El Bayo de Negro
4. Lenny's Solo: Lineage
5. Romantic Warrior (reprise)
6. Duel Of The Jester And The Tyrant Bonus Tracks 1) 500 Miles High 2) Romantic Warrior

Editorial Reviews

2009 two CD release. Return To Forever were at the forefront of Jazz/Rock fusion in the '70s and, like their contemporaries Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra, were formed by a former Miles Davis sideman, in this case the great Chick Corea. Return To Forever hit their commercial and artistic peak with a string of albums in the mid-'70s featuring the line-up of Chick Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar and Lenny White on drums. In 2008, this classic line-up reunited for their first tour in 25 years and proved that their musicianship and the chemistry within the band was as strong as ever. Eight tracks.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Ward on March 23, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Return to Forever's Returns recorded live exudes a positively unworldly beauty in the relatively small number of songs on the album. What they have done is extend old favorites like "Song to the Pharaoh Kings" and "Romantic Warrior" with solos that reference songs from each musicians' repertoire as an individual performer in other contexts besides RTF. These solos reflect the creative ferment that has emerged from years of artistic maturation, seemingly culminating in this performance. Departing from the original recordings, the solos in this performance involve much more interaction between the musicians including duets between Al Di Meola and Chick Corea, while in other places solos are accompanied by Chick's or Al's wonderfully creative comping, which is almost as compelling as the solo in question. The album standout is RTF's signature composition "Romantic Warrior," which seems to represent what the medieval period would have sounded like had they discovered the blues. This immensely complex orchestral piece is performed with rapturously lyrical solos from Stanley Clarke and Al, which are highlighted by an understated drum solo delivered by Lenny White. The song is reprised at the end of the album in a segment in which RTF performs live after receiving a lifetime achievement award in jazz from the BBC. In this abbreviated presentation, everyone shines wonderfully with a decided emphasis on lyricism. Overall, this CD is a fine acquisition for RTF fans old and new.
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75 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Music maven on March 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I have to say that I bought this with some trepidation. I loved the first (Flora era) and second (Bill Connors) versions of the band, when they played with real fire and pushed the edge of things. But like too many fusion bands, they quickly settled into sterile, perfect performances of calculated compositions. Al Di Meola, for all his considerable technical facility, was a letdown after Bill Connors (who has become a letdown of himself over the years), and contributed to the sterilization of the band. So when they announced they were reforming for a reunion tour, I did not have high expectations. But I must say this CD set is a very pleasant surprise. The band doesn't quite recapture the original passion of Senor Mouse or Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, but they play with much more fire than I ever expected, including Al, who plays with more passion than I knew he had. There are some advantages to the now-older band, too. There's more textural and stylistic variety, including a straightahead jazz reading of Solar that's a breath of fresh air. Unlike rock players, who tend to get more flaccid with age, jazz musicians tend to get deeper and richer and more proficient. That certainly is the case here--everyone plays with much greater range and depth than they ever did before, and that makes for an acceptable tradeoff for some loss of youthful reckless abandon. Stanley Clarke focuses a lot on the acoustic bass here, which is most welcome--I always found his upright playing much more interesting and effective than his electric technique, which was thin sounding and over-plucked. His upright playing here is still flashy, but it's mixed with some exploratory techniques and some real expression. Everyone else displays the same kind of maturity in their playing. It also helps that this is a superlative live recording. Every instrument is full and natural sounding and beautifully balanced--one of the best live recordings I've heard. So all in all a very pleasant surprise. Well worth buying.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Bush on April 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I haven't been this excited about a new music release in quite some time. I saw RTF on their Romantic Warrior tour in 1976 but sadly missed seeing any of their 2008 performances. This 2CD recording makes clear that RTF have lost little if anything in the 32 years since they last played together - in fact this may be my favorite RTF recording because in concert they stretch out and play with more improvisation and power than on any of their studio albums.

I have to admit to being partial to CD1 which focuses on the louder electric pieces, Hymn of 7th galaxy, Vulcan Worlds, Sorceress, Song to the Pharaoh Kings. Al Dimeola has never sounded better - his solos are simply stunning - is there a greater guitar vituoso playing today? there are times where his interchanges with Chick, Stanley and Lenny take the music to levels of intensity that practically defy the imagination. You simply don't hear this caliber of playing from any of today's popular groups. I haven't been able to take these CDs out of my player since I received them. That the recording quality is superb is just an added bonus.

I can't wait for the DVD of the full Montreux concert that's due out later this month. We'll be able to see as well as hear the performance, certainly the next best thing to being there. We are indeed very fortunate that these 2008 performances were recorded and are being made available to us!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patrick E. Molloy on April 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Having seen their tour at its LA Stop last June, I eagerly awaited the day when a CD of their live set would arrive. Now that it has, my only quibble with it is purely selfish; I wish that a few of its tracks had been culled from our (fantastic) show. Clearwater, Florida, I'm sure you guys saw a great show, but they totally cooked at the Gibson Amphitheatre.

This 2-disc set provides the listener with the means to discover how good they sounded in their reunion. This disc, simply put, is what it sounded like to be there. The audio fidelity is superb. Everything is mixed perfectly, and Clarke's acoustic bass playing will work its way into your very soul.

Now, I'm looking forward to the upcoming DVD, especially since it will be comprised of different performances of the material than were included in this set. Thanks for that, guys! I'm glad I don't have to pay twice for the same recordings.
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