145

Return to Forever: Return to the Seventh Galaxy: The Anthology

By

Sign in to view read count
This two-disc set chronicles the recorded work of the first two editions of Return to Forever. The music is taken from four albums recorded from October, 1972 through January, 1975 for Polydor records. The set also includes live versions of four tunes that were recorded while being broadcast on the radio.

Return to Forever is often mentioned (along with Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra) as one of the most important groups in the fusion movement of the early to mid- seventies, and rightfully so. While the recording quality is not particularly good by today's standards and the electric instruments sound hard-edged and brash, the innovation and creativity of much of the music can still be appreciated today, and it stands the test of time pretty well.

The set begins with three cuts from the Light as a Feather album by the first incarnation of the band (Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Joe Farrell, Airto Moreira, and Flora Purim): "500 Miles High," "Captain Marvel," and "Light as a Feather." Although Corea plays Fender Rhodes, this group is still primarily acoustic, with a definite Brazilian influence courtesy of Airto and Flora. More songs have entered the jazz "standard" songbook from this album than any other that Corea has done, for good reason: the compositions and performances are exquisite.

Next, we get three of the live radio cuts. The band underwent a major personnel makeover (only Corea and Clarke remained) and veered sharply in the direction of rock. I was surprised to learn that Steve Gadd was part of RTF for a brief time, as he performs on these cuts along with percussionist Mingo Lewis. Guitarist Bill Connor replaced reed master Joe Farrell as the other solo voice besides Corea. Despite the musical talent present, these are probably the roughest of the cuts on the album.

Then Gadd and Lewis left, and drummer Lenny White joined the band. Disc one concludes with three cuts from the Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy album with this roster.

Disc two contains the highlights from the albums Where Have I Known You Before and No Mystery. Connor was replaced by a young Al Di Meola, fresh from Berklee School of music. Corea added synthesizers (still monophonic at that time) to his arsenal, and the band widened it's stylistic range from searing funk-rock to a much wider palette of musical textures. Disc two also contains a live radio version of "The Shadow of Lo," which is more satisfying than the live cuts on disc one.

My favorites are the tunes at the beginning (from Light as a Feather ) and the end (from No Mystery ), plus "The Shadow of Lo." But it all serves to document an important band and an important period in music. If you already own these four RTF albums on CD, it probably isn't worth buying this set just for the live cuts. Otherwise, I highly recommend this set for all fans of jazz-rock fusion.

| Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Contemporary/Smooth


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Masters Of War" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Of War
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "New World" CD/LP/Track Review New World
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "A Cut Through The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review A Cut Through The Heart
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music" CD/LP/Track Review X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "Live At Blues Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Blues Alley
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Three Miles From Avalon" CD/LP/Track Review Three Miles From Avalon
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!