411

Return to Forever Featuring Chick Corea: Where Have I Known You Before / No Mystery

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Return to Forever Featuring Chick Corea: Where Have I Known You Before / No Mystery With the release of the remixed and remastered Return to Forever: The Anthology (Concord, 2008) fans of the reunited '70s fusion supergroup, touring North American and Europe since late May, including an attendance-breaking June 26 performance at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, were given the chance to hear keyboard icon Chick Corea, guitarist Al Di Meola, bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White more clearly than ever before. With two of the high volume, high intensity group's four discs included in their entirety—Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (Polydor, 1973) and Romantic Warrior (Columbia, 1976)—the only shame was that, while the strongest material from the other two discs was included, the need for remastered versions of Where Have I Known You Before (Polydor, 1974) and No Mystery (Polydor, 1975) became all the more obvious.



Thanks to BGO Records, those looking for sonic upgrades need hope no longer. Though not benefiting from the remixes that make The Anthology jump out of the speakers with previously unheard detail, these remasters are a significant improvement over past CD releases. More importantly, by making them available in their entirety, it's now possible to hear material included on The Anthology in proper context. The only group track missing from Where Have I Known is the short, groove-happy jam "Earth Juice"—hardly one of RTF's more memorable tunes. Still, hearing Corea's three solo piano interludes—"Where Have I Loved You Before," "Where Have I Danced With You Before" and the title track—strengthens the more energetic tunes around them.



They're also the first time Corea had returned to acoustic piano with RTF since its Latin-esque beginnings, foreshadowing No Mystery's classic, all-acoustic title track. Where Have I Known You Before's opener, Clarke's instantly captivating "Vulcan Worlds," also signaled his shift from the dense, overdriven tone on Hymn to a cleaner tone heavy on the thumb-slapping and finger popping that turned him into a seminal influence on modern day bass heroes including Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten.



There's more group involvement on the tracks from No Mystery that were left off The Anthology, including Al Di Meola's "Flight of the Newborn" and Corea/Clarke's "Jungle Waterfall"—tunes that, alongside Clarke's deceptively catchy "Dayride" and White's more idiosyncratic "Sofistifunk," both included on The Anthology, represented a move towards shorter funk tunes. These contrast sharply with the all-acoustic title track, brief acoustic Corea/Clarke improv "Interplay" and epic masterpiece, "Celebration Suite," that originally occupied side two of No Mystery, the latter a two-part, heavily composed Corea composition that also signaled RTF's exploration of its distinctive nexus of fusion and progressive rock on Romantic Warrior a year later.



With BGO's double-disc reissue rounding out Concord's The Anthology and a tour strongly suggesting RTF is as important now as it was 35 years ago, 2008 is clearly the year of Return to Forever. All the qualities that made RTF superstars then—and, based on the tour's success, now—are available in sonically upgraded form. Now all that's needed is a live DVD...


Track Listing: CD1 (Where Have I Known You Before): Vulcan Worlds; Where Have I Loved You Before; The Shadow of Lo; Where Have I Danced With You Before; Beyond the Seventh Galaxy; Earth Juice; Where Have I Known You Before; Song to the Pharoah Kings. CD2 (No Mystery): Dayride; Jungle Waterfall; Flight of the Newborn; Sofistifunk; Excerpt from the First Movement of Heavy Metal; No Mystery; Interplay; Celebration Suite Part I; Celebration Suite Part II.

Personnel: Chick Corea: keyboards (CD1), percussion (CD1), acoustic piano (CD2), electric piano (CD2), clavinet (CD2), Yamaho organ (CD2), synthesizers (CD2), snare drum (CD2), marimba (CD2), vocal (CD2); Al Di Meola: electric and acoustic guitars; Stanley Clarke: electric bass, acoustic bass (CD2), organ (CD1), Yamaha organ (CD2), synthesizer (CD2), vocal (CD2), percussion (CD1); Lenny White: drums, percussion, congas (CD2), marimba (CD2).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: BGO Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The High Road" CD/LP/Track Review The High Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Iridescent Clouds" CD/LP/Track Review Iridescent Clouds
by James Nadal
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Skarkali" CD/LP/Track Review Skarkali
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "The Ludwigsburg Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Ludwigsburg Concert
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Back Where I Belong" CD/LP/Track Review Back Where I Belong
by James Nadal
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Fusion Machine" CD/LP/Track Review Fusion Machine
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!