november 17, 2017

Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior (1976) - Lp

Return to Forever is a jazz fusion group founded and led by pianist Chick Corea. Through its existence, the band has had many members, with the only consistent bandmate of Corea's being bassist Stanley Clarke.
Along with Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever is often cited as one of the core groups of the jazz-fusion movement of the 1970s. Several musicians, including Clarke, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira and Al Di Meola, first came to prominence through their performances on Return to Forever's albums.
The nature of the group's music had by now completely changed into jazz-rock, and had evolved into a similar vein as to that the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, and some progressive rock bands were also performing at the time. Their music was still relatively melodic, relying on strong themes, but the jazz element was by this time almost entirely absent, replaced by a more direct, rock oriented approach. Over-driven, distorted guitar had also become prominent in the band's new sound, and Clarke had by then switched almost completely to electric bass guitar.
A replacement on vocals was not hired, and all the songs were now instrumentals. This change did not lead to a decrease in the band's commercial fortunes however, Return to Forever's jazz rock albums instead found their way onto US pop album charts.

The final album by this longest-lasting "classic" lineup of the group, which had by this time left Polydor for Columbia Records, was Romantic Warrior (1976), the best selling of all Return to Forever's efforts, eventually reaching gold disc status. "Romantic Warrior" continued their experiments in the realms of jazz-rock and related musical genres, and was lauded by critics for both the technically demanding style of its compositions as well as for its accomplished musicianship.

Chick Corea contributed the longest compositions and the other members each composed one piece. The opener, "Medieval Overture", with its distinctive melodic motifs, sets the mood for the rest of the album. Lenny White's "Sorceress" starts with a funky riff and is distinguished by Corea's synthesizers. The title track is fully acoustic.
It has a long intro, which is followed by a short theme consisting of one riff. Each group member, excluding White, plays a long solo. In the end, an extended outro follows, during which fast unison patterns are heard. Al Di Meola's and Stanley Clarke's songs on side two are notable for their humorous qualities. Al Di Meola's song, "Majestic Dance", relies on rock riffs and distorted lead guitar sound, but features also fast harpsichord-like synth figures. Clarke's "The Magician" is a very complex composition, featuring playful melodies, and again, rapid unison lines. The last track of the album is Corea's "Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant", which is the longest song of the album.
It has a more conventional melody as a main theme, but otherwise it follows the style of previous tracks. Notable is the intense keyboard solo showcasing Corea.
After this album Corea decided that the group's time had come to an end and he continued with another wholly new Return to Forever line-up with Clarke. Corea dedicated the album to the founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.

Side A
A1. Medieval Overture (5:14)
A2. Sorceress (7:34)
A3. The Romantic Warrior (10:52)

Side B
B1. Majestic Dance (5:01)
B2. The Magician (5:29)
B3. Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant (Part I & Part II)  (11:26)

Companies, etc.
Release: 1976
Genre: Jazz fusion
Format: LP
Label: CBS Records
Catalog# CBS 81221
Prijs: €10,00

Vinyl: Goed
Hoes: Goed

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