(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
The beginning stages of the power prog-fusion band, know as Return To Forever, had a simplistic entry to the world, as the band consisting of Chick Corea on Electric Keyboards, wunderkid Stanley Clarke on both Acoustic and Electric bass (that dual would last the entire tenure together) severely underated reedman, Joe Farrell, Flora Purim on vocals and percussion and her husband the well reknown, and premier percussionist of his era, Airto Moreira on Drums.
The debut album, known simply as Return To Forever, is a stunning debut, that simply introduced the world to a youngster named Stanley Clarke, predating an equally influential Jaco Pastorious, by a couple of years, Stanley's blinding speed on the electric bass was just mind boggling and he was just as impressive on the instrument's acoustic sister, where his improvisational skills, and upper level dexterity conjured up thoughts of the long deceased, Scott Lafaro and Oscar Pettiford, both whom he idolized.
In comparison to Return To Forever's mid period incarnation, the debut album is neither pretentious nor harsh, the focus of this album is it ethnic roots, in which the band chose to stick to its Latin grooves, with some of the greatest improvisating from four of the most virtuostic performances ever committed to tape, the underappreciated Flute and Soprano Sax of the late John Farrell seemed to make this album seem as ethreal as the album cover suggest, but then the band's tensions build up to a climatic ending on the phenomenal "La Fiesta".
For those that are looking forward to hearing blinding metal-like music that the Corea/DiMeola/Clarke/White were known for- don't look here, but those that are into listening to one of the pioneering latin jazz recordings, pick up Return To Forever and you will not be disappointed.