Return to Forever
Romantic Warrior


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chris Jackson USER (177 Reviews)
July 24th, 2006 | 25 replies | 12,365 views


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

I don't know to much about jazz or jazz fusion, I tend to listen to artists such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane on occasion and that's just about it when it comes to jazz. A few months ago my friend showed me a psychedelic "jazz fusion" band called Medeski, Martin and Wood. After reading some more reviews about the band I was instantly hooked and needed to hear some more of this fusion music. While looking into more fusion bands I discovered a few groups that I really enjoyed and the rest was either boring or cheesy. One of those bands just happened to be Return to Forever and they probably stand as one of my favorite fusion bands as of today.

When listening to Romantic Warrior the first thing that stands out is Chick Corea's electric keyboard playing. Throughout the album his mad skill sparkles creating a majestic and bouncy atmosphere. Corea's energetic style is immediately apparent on the albums opener Medieval Overature overshadowing both the bass and guitar playing. Towards the middle of the song Stanley Clarke's quick bass playing is compelling yet sublime and Corea's lush keyboard chords are the icing on the cake making Medieval Overture a zany little number that will get you on yo' feet in no time.

The second track, Sorceress is a bit more funky yet laid-back then anything else off the album. The first minute of the track is comprised of Clarke's groovy bass licks and then DiMeola's classic guitar-eqsue solo comes into play. At this point the song is drenched with a heavy influence of blues, until Corea's keyboard melodies make their way into the song. The middle of the track tends to drag on a bit long, the thumping bass and keyboard arpeggios play for a few minutes gradually slowing down the pace. Once you think the song is about to end it picks up again and the climax consists of funky bass slaps mixed in with a bit of DiMeola's rockin' guitar lines.

The middle of the album showcases the title track, a ten minute piece of music that is completely different from the first two songs. At first it looks like the song is going to be a draggy snoozefest simply because it starts out with some gloomy orchestrations that last for about a minute long. The music gradually perks up as Lenny Whites lively drumming accompanies some more of Clarke's jaw dropping bass work. Some Latin influenced guitar licks play frequently and while they stop Corea's glistening piano chords take over. Towards the end of the track every member throws in a little bit of their own spice to create a perky fusion gem.

Majestic Dance is the most straightforward rock song off of Romantic Warrior, it's also the shortest clocking in at only five minutes. This is one of the weaker points on the album, once Corea or Clarke get going the song quickly shifts over to another instrument change or the song slows down or speeds up. Nothing really stands out until the final minute or so, when DiMeola rocks out on his guitar. The Magician is up next and it’s the most “magical” sounding song off the album. For the most part the kinky keyboard rhythms dominate the song. Sparkling, glistening, and glimmering the bouncy notes create a kinglike sound making it so as if you were in an old, fashionable castle.

The album closes out with the exuberant Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant (Parts I and II). The first part of the song consists of Corea and Klugh soloing, and they get the job done sounding both fresh and smooth. The electric keyboard brings funk and electronica onto the scene while DiMeola's guitar brings in elements of classic rock and blues. Part II features every band member soloing and it's tough for me to declare an official winner. You get a mix of some blazing bass work, a scorching guitar solo, some kicking drum skills and to top it off Mr. Corea himself finishes the deal with some spicy keyboard playing.

Romantic Warrior is a fun, upbeat, and zany record. The album borrows music from genres such as funk, classical, bebop, jazz, and blues. You don't exactly have to be into jazz music to enjoy this album simply because the musicianship and instrument playing is rich and energetic. There are enough funky grooves and melodies to keep you guessing and the majestic atmosphere of the music will hold your attention. While I can't say that Romantic Warrior is an essential jazz fusion record I can say that it features four extremely talented musicians that create a sound which will appeal to many casual and hardcore music fans.



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user ratings (110)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 24th 2006



2806 Comments


Not only two fusion reviews on the front page, but two fusion reviews back to back. Never heard these guys, but Chick Corea is in it so I\'m interested.

Great review.

You might want to fix the formatting though. You just have to go back and replace all the 's.This Message Edited On 07.24.06

Grant
July 24th 2006



26 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Who the f uck is Klugh’s? Al DiMeola plays guitar on this album, just to let you know...

I've never really liked Chick Corea outside of Miles Davis' various fusion outings, he loves his cheese. And this album has tons of cheese in it, cheese galore even. My favourite fusion band will always be the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

halfdeadhippo
July 24th 2006



52 Comments


I don't really like this album as much as I do the earlier Return to Forever stuff (specifically, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy and the two albums with the original lineup) but it's still good enough to listen to every now and then.

Zebra
Moderator
July 24th 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=Grant]Who the f uck is Klugh’s? Al DiMeola plays guitar on this album, just to let you know...
I've never really liked Chick Corea outside of Miles Davis' various fusion outings, he loves his cheese. And this album has tons of cheese in it, cheese galore even. My favourite fusion band will always be the Mahavishnu Orchestra.[/quote] Damn. Klugh was in the band in 74-75, but you're correct that DiMeola is on guitar on this album. Also if you dislike Chick Corea's keyboard style then you will probably dislike this album.

pixiesfanyo
July 24th 2006



1222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is pretty good.

But the original album Return to Forever

Will always be my favvvv

emerson2
July 18th 2007



31 Comments


I agree completely with you. Most fusion groups are awful, but Return to Forever is incredible, especially on this album.

Meatplow
September 18th 2008



5524 Comments


This album is great, it is one of my favourites for sure.

Meatplow
June 6th 2009



5524 Comments


Group is so unappreciated goddamn it.

I never understand RTF hate, claims of mediocrity I can deal with.

lauriej
June 17th 2009



1711 Comments


i love this shit, the groove on Sorceress is perfect

oathfbass
November 1st 2009



388 Comments


loving sorceress

KILL
October 1st 2011



70528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

jefflebowski
October 1st 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is great, but HotSG and WHIKYB are even more fusion-tastic

Digging: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

KILL
October 1st 2011



70528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea hymm fuckin rules the hardest

jefflebowski
October 1st 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck yeah, the bass playing's badass. And the production's awesome

KILL
January 4th 2012



70528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol agreed

jefflebowski
January 4th 2012



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

feel the passion

jefflebowski
August 6th 2012



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesomeness fused with sex

KILL
August 6th 2012



70528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

amaizng

Jethro42
August 6th 2012



12365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed

jefflebowski
August 6th 2012



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2nd and 3rd RTF albums still rule the hardest though



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