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Return To Forever: The Anthology

Return to Forever was a Latin jazz band in the early 1970s, a fusion act in the mid-’70s, and a big band in the late ’70s, but this is an anthology of only its most commercially successful middle period of 1973-1976. Bandleader Chick Corea, like most personnel from Miles Davis’ bands, learned to always follow his muse, but the serpentining keyboardist also took a more extremist view of that mantra than alumni peers Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. The Anthology, it could be argued, is even a mix of two separate Return to Forever fusion phases, thanks to its two distinctively different guitarists.

Bill Connors essentially replaced multi-reedman Joe Farrell, and was Corea’s guitar choice before the more heralded Al Di Meola. Drummer Lenny White took over from Airto Moreira, and ever-present bassist Stanley Clarke focused more on electric than acoustic. Corea did likewise, and offset the commercial loss of vocalist Flora Purim by riding the then-cresting instrumental fusion wave on the 1973 release Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (presented here in sequence and in its entirety).

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