Friday, June 29, 2012

Chick Corea & Return To Forever – Light as a Feather

   The Return To Forever was Chick Corea’s main project in seventies. Music he made with this band claimed an international recognition, and as style of the group was crossover, the new public was much wider than prior jazz-only auditorium. In span of few years Return To Forever became one of most successful brands in jazz and in a way in new world music. This was the era of new ideas breaking frontiers of styles and genres. Return To Forever along with Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra were synonymous of the fusion jazz and jazz-rock, opening jazz for listeners of progressive rock, psychedelic rock and even some kinds of artistic pop music.
   Second album by Chick Corea and Return To Forever has been recorded in October and released one month later in November 1972. This time the cover indicated distinctly the name of the band and album title – Light as a Feather. Title of this album was taken from song composed by Stanley Clarke to Flora Purim’s lyrics. All other songs were composed by Chick Corea, two of them with lyrics by Neville Potter. While the first record was released in Europe by the ECM and it was not available at this time in the U.S. Thus Light as a Feather published by Polydor was still entirely new vision of fusion music. For many listeners it was actually the American debut of the band. And as it turned out, it was also the last album Return To Forever recorded with this lineup.

Chick Corea & Return To Forever – Light as a Feather (1972)

   Return To Forever was the band changing constantly. The first lineup of Return To Forever was active for the short period of time only. And according to many it was most succesfull as it had greatest artistic achievements. In fact it was the group of great personalities. Bright star was Flora Purim, born in Rio de Janeiro, singing with perfectly clear voice and instrumental precision. Starting international career with Return To Forever she became quickly number one singer of the seventies. And Light as a Feather was her great gig. In many fragments she sings without words in unison with Chick Corea’s electric piano phrases or with flute themes played by Joe Farrell. 
   The flute played by Joe Farrell was perfect match for electric piano so on first Return To Forever Farrell was switching only to soprano saxophone. Here he played with tenor saxophone and his sound is as warm as light. Stanley Clarke who played double bass with virtuosity and inspiration gave Corea counterbalance – both are great and their lines are completing and spinning together like a twin star – Corea’s distance and serenity met with more profound attitude of Clarke. 
   This group of stars was completed by Airto Moreira – probably the best drummer and percussionist of the fusion era since Miles Davis Bitches Brew, through Weather Report to Return To Forever, his contribution was clear. The trio Corea-Clarke-Moreira was basic personnel in Stan Getz Captain Marvel album, the project of great importance for  Return To Forever musicians. As Flora Purim and Airto Moreira were from Brasilia, this lineup of Return To Forever was sometimes called “Latin”. Maybe on second album it was still hart to notice, but main creative characters were Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. And this two artists were axis of all turns, as well on first edition of the group as in future.

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