Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chick Corea – Return to Forever

   In 1972 ECM Records published new album of Chick Corea – Return to Forever. Partners of the leader were vocalist Flora Purim, saxophonist Joe Ferrell, bassist Stanley Clarke and percussionist Airto Moreira. The new jazz band took its name from the title of the album and shortly became one of best recognized ensembles of fusion jazz. Releasing of this record was one of groundbreaking moments in history of jazz. The unpretentional cover is showing lonely bird flying over the sea surface. It was like an opening of the new space – everything in this album was fresh, open and promising. When ECM published Chick Corea’s album Return to Forever it was 22nd album in catalogue of this small and ambitious label. And Chick Corea has brought a sizeable contribution into production of early ECM label. In 1971 Manfred Eicher’s recording company published Corea’s solo Piano Improvisations vol. 1, album A.R.C. by trio Corea, Holland and Altschul and double LP Paris Concert of Circle. Next year ECM published two albums by Chick Corea: Piano Improvisations vol. 2 and Return to Forever.
   The breaking moment of Chick Corea’s career was in the beginning of the seventies. He was ready to start the whole new idea of fusion, connected to Mexican folk music and Latin trends in American rock. In the moment of creating the new band, called after the title of first album, Return to Forever, Corea was involved in new project where he was composing for Stan Getz. This moment was connected to the history of ECM as well. The rest is the great story of contemporary jazz, famous jazz-rock band and the company established and run by Manfred Eicher. In fact this early Return to Forever survived only first year and shortly was replaced by the new band with Corea and Clarke as only musicians common to both line-ups. Manfred Eicher’s ECM became most famous recording company in European jazz. The name of the company was abbreviation of Edition of Contemporary Music and simplicity was the hallmark. Jazz, world music and contemporary music were main directions. And in Corea’s recordings all directions, jazz, world music and the contemporary music were linked.

Chick Corea – Return to Forever (1972)

   The moment was special. Even if it looked like only two days of session enough to create the whole new idea of jazz fusion. Tendency was already visible, after Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, jazz was wide open for new crossover idea giving the possibility of joining jazz, rock and elements of various traditions. Chick Corea has prior experiences playing with Miles Davis recording above-mentioned albums as well as Water Babies (recorded in 1968 and released 1976), Filles de Kilimanjaro and some live gigs edited later and also known from records like Black Beauty – Life at the Fillmore West or Miles Davis at Fillmore – Life at the Fillmore East. In 1970 he started work with avant-garde group Circle with Anthony Braxton, Dave Holland and Barry Altschul recording for ECM Records.
   In February 2nd and 3rd in 1972, at A&R Studios in New York City had met Chick Corea, bass player Stanley Clarke and percussionist Airto Moreira. They had already plans of recording session for Stan Getz new album Captain Marvel, where Corea was composer. For his new band Corea invited Moreira’s wife Flora Purim and Joe Farrell, saxophonist who’s first two albums Corea was involved as composer and pianist. These five musicians created band of legendary sound. Although they recorded only two albums, in various lineups they were working in future Corea’s bands and many elements of this experience influenced next productions. A lot of space between notes, light vocal themes perfectly performed by phenomenal Flora Purim, rhythmic intensity of Latin motifs, all in this album works for its historic position. Chick Corea as the author of whole concept and all four compositions was undoubtedly the hero of this project. He decided to start the band and the band was one of most famous bands in history. And the record is full five of five stars tray, just must have for every self-respecting jazz listener.

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