Chick Corea gave a lot to the music world as a Jazz keyboard player but more so as the founder of one of the most prominent jazz-rock fusion acts of the late 1900s – Return to Forever. Return to Forever – like the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report was formed by a former member of the 60s bands by Miles Davis to explore the jazz-rock genre. In the beginning, the band leaned more toward Latin-infused jazz but Corea moved their style toward rock. Let’s review the best 10 Return to Forever Songs ever.
10 So Long Mickey Mouse
So Long Mickey Mouse was released as part of the Return to Forever Album. It is an amazing jam with beautiful lyrics featuring Lenny White on drums, percussion, and snare drums, Joe Farrell on tenor saxophone flute and piccolo, and John Thomas on trumpet.
Released by Columbia Records in 1976, Sorceress is part of the Romantic Warrior album. The jam starts off with some heavy funk before letting in some competitive solo exchanges. DiMeola delivers a spectacular guitar performance, which supersedes Corea’s work on the electric piano. A few seconds later, Corea steals the limelight with some surreal synth work and acoustic piano that is nothing short of heavenly. Sorceress was composed by Lenny White and is a masterpiece.
8. Medieval Overture
Medieval Overture opens on very strong brimstone-like vibes, moves into a funky territory, then lends itself to a free form solo. Lenny White kills it on the drums and snare drum percussion as Corea dominates the marimba and organ while DiMeola breaks out his signature acoustic guitar. Overall, Medieval Overture is a rapid-fire that will leave you feeling rejuvenated after a long, tiring day.
7. The Magician
Return to Forever members get to flaunt their virtuoso skills in The Magician. Every member displays their unique gifts by playing their instrument of choice in this multi-part structure jam. Generally, the music is soft and funky and the instruments are top-notch.
6. Hymn of The 7th Galaxy
Hymn of the 7th Galaxy is a long, drawn-out song that lasts forever but leaves you feeling like it was cut short. The band gets to show off their mad instrument skills as the song includes a wide range of instruments, including bass textures – fretless bass, acoustic bass, piccolo bass –, piano, organ, synths, and keyboards, among others. Of all these, however, you are bound to fall in love with the acoustic and electric guitar performances from DiMeola.
5. No Mystery
Return to Forever fans were drawn in by their power and explosive immediacy that was evident in most of their tracks. While Now Mystery is a little toned down, it still permeates that strength that only RTF can deliver. The song is rife with acoustic sounds that mingle perfectly with the explosive beats. The theme is also more mature and easy to relate to – an all-rounder.
4. Majestic Dance
Majestic Dance features a heavenly rock guitar base that lends itself to a memorable melody. This song, like many others, highlights the DiMeola genius that RTF fans love. DiMeola delivers his usual power riffing and the band chimes in with Moog/marimba interludes, creating very elusive textures. The guitar leads can be a little shrill in the beginning but the fanfare and stylish delivery more than makes up for it.
3. Vulcan Worlds
Vulcan Worlds is the lead single in the Where Have I Known You Before album. It does not mark a significant departure from the sound of the previous album, with was highly rock-leaning. In this particular piece, Corea opens with several subtle piano notes and a rhythmic framework is immediately laid out behind him by Lenny White on drums and Stanley Clarke on bass. The result is a near cosmic sound that sends your spirit soaring and your mind wondering blissfully. In fact, the soundscapes and guitar rhythms are almost psychedelic.
2. Duel of The Jester and The Tyrant
Duel of The Jester And The Tyrant has an opening that bears some similarities to Tony Bank’s lines and keyboard sounds. However, any similarities between these two works are dispensed with after the initial 30 seconds as Return to Forever infuses the music with their trademark jazz sound. You should enjoy the Moody synth, electric piano, string, and of course, marvelous bass performance by Clarke. DiMeola is not the belle of the ball in Duel of The Jester And The Tyrant but his input is hard to miss. One of the most exciting aspects of this jam, nonetheless, is the guitar solo head-to-head. The two RTF members deliver some heavy solos, shred guitar, and slapping bass renditions that create a stimulating experience. This assumed duel is punctuated by humorous lines before the solos resume. One commenter called the performance a ‘landmark of technical fusion jazz.’
1. Romantic Warrior
Romantic Warrior is by far the best song ever released by Return to Forever. The initial running of the track consists of a lush acoustic guitar and is followed by lyrical, delightful piano playing from Corea. Overall, this is a mellow jam that that is both groovy and melodic and will have you swaying in no time. It benefits greatly from Clarke on the bass solo and beautiful accompaniment from DiMeola and Clarke. DiMeola adds the icing on the cake with his out-of-this-world acoustic. Romantic Warrior packs a forceful but playful punch. Everything about it from DiMeola’s leads, phrasings, and voicings and Corea’s keys to White’s drumming and Clarke’s bass performance is pitch perfect. No note is out of place, too loud, or too soft. You can think of this jam as fine art – and it is.