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on 14 March 2009
This is nothing less than essential for all those who have enjoyed RTF's work since the 1970s, or who are interested in modern jazz or fusion generally. If there's just one thing you do-bop today, score yourself a copy of the superlatively jazztastic 'Returns'. This double live album was recorded on the 2008 reunion tour of this fusion supergroup: Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, Al di Meola and Chick Corea. If the 27 minutes long version of 'Song to the Pharoah Kings' won't put you in a jazz trance, nothing will! The rest of the album features excellent solo spots by the individual members, plus a selection of RTF's best tracks from the 70s, such as 'No Mystery' and 'Dual of the Jester and the Tyrant'. These are not mere retreads of the old studio recordings, but have been wonderfully reimagined for this tour. The version of 'Romantic Warrior' performed at the BBC Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony is particularly good. Live albums don't get much better than this: the sound quality of these recordings is fantastic, as is the musicianship. Can't recommend it highly enough.

NB the DVD live recordings from this tour were recorded at a different concert to those featured on this CD, so no doubling up if you get that too.
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on 14 August 2009
I first got into Return to Forever in the late 1970s through Light as a Feather, then I got Return to Forever. I really liked Airto Morera's and Flora Purim's contributions, which seemed to give the band its destinctive sound. I was, therefore a bit taken aback by Where Have I Known You Before which was much more hard edged following Airto and Flora's departure. I wasn't sure if I liked the new incarnation of the band but then I heard Romantic Warrior which blew me away. For me this is actually a completely different band from the original Return to Forever, however, I really like them both. I think the spirit of that firt incarnation would be much harder to recapture (Corea tried to on Musicmagic and although it didn't seem to work, in retrospect that was a much finer album that its low profile suggests) I was so pleased when I saw this album, I knew of the reunion of this band and was disappointed that I could not see them live. This album goes some way to compensating for that disappointment, as it represents Return to Forever on sparkling form. They are able to capture the essence of the music that they produced in the 70s whilst bringing added depth to their playing with the maturity of their experiences of the past 30 odd years. They touch all the bases that you would expect with a comprehensive trawl through their back catalogue. All we need now is a new RTF album of new material; long live Return to Forever!
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VINE VOICEon 10 May 2009
RTF seem to be playing closer than they did even in their pomp. All four musicians give their all on this album but the ensemble is the real star. Fantastic music; time flies by. I am going to lodge a whinge though. The BBC award track at the end adds nothing to the album, indeed it takes away. I deleted it from my download and no longer dread the arrival of five minutes of honeyed congratulations and humility. The album ends better without it. Incidentally, the title above isn't complete hyperbole. The Romantic Warrior album led me into the RTF catalogue, Chick's work in particular and the natural progression into Miles Davis, Gary Burton and, more recently, Hiromi.
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on 1 February 2010
Fantastic 2 CD set, complements the DVD as well rather than duplicating. A must for all RTF fans.
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