on 26 July 2012
Had the good fortune to see this concert live at the Sony Centre in Toronto last year and the experience was something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Brilliant musicianship and the smile never left my face through it all.
All of this is there to experience on this live CD, a solid wall of sound and when the stereo is cranked up just shut your eyes and you're almost in the theatre.
If you want to hear RTF at their best this is the album for you, buy it now, you won't regret it.
on 12 August 2012
The mothership returns is a fantastic value for money excursion into the planet that RTF inhabit,the long tracks develope into mini symphonies of sound that few can replicate.
CD ONE (54.00)
"Medieval overtures" a fine starter to this journey,it reminds me a lot of the Mahavishnu orchestra,some intricate time changes give this an impressive,jazz rock feel,a good starter.
"Senor mouse"an old track revisited and at 12minutes long,reinvigorated,this is pure fusion jazz.
"sThe shadow of lo/Sorceress"what follows next is 16 minutes of top quality music ,it is great to hear Jean Luc Ponty on fine form,Stan the man is on good form as well.
"Renaissance"at 19minutes long,this is the kind of music that just gets better and better,makes young hopefulls want to give up!!
"After the cosmic rain"another tour de force performance.
"The romantic warrior"possibly Return to forevers most famous tune,played superbly
"Concierto de Aranjuez/Spain"a piano arrangement of this popular tune ,made famous by Miles Davis on the "Sketches of Spain "album,try and listen to Jan Akkermans beautiful interpretation as well.
"School days"Filthy,fuel filled,fun,funk.
"Beyond the seventh galaxy"brings the proceedings to an end.
"Return to forever.....inside the music"
"After the cosmic rain"
"The romantic warrior"
"The story of return to forever"
For thae production,musicianship and enjoyment i cannot praise this magnificent album enough,5 stars without a doubt.
RECORDED LIVE IN MONTREUX,SWITZERLAND
RELEASED IN 2012
JEAN LUC PONTY.....VIOLINS
VALUE FOR MONEY*****
BEST TRACK(s)......SCHOOL DAS/SHADOW OF LO/SORCERESS/THE ROMANTIC WARRIOR.
CD ONE..... 54.00
PACKAGING ......FOUR FOLD DIGI PAK WITH THREE INDIVIDUAL PLASTIC TRAYS AND EXTENSIVE BOOKLET *****
on 30 November 2012
I bought Return to Forever's Romantic Warrior LP back in 1976 and it was a revelation. Those were the days when you could ferret around in the local record store and you never knew what you were going to dig up.
When the needle hit the vinyl surprise, surprise no vocals. This was egg and milk to me. At that time I was known as the concept kid and concept albums were all the rage in the 70s. The nickname was due to the fact that I have a penchant for concept albums. Artists that made albums that painted a picture and told a story.
Another one of my aims was to find the ultimate album; that is one that really raised the hairs on the back of my neck and got me out there.
Of course early Genesis, Mike Oldfield, Yes and a clutch of classical music albums were already doing it for me.
So when it came to Romantic Warrior I was blown away, coincidentally the name of the album, the band and artwork sold it to me, I'd never heard a note.
And so to the Mothership. It's safe to say that Return to Forever and Chick Corea's Elektric band have never been far away from my turntable, tape deck and now iPod over the decades.
When I first played the Mothership I must admit I was slightly disappointed, what no Al Di Meola? I've played the whole album through five or six times now at least and I've come to appreciate that this is a different animal. The Mediaeval Overture and the Sorceress both remind me of warm summer days, perhaps France or perhaps in a different time and reality altogether. With the addition of Jean Luc Ponty's violin this just reinforces the feeling. Señor mouse, what a delightful track, whimsical in places, the individual solos blend effortlessly and seamlessly from one section to another. Every track is a masterpiece, a testament to the fine musicianship of these players and of course Chick Corea in particularly. We even get treated to Stanley Clarke's Schooldays. And then there is the track Romantic Warrior itself, listening to this is like coming back to a long lost friend changed with time, still as relevant as ever, still with immense impact but more subtle, delicate and somehow warmer.
Absolutely fantastic, this still really gets me out there with no more than the addition of perhaps an incense stick or a cup of Earl Grey! The hairs are raised on the back of my neck as ever.
I never did find that perfect concept album and like Rudy and Spider Dijon from the Mighty Boosh searching for the new sound, I could have been destined to look forever. I have now come to realise that Return to Forever and perhaps Stomu Yamasta's Go album are as close as I'm ever going to get but thats no bad thing.
And what of the lyrics? Radio DJs and many music fans just don't get it if they haven't got some lyrics to sing along with. I'm not adverse to the lyrics in a song as long as they have something constructive or interesting to say. In this case it really is like Seth MacFarlane says "music is better than words."
If you like fine musicianship with well crafted tunes expertly executed and something to take your mind on an adventure then look no further you have found the holy Grail, the mother load and of course the Mothership.
If that isn't a pretentious enough review for you I don't know what is but I stand by all I've said.
on 8 October 2012
This is a fine live recording of a magnificent band. Most material will be familiar (or over familiar - some new tunes would be good) to existing RTF fans although they are varied from the originals, and with 'Renaissance' a Jean-Luc Ponty tune (from The Rite of Strings CD - Ponty/Clarke/Di Meola) for good measure. For others this forms a good starting point to explore RTF.
The sound is splendid and the band has a warmer, fuller sound than the on the 70s LP recordings (and the recently issued anthology of original 70s material was way over-compressed). Jean-Luc Ponty's violin is an especially welcome addition - on first appearance this could be taken for a synth but it is soon a formidable force and becomes more compelling with every listen, a reminder of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in fact, and one of my reasons to buy this set. Frank Gambale on guitars here is a refreshing change too.
While there are solos here they within the music, not the grandstanding indulgence tendencies (Clarke) on the live 2008 RTF reunion dvd (good as that is, with the Al Di Meola line up as per many RTF LPs). Solos make far more sense as part of a performance - on this set you can hear them again without wincing.
The digipack is neat, folding to the old style double CD size. The dvd here also has two performances (in 5.1 surround) and you could only wish for more, though again Clarke tends to over solo in my view. Yes he's brilliant but context is all.
I presume this is a document of the 2011 tour but the lengthy booklet fails to give any recording details like where? when? one show or a selection job? and in fact does little else either, being more of an illustrated thank you list. No excuse for that.