Return to Forever: Celebration Suite (Parts I & II)

Track

Celebration Suite (Parts I & II)

Group

Return to Forever

CD

No Mystery (Polydor 827 149-2)

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Musicians:

Chick Corea (keyboards, percussion), Al Di Meola (guitar), Stanley Clarke (bass), Lenny White (drums, percussion).

Composed by Chick Corea

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Recorded: New York, January 1975

Albumcoverreturntoforeverfeaturingchickcorea-nomystery

Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Most Return to Forever fans see Romantic Warrior as the band's most enjoyable album. (Please, I said most, not all.) But for this contrarian it is No Mystery. As it turns out No Mystery was the first time I heard the band. I later went back and discovered the rest of their music. Romantic Warrior would come a year later. I don't think it is so unusual to be most bowled over by music's first impression. The moment of discovery is a hard memory to knock off the shelf. So today, 30 years later, when I decide I want to hear some Return to Forever, this is the CD I play.

"Celebration Suite" is an electric Spanish amusement-park ride full of intricate hairpin twists and turns. "Part I" is the fun aboveground part of the ride. It is full of blowing hair, blurred colors and laughter. "Part II" goes underground. It is a scary adventure full of drama. Each dark and violent corner takes your breath away. I'll never forget how tight this band was. You get the feeling if one of the musicians played the wrong note at 100 miles an hour, they all would play the wrong note at 100 miles an hour. That is tight! But of course they never played a wrong note! This was music played on a tightrope while juggling. Corea's Latin-sounding and skittering organ, Di Meola's soaring guitar flights, Stanley Clarke's bass volleys and Lenny White's power drumming all made an impression that stays until this day.

Reviewer's Note: On No Mystery, "Celebration Suite (Parts I and II)" were treated as separate tracks though sound continued between them. On other compilations such as Return to Forever: The Anthology the song appears as a seamless cut. I have chosen to review it as one long piece because I believe that was the group's original intent. If I am wrong you can sue me.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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