Return to Forever featuring Chick Corea: No Mystery


No Mystery


Return to Forever featuring Chick Corea


No Mystery (Polydor 827-149-2)

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

Composed by Chick Corea


Recorded: New York, January 1975


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

The better fusion bands would always take a few moments or so on their records or in concert to show off their pure virtuosity. Electronics can cover a lot of bad notes. But in delicate or intricate acoustic music, a flubbed note could stick out like a liberal on Fox News. These bands would risk playing a beautiful melody in order to demonstrate that they knew as much as their jazz forefathers about musical tradition – maybe even more. It was reverse machismo. When loud fusion bands unplugged to lower the volume, that's when they were showing off most! When bad bands tried this, it was a cosmic joke. When great bands did it, the result could be transcendent.

Chick Corea's Return to Forever could be such a unit. "No Mystery" is a beautifully realized composition. Interwoven with the delicate fluttering of Corea's keys and Di Meola's strings, the tune is performed in several movements. It is filled with highly elaborate flights of joy and more somber tones as Clarke bows his upright. Percussionist Lenny White provides rhythmic texture while never pounding away on a single drumhead. Sure, lots of this music was written out and improvisation was at a minimum. "No Mystery" is even more classical than it is jazz. But performances like these set Return to Forever and other such bands apart. They expected their audiences to appreciate good music in all of its forms. If they had to teach their new rock fans this fact, that is what they were going to do. A little showing-off during the lesson never hurt anybody.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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Related Links

In Conversation with Chick Corea by Patrick Spurling
The Dozens: Twelve Historic Return to Forever Tracks by Walter Kolosky
Does Return to Forever Tour Signal a Return to Fusion? by Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 Daryll Dobson // Feb 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM
    SOLARGUITARS – RECLAIMING THE LOST TERRITORY OF JAZZ ROCK FUSION The lost territory of Jazz Rock Fusion is apparently a territory that nobody wanted. Most Jazz musicians I know run from the association…but why? BECAUSE THERE IS NO STANDARD! When John Mclaughlin and Return to Forever disbanded, they also took down the artform with them. Being part of the Miles Legion, Mclaughlin and Corea had the historical connect. They were an heir to the living history of jazz which had been handed down - more on the bandstand, than at the university. And because of that historical connection to Miles it made it hard to argue that this new Jazz Rock Fusion Music shouldn’t be taken seriously. Problem…they killed the tree just when it was starting to grow. When Mahavishnu and Return To Forever disbanded left a vacuum. There was no historical standard to anchor the artform so it disintegrated into an anything goes attitude. And that is why SOLARGUITARS now seeks to reclaim this LOST TERRITORY OF JAZZ ROCK FUSION. The new portal is starting to reassemble that history with the musicians that made it happen. Just look at some of the new members of this new network – Tony “Thunder” Smith (Jan Hammer, Jeff Beck, John Mclaughlin) Kenwood Dennard – (Brand X, Pat Martino) Fernando Saunders - (Jan Hammer, Jeff Beck, John Mclaughlin) Delmar Brown – (Pat Martino, Sting) Mikhal Caldwell - (Jeff Berlin, Cindy Blackman, David Sancious) With new artists signing up to join the network daily and with dominating google under Jazz Rock Fusion – web, videos, blogs and news…no wonder Founder and Jazz Rock Fusion Guitarist Daryll Dobson is smiling! The new RTF tour was announced today and I must say it was a bittersweet pill…I LOVE THESE GUYS…but I wonder if this is just another thing they’ll do this year…another way to merchandise a KNOWN BRAND NAME?...or will these guys finally make a real commitment to finish what they started…25 YEARS AGO?…..DD