Chick Corea and Return to Forever: 500 Miles High
500 Miles High
Chick Corea and Return to Forever
Light as a Feather (Polydor 827 148-2)
Composed by Chick Corea and Neville Potter.
Recorded: London, October 1972
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Before Return to Forever became an electric fusion powerhouse, they were a mostly acoustic outfit that presented a heavily Latin-flavored modern jazz. (Corea played electric piano). Light as a Feather was a wonderful outing, showcasing the musicianship of all five members, each of whom would play an important role in the development of jazz-rock. Even more so, it was clear evidence of Corea's compositional skills. Among other things, it was the album on which Chick's soon-to-become standard "Spain" first appeared.
"500 Miles High," though, is all about the voice of Flora Purim. After Corea opens with chorused runs and some tasteful chord play, the Brazilian Purim's breathless siren voice enters with transcendent loveliness. Her intonation, phrasing, and inflections are limpid. There has never been another jazz voice like hers. After her chorus, the band plays several minutes of fast-changes top-notch jazz. Corea blazes. Farrell is a monster saxophonist. Clarke impresses as expected. Purim and her husband Airto add percussion colors. But the whole time you are listening to this fantastic display, you can't wait to hear that voice again. When you do, it completes a magical performance.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky