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)

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Chick Corea (electric piano), Flora Purim (vocals, percussion), Joe Farrell (sax, flute), Stanley Clarke (bass), Airto Moreira (drums, percussion).

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

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  • 1 Jean // May 18, 2008 at 04:55 AM
    Well said! Actually, many of the tunes on that album would deserve that kind of commentary. To conclude, while it will be great to hear again Return to Forever with Corea, Clark, Dimeola and White this summer, I am longing to hear and see a tour of the original group with at least Flora Purim as part of it. Let's pass the message to Chick!