Return to Forever: Vulcan Worlds
Return to Forever
Where Have I Known You Before (Polygram Records)
Composed by Stanley Clarke.
Recorded: New York, July-August 1974
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Where Have I Known You Before marked the most significant change in Corea's Return to Forever group. It was on this album that a 19-year-old guitarist named Al Di Meola first appeared as a member of the band, replacing Bill Connors. This personnel change would create the band's most effective and ultimately most famous lineup.
The whole group burns on Clarke's "Vulcan Worlds." Corea began heavy-duty use of the new synthesizer technology beginning with this album. His style on the new toys, which he would further develop, is instantly unique. Di Meola's solo turn is a revelation. John McLaughlin had a new challenger for fusion guitar god! It's scary. As impressive as Di Meola's playing is on the cut, it still comes across as a bit tentative compared to the speed and relentless precision he would obtain on future records. Double scary. Clarke is even more impressive than Di Meola in the turn that follows. And speaking of double – Lenny White is in double-time most of the time. The tune ends with a rave-up fusion hymn. Good-bye old Return to Forever. Hello music history.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky