Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2008 digitally remastered two CD set featuring a pair of albums from Jazz pianist Chick Corea and his Fusion band Return To Forever featuring Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Al di Meola. Where Have I Known You Before sas originally released in 1974 followed one year later by No Mystery. BGO.
Record Collector (magazine) (p.104) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ell worth getting acquainted with....[An] intricate blend of electric jazz, sci-fi funk and baroque prog-rock..."
Chick Corea/Return to Forever: Stanley Clarke (vocals, organ, synthesizer, acoustic bass, upright bass, electric bass, bass guitar, percussion, chimes); Al Di Meola (guitar, acoustic guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, electric guitar, 12-string guitar); Chick Corea (piano, electric piano, Clavinet, organ, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion); Lenny White (marimba, drums, congas, bongos, percussion).
Audio Remasterer: Andrew Thompson .
Liner Note Author: Alyn Shipton.
Recording information: Record Plant, NY (07/1974-01/1975).
Author: Neville Potter.
Photographer: Peter Kaplan.
England's Beat Goes On Label does two-fers better than almost anyone else. They remaster the music, pop the CDs into durable, slim-line jewel cases, and offer authoritative liner notes as well as a tidy, if not overly attractive, paper slipcase. This double-disc includes the two middle period Return to Forever releases, Where Have I Known You Before, originally issued in 1974, and No Mystery, released in 1975, which was also the band's final album for Polydor -- they moved to Columbia for 1976's classic Romantic Warrior. The first of these two discs introduced the band's legendary -- though not original -- lineup: with Chick Corea on keyboards, bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Lenny White, and new guitarist Al DiMeola, who replaced Bill Connors. The now corny sci-fi imagery was perfect for the mid-'70s, and the stellar blend of knotty compositions and intense solo improvisation made for one of RTF's most compelling albums. No Mystery, featuring the same personnel, generally got shorter shrift, but hindsight being 20/20, that's unwarranted. Time has proven it to be a very consistent -- though admittedly less groundbreaking -- offering; it's worthy of real reconsideration in the 21st century. These records were, along with Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy and Romantic Warrior, Billy Cobham's Spectrum, Tony Williams' Lifetime, the Mahavishnu Orchestra's Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire, the epitome of jazz-rock fusion; Miles Davis' music of the era was always something more mysterious, more speculative, and far funkier than this muscular -- and masculine -- blurred out blend of instrumental pyrotechnics. The BGO versions of these albums sound a whole level or two better than the domestic budget reissues. ~ Thom Jurek