Romantic Warrior (Columbia / Legacy)

RETURN TO FOREVER: Romantic Warrior (Columbia / Legacy)Romantic Warrior was the first RTF album recorded for Columbia, and to many (myself included) was the introduction of a radical 'new' sound--fusion. In 1976, if you weren't listening to top 40, progressive rock was the musical flavor of the day. Rock fans weren't supposed to listen to jazz. Jazz was something that you listened to when you're old (at least that's what we thought back then). This album appealed to the prog crowd, exposing them to a different aspect of what they'd been listening to for the past few years. Progressive rock always had its jazzier tendencies from time to time, but these four guys were 'real' jazz musicians.

Well, the foursome--Chick Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on basses, Lenny White on drums, and a 21-year-old guitar virtuoso named Al DiMeola--took the world by storm. Romantic Warrior eventually made its way up to number 35 on the Billboard chart, which was unprecedented for a jazz album then or now. The bad thing about this album was the sound quality. To the people who cared about that sort of thing back then, this was one of the worst sounding albums around. Let's jump forward a few years now to 2000…

Legacy has just remastered this classic album, and the results are nothing short of spectacular. Listen to tracks like "Sorceress" or "Majestic Dance" and you'll hear what I mean immediately. The dynamic range on this reissue is breathtaking, especially when you compare it to the original vinyl. Simply amazing. The packaging has been expanded a bit as well, with new (albeit short) liner notes by Corea. If you're like me & you've had this album for years, you owe it to yourself to pick up this reissue so you can hear it the way it was meant to be heard. If you haven't heard it already, pick up a copy right now so you can find out what you've been missing.

© 2000 Steve Marshall

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