Romantic Warrior

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Romantic Warrior
RomanticWarrior.jpg
Studio album by Return to Forever
Released 1976
Recorded February 1976
Studio Caribou Ranch
(Nederland, Colorado, US)
Genre
Length 45:28
Label Columbia
Producer Chick Corea
Return to Forever chronology
No Mystery
(1975)No Mystery1975
Romantic Warrior
(1976)
Musicmagic
(1977)Musicmagic1977

Romantic Warrior is the sixth studio album by the American jazz fusion band Return to Forever, released in 1976 by Columbia Records. After releasing their previous album, No Mystery (1975), their fourth for Polydor Records, the group moved to Columbia and retreated to Caribou Ranch near Nederland, Colorado to record their next album. It was also their first to be credited solely to Return to Forever, removing the "featuring Chick Corea" moniker. The album is more avant-garde and less funky than No Mystery, and remains the band's highest selling album with over 500,000 copies sold in the US.

Production[edit]

Recording[edit]

The album was recorded in a ranch located near the town of Nederland, Colorado (pictured in 2005)

Romantic Warrior was recorded in February 1976 at Caribou Ranch, located near Nederland, Colorado.

Music[edit]

Chick Corea contributed the longest compositions and the other members each composed one piece. The opener, "Medieval Overture", with its distinctive melodic motifs, sets the mood for the rest of the album. Lenny White's "Sorceress" starts with a funky riff and is distinguished by Corea's synthesizers. The title track is fully acoustic. It has a long intro, which is followed by a short theme consisting of one riff. Each group member, excluding White, plays a long solo. In the end, an extended outro follows, during which fast unison patterns are heard. Al Di Meola's and Stanley Clarke's songs on side two are notable for their humorous qualities. Al Di Meola's song, "Majestic Dance", relies on rock riffs and distorted lead guitar sound, but features also fast harpsichord-like synth figures. Clarke's "The Magician" is a very complex composition, featuring playful melodies, and again, rapid unison lines. The last track of the album is Corea's "Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant", which is the longest song of the album. It has a more conventional melody as a main theme, but otherwise it follows the style of previous tracks. Notable is the intense keyboard solo showcasing Corea.

After this album Corea decided that the group's time had come to an end and he continued with another wholly new Return to Forever line-up with Clarke. Corea dedicated the album to the founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideD+[2]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide4/5 stars[3]

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, William Ruhlmann praised Romantic Warrior as "the sound of a mature band at the top of its game, which may help explain why it was Return to Forever's most popular album, eventually certified as a gold record, and the last by this assemblage."[1] Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic about the record. In Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), he called it "jazz-rock's answer to Emerson, Lake & Palmer--the worst of both worlds"; and Corea's compositions "pompous", faux classical; while deriding certain members of his group's playing as being on display "in all their dazzling vacuity".[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
1976 Billboard 200 35[4]
1976 Billboard Jazz Albums 3[4]
1976 Billboard R&B Albums 23[4]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Medieval Overture"Chick Corea5:14
2."Sorceress"Lenny White7:34
3."The Romantic Warrior"Corea10:52
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
4."Majestic Dance"Al Di Meola5:01
5."The Magician"Stanley Clarke5:29
6."Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant (parts I and II)"Corea11:26
Total length:45:28

Personnel[edit]

Return to Forever

Technical

  • Chick Corea – production
  • Al Di Meola – assistant production
  • Stanley Clarke – assistant production
  • Lenny White – assistant production
  • Dennis MacKay – recording engineer, remixing
  • Tom Likes – assistant engineer
  • Wilson McLean – cover art
  • Gerard Huerta – logo
  • Remixed at Trident Studios, London

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ruhlmann, W. (2011). "Romantic Warrior - Return to Forever | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. New Haven: Ticknor & Fields. p. 322. ISBN 0-89919-025-1. 
  3. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 50. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  4. ^ a b c "Romantic Warrior - Return to Forever | Awards | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 27 October 2013.