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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Musicmagic' [Hybrid SACD - DSD]
Artist - Return To Forever

For those not in the know, Return to Forever is a jazz fusion group founded and led by pianist Chick Corea. Through its existence, the band has had many members, with the only consistent bandmate of Corea's being bassist Stanley Clarke. Along with Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever is often cited as one of the core groups of the jazz-fusion movement of the 1970s.

Indeed, several musicians, including Clarke, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira and Al Di Meola, first came to prominence through their performances on Return to Forever's albums.

Musicmagic was the seventh and final studio album of this fusion band. The album contains the final line-up of the band, with only founders Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke returning from the previous album. This is the first album since Light as a Feather (1972) to contain vocals, featuring Stanley Clarke and Corea's wife Gayle Moran.

The album also marks the return of original member Joe Farrell on saxophone and flute, along with several new members making up a five-piece horn section.

Now released on a stunning Hybrid SACD, Limited, Numbered Edition CD from Audio Fidelity, Magicmusic was a super group chock full of peerless musicians. Flora Purim's voice, Airto's percussion, Joe Farrell's flutes and sax, and Stan Clarke's bass all combined with Chick Corea's electric piano to create real musical magic here.

For me, Musicmagic was one of the best albums released during the fusion era for the jazz genre. Clearly, researched and well executed, Chick did a great job pulling together a new group of people for the Return to Forever followers, and put out a great body of work. The music of this new Return to Forever band overwhelms you with a great sense of accomplishment with their first showing. This is a remarkable album, even though you miss the expertise and speed of their regular drummer, Lenny White. Gail Moran lends a particular greatness to the musical tracks with a great sense of vocal prowess and timing.

The strength of the music contained herein does not rely necessarily upon the strength of the individual sections, but upon the overall arrangement of each piece. Themes develop, change, are restated, and crescendo to their dynamic conclusion in a surprisingly cohesive manner. I say surprisingly because the Chick avoids predictability, taking the listener to beautifully strange destinations steeped in tasteful revelations, making sense of it all OK, sure, yes this 6-track CD does still sound a bit dated now, in a dated rather than retro way, and the vocals get much more space than on any other RTF album, but there is enough instrumental excellence here to satisfy most Chick Corea fans. Importantly, this newly-created, original 2-Channel Stereo Mix sound quality is like we've all been waiting for a fine wine to mature!

Super Audio CD (SACD) is a read-only optical disc for audio storage, introduced in 1999. It was developed jointly by Sony and Philips Electronics, and intended to be the successor to their Compact disc format. Indeed, this SACD format can offer more channels (ie: surround sound), and a longer playing time than regular CDs.

'Musicmagic' SACD Purchase Link