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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Crotchet Midprice


CTI 5127852



Airto - percussion/wood flutes
Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Nelson Ayres - piano/electric piano
Ron Carter - bass
Joe Farrell, Hubert Laws - alto/bass flute/flute/piccolo/soprano sax/tenor sax
Jay Berliner, George Benson - guitar
Airto, Flora Purim - vocals

plus ensemble

Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded Van Gelder Studios 1972

1. Return To Forever
2. Flora's Song
3. Free
4. Lucky Southern
5. Creek ( Arroio )
Bonus Tracks :
6. So Tender
7 Jequie
8. Creek

The music contained here is a mixture of Brazilian, jazz and funk and might be claimed as one of the earliest examples of true "fusion." Airto was, and is, a master of a wide variety of percussion instruments as well as being a first class kit drummer. His many and varied abilities are admirably showcased on this album which features a fascinating collection of different pieces and groupings of personnel. As the first track would suggest this album is in many ways a forerunner of Chick Corea's "Return To Forever", the main difference being, to my ears, that this disc has more freedom and less of a sense of regimentation.
There are many great solos here particularly from the woodwinds - Hubert Laws who is indisputably one of the finest jazz flute players ever, Joe Farrell, who is now sadly almost forgotten but contributes some classic soprano work and the young Michael Brecker on tenor. The other outstanding soloist is George Benson on guitar.

My only minor criticism of the release is that percussion passages are much more effective when one can actually see the various instruments being played. This is not intended in any way to negate the wonderful standard throughout, but rather an observation of what might have been added if this could have been released as a DVD.

The Brazilian style tracks succeed in evoking pictures of the rainforest complete with howling wildlife. Of the more straight ahead selections "Creek" is a real swinger and features Joe Farrell at the top of his form. I think that this is a disc I will return to on a regular basis and is certainly one of more interesting reissues this year.

Dick Stafford.

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