PC 34682 Musicmagic
Produced by Chick Corea, Co-produced by Stanley Clarke
Released on March 1977
Find it at GEMM
PC 34682 cover
[high resolution photo]

S o what exactly constitutes a Return To Forever album anyway? Musicmagic blurs the line between RTF and Chick’s solo recordings, since the same basic lineup (Farrell, Moran et al) was employed on Secret Agent and The Mad Hatter. Far from the stellar fusion of Romantic Warrior, Musicmagic is a song-oriented album. It’s some of the most commercial music that Corea has recorded (e.g., Clarke’s “So Long Mickey Mouse”), but not some of his best. Corea conjures the usual keyboard wizardry, Clarke takes a bow to his bass, and the rest of the band kicks something into the kitty, so there’s fire behind the RTF smokescreen, just not enough of it. Blame the high bar on earlier incarnations; of the RTF albums I own, this is the lamest and it’s still a pretty good record. Gayle Moran’s voice is expressive, warm and occasionally captivating. It’s on Musicmagic that she becomes, in the words of Beavis, “a full-fledged member,” playing keyboards and writing the graceful “Do You Ever.” The horn section also gives the band a different flavor, evoking memories of Frank Zappa’s The Grand Wazoo. Of Corea’s compositions, “The Endless Night” and “Musicmagic” have their mind candy moments where the mustachioed magician coaxes an armoire of sounds from his speaker cabinets. Stanley Clarke, who also sings on this album, adds the popular “So Long Mickey Mouse,” which is la-la-lovely in spots. Surprisingly, more than half of this album turned up on The Best of Return To Forever. If you bought that compilation, you was robbed. The selections on Musicmagic are simply too timid when RTF’s toils are taken in toto to testify in such a trial. If your tastes run (prance?) toward smooth jazz, then Musicmagic might be the safest entry into deep waters, but you can’t stand in the shallow end forever.

PC 24682 back cover PC 24682 lyric sleeve CBS Records promo insert
PC 24682 back cover PC 24682 lyric sleeve CBS Records promo insert


  1. THE MUSICIAN    (Chick Corea)    7:11
  2. HELLO AGAIN    (Stanley Clarke)    3:49
  3. MUSICMAGIC    (Chick Corea)    11:02
  4. SO LONG MICKEY MOUSE    (Stanley Clarke)    6:08
  5. DO YOU EVER    (Gayle Moran)    3:58
  6. THE ENDLESS NIGHT    (Chick Corea/Gayle Moran)    9:41


GERRY BROWN -- drums
STANLEY CLARKE -- electric bass, piccolo bass, acoustic bass, vocals
CHICK COREA -- acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, mini moog, clavinet, Moog 15, polymoog, ARP Odessey, vocals
JOE FARRELL -- tenor sax, soprano sax, flutes, piccolo
HAROLD GARRETT -- tenor and bass trombone and baritone horn
GAYLE MORAN -- Hammond B3 organ, polymoog, acoustic piano, vocals
JIM PUGH -- tenor trombone
JOHN THOMAS -- lead trumpet and flugel horn
JAMES TINSLEY -- trumpet and piccolo trumpet
Bernie Kirsh -- engineer
Catherine Loeb -- illustration
Keith Williamson -- photos
Nancy Donald -- design

return to RETURN TO FOREVER discography

US March 1977 Columbia LP PC 34682 lyric sleeve
UK 1977 CBS LP 81959  
AUS'L   CBS LP SBP 234981  
US   Sony CD 34682  


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