CK 46109 Romantic Warrior
Produced by Chick Corea
Released on March 1976
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
CK 46109 cover  

L et me share with you my secret paramour in the field of fusion: Romantic Warrior. Loosely based on a medieval theme, this is the final installment in a very fruitful collaboration between Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and Lenny White. Each of the four contributes at least one track to the proceedings, with the ever-fertile imagination of Corea assuming the lion’s share at three compositions. Opening up the songwriting leads to the kind of variegated musical vision most often encountered with Weather Report, only better. Heresy, you say? Not having heard this record, you might think that. But listening to Romantic Warrior will lead to a change of heart. As much as fusion bleeds into the progressive landscape, it rarely takes root. This time is different, as RTF blends the two on tracks like “Medieval Overture” (casting the silhouette of no less a titan than Gentle Giant) and “Majestic Dance” (Frank Zappa this time). As happens with most composers, Chick tends to fall into idiosyncratic tendencies. The two-part “Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant,” for example, could just as easily have turned up on My Spanish Heart (where “El Bozo” can claim some kinship with the Jester). But there it would have lacked the grace, the sinew, the inventiveness that the rest of RTF brings to the table. The band doesn’t simply explore progressive rock sounds, they embrace them. That opens the discussion to include wider implications than composition: instead of cramming as many little black notes onto the paper as they can, RTF seems to understand that melody isn’t the enemy. The music that follows is complex but accessible, Protean while serving an aggregate good, sliding between fusion and prog as though it belonged to both worlds. And so you can have a sultry “Sorceress” painted from Lenny White’s perspective, “The Romantic Warrior” ambling on stilts of semi-classical structure, and “The Magician” steeped in mystery as exhibits in the same supernatural gallery. Prog rock fans who fancy themselves amenable to fusion (e.g., anyone with albums by Soft Machine, Bruford, and Brand X in their collection) would do well to take up the standard of Romantic Warrior. The 1990 digital remaster from Columbia/Legacy sounds excellent and features illuminating liner notes from John Swenson.

PC 34076 front cover PC 34076 back cover
PC 34076 front cover PC 34076 back cover


  1. MEDIEVAL OVERTURE    (Chick Corea)    5:15
  2. SORCERESS    (Lenny White)    7:33
  3. THE ROMANTIC WARRIOR    (Chick Corea)    10:48
  4. MAJESTIC DANCE    (Al DiMeola)    5:01
  5. THE MAGICIAN    (Stanley Clarke)    5:26
  6. DUEL OF THE JESTER AND THE TYRANT (PART I & PART II)    (Chick Corea)    11:25


STANLEY CLARKE -- Alembic bass with instant flanger, piccolo bass, acoustic bass, bell tree, hand bells, assistant producer
CHICK COREA -- acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, Honer (sic) clavinet, mini moog, Moog 15, micro mini moog, ARP Odyssey, Yamaha organ, polymoog, marimba, percussion
AL DIMEOLA -- electric guitars, acoustic guitar, soprano guitar, hand bells, slide whistle, assistant producer
LENNY WHITE -- drums, timpani, congas, timbales, hand bells, snare drum, suspended cymbals, alarm clock, assistant producer
Dennis MacKay -- recording engineer, remix engineer
Wilson McLean -- cover art
Gerard Huerta -- logo

return to RETURN TO FOREVER discography

US March 1976 Columbia LP PC 34076  
UK 1976 CBS LP S81221  
CAN 1976 Columbia LP KC 34076  
JPN 1976 Sony LP 25AP-55  
US 1990 Columbia/Legacy CD CK 46109 digital remaster, inner sleeve
UK 1990 Sony CD SRCS-9348 digital remaster
US 1999 Sony CD CK 65524 digital remaster
JPN 2000 Sony CD SRCS-9637 digital remaster


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