Return to Forever featuring Chick Corea Where Have I Known You Before Polydor6509 Ever-evolving keyboard wizard Chick Corea was, like Herbie Hancock, Norman Connors, and others, seeking a wider audience when he recorded "Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy" last spring as the leader of Return to Forever. Besides the probability that, like most jazz musicians, his genius was going "financially unremunerated", Chick may have been particutarly motiva ted by his conversión to Scientology and the consequent desire to spread the gospel to the four corners of the globe (this is pretty pure speculation). Now, while Return to Forever (RTF) album covers admittedly aren't graced with excerpts from the "Wit and Wisdom of L. Ron Hubbard" in that same rnanner as McLaughlin treated us to tidbits of his guru's pap, still, on Where Have I Known You Before (WHIKYB) Dr. Dianetics is specially thanked "for being". And, in addition, we are confronted with a fairly cryptic, but basically innocuous, "poem" from someone named Neville Potter. It is from this poem that RTF takes many of the titles of the songs on WHIKYB. The music is therefore somewhat programmatic in design. It is also profoundly beautiful at times and pretty exciting throughout and.Tm hard-pressed to fïnd musical traces of the reportedly insidious mind-control methods known as Scientology. (A chilling report of the organization from the inside out was rendered by novelist William Burroughs in Rolling Stone about a year and half back.) WHIKYB is quite varied rhythmically and dynamically and still manages to flow its entire length. "Vuican Worlds", "Beyond the Severtth Galaxy", "Earth Juice" and "Song to The Pharoah Kings" are al! out of the Mahavishnu Orchestra's bursting bag but strongly reflect the emerging identity of RTF. Stan Clarke is, as usual, unmistakable and unstoppable. -His electric bass work is a sewing machine run amok upon the tapestry of your defenseless mind. Al DiMeola is intelligent and occasionally even thrilling in the McLaughlin way but he's not the match of his predecessor, BUI Connors (and whatever happened to him?). Lenny White limits himself to offhand Cobhamesque dazzlements and Chick is expanding the range of his eloquent expression with the use of synthesizers. On the title cut, "WHI Danced With YB" and "WHI Loved YB", we're treated to the solo acoustic piano we came to love on Chick's magnifïcent "Piano Improvisations" albums for ECM. It's noteworthy that the flow of energy and idea remains unbroken during transitions from electric sound to acoustic and back again. Indeed, the acoustic work serves to broaden the overall spectrum of sound and color and Herbie Hancock, for one, should take note. Despite the minor weakness of DiMeola's work, and the subtle encroachment of Corea's evangelism, WHIKYB is full of sweetness and mystery, in addition to raw power, and represents somethina ive and complete f rom RTF.