No Mystery (1975) is the fifth studio album by jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever.
All members of the group contributed compositions to this album. Side A contains heavily funk-influenced material composed by each member of the group, whereas Side B is filled by Chick Corea compositions. Chick Corea won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Individual or Group Grammy Award in 1975 for this album. (by wikipedia)
The fourth edition of Return to Forever was a band that emphasized the screaming wah-wah guitar of Al Di Meola and every electric keyboard Chick Corea could get his hands on to play furiously fast runs. Where the initial, airy Flora Purim/Airto/Joe Farrell edition gave way to the second undocumented group featuring Earl Klugh, and the third band with electric guitarist Bill Connors, this RTF was resplendently and unapologetically indulgent, ripping through riffs and charted, rehearsed melodies, and polyrhythms like a circular saw through a thin tree branch. Their immediacy and visceral power is why rock audiences were drawn to them, impressed by their speed-demon vagaries as much as their concern for musicality. Thank goodness No Mystery had more than its share of toned-down acoustic moments, as well as the powerhouse fighter jet stance that most of their fans craved. It’s not nearly as balanced as the previous album Where Have I Known You Before?, but expounds on those themes — inspired by Neville not Harry Potter — in a more progressive though louder manner.
The bold, dancing, and funky “Dayride” in a higher octave and vocal-type keyboard range perfectly identifies the group sound in a scant three-plus minutes. The two-part, 14-minute “Celebration Suite” gives you a larger view of the classical Bartok/Chopin influence of Corea, and the dramatic medieval or regal stance they alchemized with so many keyboard sounds. It’s pseudo-funky, Spanish in a 6/8 rhythm, wailing with Di Meola leaping forth in true guitar hero form, with some group-oriented perfunctory subtleties and complex lines. The title track is the jewel, an acoustic romp through fields of flowers with Lenny White on marimba buoyed by a beautiful, lilting, memorable melody and shifting loud and soft dynamics — a classic in the repertoire and a fan favorite. The tromping beat of “Jungle Waterfall” supersedes Stanley Clarke’s lithe lines, while noise keyboards dominate the silly “Sofistifunk.” Corea’s acoustic piano is featured on the chordal, grandiose solo “Excerpt from the First Movement of Heavy Metal,” and in duet with Clarke. the improvised “Interplay” shows a more spontaneous rather than rehearsed side of these brilliant musicians. Over time, No Mystery yields mixed results, where initially they were viscerally driven and ultimately impressive. The next phase of the group, as indicated by this recording, would take them into even more technologically dominated music. (by Michael G. Nastos)
Stanley Clarke (bass, organ, synthesizer, vocals)
Chick Corea (keyboards, vocals, syntesizer, snare drum, marimba)
Al Di Meola (guitar)
Lenny White (drums, percussion)
01. Dayride (Clarke) 3.25
02. Jungle Waterfall (Corea/Clarke) 3.03
03. Flight Of The Newborn (Di Meola) 7.24
04. Sofistifunk (White) 3.54
05. Excerpt From The First Movement Of Heavy Metal (Corea/Clarke/White/Di Meola) 2.45
06. No Mystery (Corea) 6.13
07. Interplay (Corea/Clarke) 2.17
08. Celebration Suite, Part I (Corea) 8.19
09. Celebration Suite, Part II (Corea) 4.37
L to R: Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola, Chick Corea – Return To Forever performing in 1974 at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York.