Light as a Feather was the second album by the band Return to Forever, the fusion group led by Chick Corea in the 70’s. Recorded in London and released in November of 1972 by Polydor Records, Light as a Feather, produced by Corea himself, introduced the fusion standards “Spain”, “Captain Marvel”, and “500 Miles High.”
Several aspects of the album are illuminated as particularly unique, and the album stands out to its audience as very independent. The album was largely centered on Latin music, and the specific combination of electronica, Latin, and jazz is representative of Chic Corea’s sound in the (earlier) 70’s. The balance of the intertwined genres is very careful and brilliant. Stanley Clarke plays an acoustic bass through the entire album, presenting a very different aesthetic to the mix. The textural and percussive aspects indicative of an upright bass allows for a much larger emotional horizon in the album and compliments the Latin grooves perfectly.
Chic Corea produced the album as well as playing on, and it was his strategy in approaching the instrumentation and build of a song that made it such a success. Corea wasn’t afraid to provide the bare minimum to the listener in times when he felt it was called for, but he also did not hesitate to establish a groove with full instrumentation and allow the music to wash over the audience. His slightly avant-garde, aware approach to how the form, style, and musicality would affect the audience is the reason the album is the classic that it is today. Stay tuned for next week’s album!