Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Return to Forever Returns

Jazz in the 70's. It's almost as decisive as Van Halen fans debating David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. If you're a fan of the genre, either the 70's was a decade of mind expanding experimentation or the apocalypse. There's really not much middle ground. Have no idea what I'm talking about? Super! Listen below without prejudice then.

One of the biggest names in Jazz and the development of Jazz fusion in the 70's was the super-group Return To Forever (the other I'd posit is Herbie Hancock). Although it went through many line-up changes, it always revolved around keyboardist Chick Corea and his expansion of the work Miles Davis did in the late 60's (Corea played with Davis for a little while, and coincidentally he replaced Hancock in Davis' band before setting off on his own). Jazz fusion was created to push the boundaries of what Jazz musicians were doing, and in the hands of Return To Forever, it became electrified into almost a pseudo jazz-rock hybrid resplendent with guitars solos and cinematic panoramas.

The band disbanded in 1977, but just this year they've reunited for a world tour, with band members Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Al Di Meola and drummer Lenny White joining together. As a companion to the tour, Concord Records has put together the double disc release The Anthology, which features remixed and remastered songs from four of the group's biggest albums: Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, Where Have I Known You Before, No Mystery, and Romantic Warrior.

If you haven't experienced the band's music before, it really is unlike any preconceived notions you probably have of what jazz music is. In some ways it's got a jam band feel to it closer akin to Phish than Louis Armstrong, in others it's an initial foray into electronic music. It's got the big wailing guitar solos of funk and classic rock but it also has a free-floating space-age feel to it. In many cases, all this is going on within one song. Regardless of what it sounds like, it always feels rich and complex. It's experimental in many ways, some of which work and still feel fresh, and others that feel dated. Jazz fusion was all about pushing the instrumental envelope and Corea and company did it better than most.

Return to Forever - The Shadow Of Lo : The Anthology (Disc 1)

Return to Forever - Dayride : The Anthology (Disc 2)

Visit their website, their label Concord Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Herbie Hancock - Watermelon Man : Head Hunters

Upcoming Tour Dates

Jun 24 2008 The Plain Dealer Pavilion Cleveland, Ohio
Jun 25 2008 Sony Centre Toronto, Ontario
Jun 26 2008 Ottawa Jazz Festival/Confederation Park Ottawa, Ontario
Jun 27 2008 Place des Arts - Pelletier Hall Montreal, Quebec
Jun 28 2008 Saratoga PAC - Freihofer’s Jazz Festival Saratoga Springs, New York
Jul 2 2008 Utenos Arena Vilnius
Jul 4 2008 Congress Hall Warsaw, Masovia
Jul 5 2008 Budapest Arena Budapest
Jul 6 2008 Belgrade Arena Belgrade
Jul 9 2008 Vienne Jazz Festival Vienne, Rhône-Alpes
Jul 10 2008 Conde Duque (Veranos de la Villa Festival) Madrid, Madrid
Jul 11 2008 Cap Roig Festival Girona, Girona/Gerona
Jul 12 2008 Lorca Festival Lorca, Murcia
Jul 13 2008 TBD Valencia Valencia, Valencia
Jul 16 2008 Neu Hardenburg Festival Neuhardenberg, Brandenburg
Jul 17 2008 Pori Jazz Festival Pori, Satakunta
Jul 18 2008 Montreux Jazz Festival Montreux
Jul 19 2008 Grugahalle Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen
Jul 20 2008 Museumsmeile Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen
Jul 21 2008 Indigo2 London, London and South East
Jul 23 2008 Nice Jazz Festival Nice, PACA
Jul 25 2008 San Sebastian Festival San Sebastian, Guipúzcoa
Jul 30 2008 The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theatre Miami, Florida
Jul 31 2008 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, Florida
Aug 1 2008 House of Blues Orlando Orlando, Florida
Aug 2 2008 Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Atlanta, Georgia
Aug 4 2008 Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, Maryland
Aug 5 2008 Mann Center for Performing Arts w/ the Flecktones Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aug 6 2008 Bank of America Pavilion w/ the Flecktones Boston, Massachusetts
Aug 7 2008 United Palace New York, New York

1 comment:

Raukin Raul said...

Yeah, this was one of my absolute favourite groups, starting when I was about 14ys. I don't know how many times I have listened to "No Mystery" or "Romantic Warrior". Hey, why don't you guys pass by Sweden on your tour. You won't believe how many fans you'd gather in a Stockholm gig.