Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Return of Return To Forever!

There it was on page c7 of the Monday, August 15 New York Times: Jazz Fusion Heroes of the 1970s Resurrect Their Intricate Dynamics
Return to Forever, the jazz-fusion ensemble, featuring two of its founding members, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, played Friday night at the Beacon Theater.

I sat there looking at the quarter page picture not believing my eyes. Jean-Luc Ponty and his violin between Chic & Stanley. JEAN-LUC PONTY! Added to Lenny White, the drummer, and the rest of the group. LIFE AIN'T SO BAD!
The new guitarist is Frank Gambale, and I will admit he is new to me. The article says, "Mr. Gambale is noted in guitar circles for his technique called sweep picking — playing fast passagework while strumming across the guitar strings instead of stopping to pick one string at a time — and he had plenty of speed at his disposal. He joined in neatly on the unison lines that were landmarks in the compositions, and he often soloed with high, wailing, bluesy lines followed by shredder arpeggios down below." Yeah!
My all-time favorite disc is The Romantic Warrior. It is the kind of album that if one happened to find himself on death row and could listen to just one disc before being strapped in, it would be my choice! From www.allmusic.com: "Romantic Warrior, a concept album on medieval themes, was the first Return to Forever album not to be co-billed to Corea on the original LP. Released in March 1976, it became the band's third consecutive Top 40 hit and went on to become its biggest seller, eventually earning a gold record."
It was called 'rock-fusion' back then, and took music in a different direction. While listening one is magically transported to an ethereal realm of fusion bliss...It is simply a wonderful fatasia of sound.
Those damned yankees are so lucky to have the opportunity to live in a city where great musical things happen with regularity. One of the good things about continuing one's existence is that one can be surprised, and amazed, about something like this happening. I only hope I am still around when the new disc appears!

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