Monday, August 3, 2009

DVD of the Month - "Return to Forever at Montreux"

DVD of the Month
Return To Forever: "Returns - Live at Montreux 2008" (Eagle/ST2)

In 2008, the "Jazz Event of the Year" was, undoubtedly, the return of RTF. In the summer of 2008, the four legendary artists took up their instruments together after 25 years apart. If you missed the tour of Return to Forever's classic lineup—Chick Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Lenny White on drums and Al Di Meola on guitar—don't lose hope. This is the next best thing.
At the world's most famous jazz summit—the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland—RTF took the opportunity to remind us why they were one of the most influential groups of the 1970s. This is their performance, and it's one for the books: the quartet takes classic material and rolls to ecstatic new heights.

Return To Forever were at the forefront of jazz/rock fusion in the '70s and like their contemporaries Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra were formed by a former Miles Davis sideman, in this case the great Chick Corea. Return To Forever hit their commercial and artistic peak with a string of albums in the mid-'70s featuring the line-up of Chick Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar and Lenny White on drums. In 2008 this classic line-up reunited for their first tour in 25 years and proved that their musicianship and the chemistry within the band were as strong as ever.

This concert was filmed at Montreux in July 2008 with the bonus tracks being filmed in Clearwater, Florida later the same month. At the Montreux set they look tired, but, miraculously, it doesn't seems low energy and play like lions. In Florida they look better, more relaxed. Corea employs 4 keyboards: an acoustic piano, a Rhodes, a Moog Voyager and a Yahama Motif which he uses for several effects, including the imitation of a Hohner clavinet.
Highlights: "Song to the Pharaoh Kings," "No Mystery," Stanley Clarke's bigger-than-life acoustic bass solo ("El Bayo de Negro"), "Romantic Warrior" and, from the bonus tracks, Al DiMeola's Spanish-tinged guitar solo including "Spain" (a hit from RTF's first incarnation with Clarke, Airto, Flora & Joe Farrell), and the "Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant" that brings the house down.
150 minutes, Dolby, DTS Surround.

Main Show - Montreux 2008
1) Introduction 2) Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy 3) Vulcan Worlds 4) Sorceress 5) Song to the Pharaoh Kings 6) Al's Solo 7) No Mystery 8) Chick's Solo 9) Romantic Warrior 10) El Bayo de Negro (Stanley's Solo) 11) Lineage (Lenny's Solo) 12) Romantic Warrior (conclusion)

Bonus Tracks - Clearwater 2008
1) Lineage (Lenny's Solo) 2) Al's Solo 3) Friendship (Chick's Solo) 4) El Bayo de Negro (Stanley's Solo) 5) Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant

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