Sunday, April 13, 2008


Okay, this is just ridiculous. In a good way.

First I get Yes tickets on Friday. Today I scored tickets to Return to Forever! This is insane. Yes is my favorite rock band ever, and Return to Forever is my favorite jazz/fusion band ever.

It's like 1974 all over again, eh?

Unlike Yes, I never had the chance to see RTF, because they broke up in 1977. This "classic" line up hasn't played together since 1976 (except for a one-off show in 1983). There's just no way these guys were ever going to get back together. They're just too busy. Drummer Lenny White has been doing steady session work. Chick Corea--who I have seen 5 or 6 times since the mid-Eighties--has won a ton of Grammys and kept performing with various groups, including the insanely bitchin' "Chick Corea Elektrik Band (saw them 4 times!!!). Stanley Clarke aka The God of Bass, and one of my biggest inspirations and influences as a bass player, has scored over 55 movies during his "lazy down period," and AL-I-can-play-faster-than-any-human-on-Earth-DI MEOLA has been alternating between electric and acoustic projects ever since.

It's an accurate statement to say that in 1974, Return to Forever had the four best electric musicians in the world playing in one band. The only thing that could've made it better was if Mahavishnu John McLaughin had replaced Al on guitar, and they added Jean Luc-Ponty on violin and Wayne Shorter on saxophone. (Ooooh, now there's a thought!) The point is... this was THE supergroup of the jazz fusion movement.

And now they're back.

The concert here in LA is June 13th. The only bummer is that they're only playing one night. What's up with that? They're playing FOUR nights in San Francisco. Since when is San Francisco better than LA? Hmmm... OK, you have a point, there. But ignore that for a moment... Hopefully they'll add another night. This will probably be my only chance to witness the insane RTF magic.

If you're interested in going or just wanna know more about all-things RTF, go to:

And if you live in the SoCal area, see ya Friday, JUNE 13th.

(Ooooooh, spoooooooky!)


Milaka said...

That sounds wonderful! We saw Rites of Strings (Al Di Meola, Stanley Clark and Jean-Luc Ponty) years ago at The Backyard. They were amazing!

bassrocker said...

Yeah, I actually had tickets for that here in LA. But I got a horrible flu that morning and ended up in a bathroom all weekend, instead of going to the concert! The Backyard...? Yeah, my old band played there several times. Wonder if that place is still open?

MisterJDF said...

I'll be seeing them here in Houston.

I also saw Rites of Strings a few years back, and I was blown away. I got a little bit of adolescent-discovering-fusion flashback joy when JLP played the solo piece from Imaginary Voyage where he uses an Echoplex (I'm sure it's digital delay now) and jams with himself a la Brian May. I used to think that was pretty much the coolest thing ever, and here I got to see it live. It was actually not really a highlight compared to the rest of the night, but just one of those things that grabs you anyway...

Can't wait to see RTF. So I really only know Romantic Warrior. What other albums of theirs would you recommend?

And Yes. For which tickets have not gone on sale.

bassrocker said...

For those looking to get into RTF... go out and "Where Have I Known Your Before?" That's the 1974 classic and is the first to feature the classic line-up that will be on tour this Summer. Also, it's a lot easier to digest than the insanely fantastic fusion masterpiece, "Romantic Warrior." "No Mystery" is the weakest of the three CDs by this line up, as Side One (yes, you remember LPs, don't you?) is very weak. However, the CD will be more than worth it for the cuts, "No Mystery" and "Celebration Suite, Parts 1 & 2." I'm no betting man, but I guarantee you they'll play "Celebration Suite, Parts 1 & 2" on this tour. They has HAVE to!!!! As "Romantic Warrior" is their most famous album, I expect they'll play all of this one. So memorize it. ASAP. Oh, and for those who are really adventurous... go out and get RTF's 2nd recording, "Light As A Feather." It has a softer, jazzier sound, contains vocals and flute, and NO electric guitars. It's also one of the greatest jazz albums of ALL TIME. PERIOD. No lie. It's that good. I played it for the Mrs. this weekend on our road trip. She hates fusion, but LOVED "Light As A Feather."

bassrocker said...

You know... I really should proof these replies before I post them. :-)

MisterJDF said...

Yes, I used to have a copy of _Light as a Feather_ on tape, I believe. I remember the first time I heard it, having already heard _Romantic Warrior_, I was sort of like, "Who is this again?" to the guy that was playing me the album, because I thought he'd made a mistake. Very different, female vocals, winds, as you mention, etc. Lovely album.