Return To Forever Returns

Return To Forever Returns
If only all long-awaited reunions from legendary bands sounded this smooth and pertinent. Returns is comprised of performances from Return To Forever's anticipated 2008 tour and although the original selections are well over 30 years old, this isn't a nostalgia trip. If anything, Returns forces one to listen in the present context because truth be told, there just aren't enough artists doing this type of meaty fusion with such dexterity and aplomb, while those that do attempt it now unfortunately descend into the dreaded abyss of wank. Classics like "No Mystery" and "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" dazzle with rhythmic complexity and intuitive improvisation. The centrepiece is the 38-minute "Romantic Warrior," allowing each member — Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Al Di Meola — to stretch out. Particularly notable are Clarke's exact and bottom-heavy bass licks on both electric and stand-up, and Lenny White's house-rocking drum solo. There's not a wasted note here. (Eagle Rock)