Return To Forever 3-Disc Set Coming Next Month
In 2011, keyboardist/pianist Chick Corea, acoustic and electric bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White welcomed legendary acoustic and electric violinist Jean Luc-Ponty and acoustic and electric guitarist Frank Gambale into the band that took what Miles Davis taught to jump-start the jazz/rock fusion genre in 1973 (along with Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report) with their album, Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy. The Mothership Returns marks this new lineup's recording debut and it is one major league blockbuster.
Eagle Rock Entertainment will release The Mothership Returns as a mammoth three-disc set in an 8-panel digipak format housing two CDs, one DVD and a substantial booklet. With over 100 minutes between both CDs (recorded in 2011) and 113 Dolby 5.1 Surround-Sound DVD minutes, it's a Return To Forever fan's delight.
The DVD contains full live performances of "After The Cosmic Rain" and The Romantic Warrior", an elongated trailer for the upcoming film documentary, The Story Of Return To Forever, and an hour-plus long bonus film, Return To Forever: Inside The Music, complete with live footage and interviews of the band members discussing the songs on the CD, songs that traverse the super-highway of their 40-year career.
Chick Corea is an 18-time Grammy winner, one of the few instrumental living legends alive today. Likewise Stanley Clarke who has liberated the bass (much like Charles Mingus) from the shackles of support-only. Lenny White, as a drummer, had as much to do with the invention of fusion as anybody, having played with Miles Davis on the album that started it all, Bitches Brew, in 1969.
The music herein encompasses various eras of RTF (of which this band is the fourth incarnation) as well as classic songs from the individual artist's catalogs. It's a dream scenario: getting to hear Ponty open up and interpret in his highly idiosyncratic way such a cherished RTF ode as "The Romantic Warrior" (from the groundbreaking 1976 Romantic Warrior album) is simply transcendent. To hear Gambale, the Australian who made his mark playing with Billy Cobham and has since gone on to be recognized as one of the most complex and ingenious guitarists on the planet, tackle "Beyond The Seventh Galaxy," is like hearing a new standard being set. How do you improve upon existing greatness? This tune, and others from Return To Forever's groundbreaking quartet records from the '70s, broke the mold for electric lead guitar in jazz. Gambale takes that risk and not only nails it but adds to it. These are the kind of performances that permeate The Mothership Returns.