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Return to Forever

Miles Davis' electric bands in the late ‘60s (featured on such classic albums as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew) served as the incubator for several pioneering jazz fusion bands, including Tony Williams’ Lifetime, Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter’s Weather Report and Chick Corea’s legendary Return to Forever, whose lifespan stretched from 1972 to 1977 with three different versions of the band. After a touring absence of more than 25 years, the potent jazz-rock flagship quartet edition of Return to Forever returns in 2008. This highly anticipated reunion will see the group’s classic lineup"Corea on keyboards, Al Di Meola on guitar, Stanley Clarke on bass and Lenny White on drums"embark on an expansive summer tour with dates in Europe and the United States. A special Return to Forever anthology featuring remixed and remastered tracks from the classic albums Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, Where Have I Known You Before, No Mystery and Romantic Warrior will also be released to coincide with the tour. And a concert DVD could well be released, featuring the band revisiting the material from their years together. After Corea left Miles’ employ, he helped found the avant-garde acoustic quartet Circle with saxophonist Anthony Braxton, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul. The band worked from 1970-’71, but Corea sought a new, less-esoteric direction where he could express his music to larger audiences"in a band committed to communicating the purity of sound, the challenge of improvising on complex compositions and the exploration of melding the jazz tradition with rock music. The time was ripe for what followed. Return to Forever launched in 1972 with its self-titled debut featuring a quintet that Corea assembled, comprising Joe Farrell on flute and saxophone, Airto Moreira on drums and percussion, Flora Purim on vocals, and Stanley Clarke on bass"the only RTF member who served in all three editions of the band. With a Brazilian tinge imbued in the fusion, the first album featured such noteworthy tracks as “Sometime Ago,” “Crystal Silence” and “La Fiesta.” Later that year, the same RTF lineup delivered its follow-up, Light As a Feather, renowned as one of the band’s best recordings. Tunes included such Corea classics as “Spain,” “500 Miles High” and “Captain Marvel.” In 1973, when Airto and Flora left RTF to start their own band and Farrell also took his leave, Corea enlisted a new lineup to explore a harder-edged rock-jazz fusion.

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